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 Arduino Robotics




PREFACE:

This book was written for anyone interested in learning more about the Arduino and robotics in general. Though some projects are geared toward college students and adults,several early chapters cover robotics projects suitable for middle-school to high-school students. I will not, however, place an age restriction on the material in this book, since I have seen some absolutely awesome projects created by makers both young and old.

A big thanks to Michelle Lowman for giving me the opportunity to write this book, Anita Castro for being patient despite the extra time needed to complete the book, James Markham, Frank Pohlmann, and Dominic Shakeshaft for their help and guidance, and the rest of the Apress team that helped make this book happen writing your first book is not easy.

 This book integrates some basic robot-building techniques with the simplicity of the Arduino to create bots that you can modify and improve with a clear understanding of your work. 

This book is not intended to simply “show” you how to build a bot, but rather to educate the beginning robot builder and hopefully inspire creativity so that you can design, build, and modify your own robots. One unavoidable obstacle that most people encounter when building a robot is cost. Obviously we can spend thousands of dollars adding top-of-the-line parts and expensive commercial products, but most hobby builders have neither the time nor the money tobuild such a robot. 

With that in mind, this book takes every opportunity to show you how to build a part from scratch or as inexpensively as possible to get the job done. If any of these methods seem too involved, do not worry because there are substitute parts listed for you to purchase. 

Please understand that each project in this book requires multiple tries before working some of them even take weeks of “debugging.” I can tell you from experience that when you are persistent, you will eventually solve your problem and this will make the experience that much more rewarding. Figuring out why a robot is not working often requires a lot of troubleshooting. 

Troubleshooting requires understanding each step in the process from start to finish, and inspecting each step for errors. The more you tinker with something, the better you will understand it.

 Lastly, do not be discouraged if some of the information in this book appears to be over your head. We try to assume that you are new to robotics and programming, and we focus on providing a practical working knowledge of the parts and code used in each project, rather than loading you down with electronics theory and complicated instructions. It is best to take a positive “I can do it” attitude before you start this will be your greatest tool.

 To better understand what is happening inside an Arduino, we should first discuss electricity and other basics in general (i.e., electronics and circuits). Although levels found in your Arduino (+5 DCV) are relatively harmless, if you don’t know how electricity works you won’t know at what point it becomes dangerous. 

As it turns out, the projects covered in this book do not use electrical levels high enough to conduct through your body, but electricity should still be handled with caution.


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