Making a simple robot GUI
November 14, 2011
I discovered this site some time ago while searching for components, and I finally decided to take a closer look at it. The community seems to be awesome and It seems to be a good place to get help for your projects.
I've been in MCU programming for nearly two years now and I've built my first ''real'' robot (not including my boe-bot) last year (I would have started before that, but ''they" thought I was too young for that!) . It was based on a Parallax BASIC Stamp (BSp24) and used 3 pings and a I2C line follower for autonomous motion. Since then, I learned some Arduino, some Spin, built a RepRap (Thanks to my school for the grant!) and got my toes in Atmel C programming, C++ and Python.
This year, my ''old school'' electronic teacher (an analog guy) asked me if I could ''autonomize'' his old RC combat robot with a bunch of gadgets he could show at presentations. He gave me huge budget. Ridiculous, even. I guess I don't even have to say here what my answer was.
Long story short, the robot brains is an Arduino Mega 2560 that will be connected to a bunch of GP12 sensors (I got 16 of them) and some other bells and whistles. It will be able to be wirelessly commanded using the onboard XBee Pro module (WHY no wireless programming, WHY? (I didn't plan a transistor interface for the XBee)).
Which brings me to my problem: How will I create a GUI for easy remote control of the robot?
In reality, I just need a button panel which send data through a COM port to the XBee transmitter. At first, I thought about Visual Basic, but I would prefer an open-source platform. Even if I want to use VB, I need to learn it and the only resources I found are either too beginner (Too slow) or too expert (What?). Yes, I have a deadline to make the robot (next early January) so that mean that I don't have a lot of time to learn and make the computer interface. I hate working/learning that way but well...
As you can see, I'm kind of confused at this point and I didn't find much information about this (except maybe a certain Cytron tutorial) and this is why I'm asking for your help.
Here's a pic of the robot before any work was done: