Starting with Embedded Systems

I always liked to spend time with my dad in his electrical workshop. He is a radio engineer and built several robots with blinking LEDs for me. He hoped that I would get into engineering too. But I kind of never did, the robots he built were awesome, but I wasn’t interested in the soldering part.

 

 

The Spider Robot

After beginning my game design courses at university I started to love programming. My dad saw his second chance and built a spider robot powered by a Pololu Mini Maestro 24 channel microcontroller for me. I was hyped. But too inexperienced to get a robot with six legs (total of 18 servos) to stand up or even walk. I packed it away in the hope I could get back to it when I was more experienced.

 

The spider robot my dad built for me.

I know it’s technically not a spider because

it has only 6 legs but I like to call it spider. 🙂

 

 

Return of the Spider

A few weeks before this post I found the box with the spider robot and thought to myself:

 

Now you know how to code, let’s get this robot walking!

 

The robot is now able to stand up and sit down again. I mainly code in the high-level language C# in Unity and realised that there is a huge difference to low-level languages like Basic. It’s a whole new world if you have to manually construct bytes and send them to the servos to get them to do anything. It’s not like you could just call Servo.Move(degrees).

 

 

Learning Embedded Systems

I have enough coding experience to know that I wound get anywhere if I start with a complex robot before knowing the basics of embedded system programming.

 

I started my journey by listening to the EMBEDDED.fm podcast to get an idea of what I’m getting myself into. I liked the podcast and bought the book of the host Making Embedded Systems by Elecia White. It’s a really good book for beginners and I can recommend it if you know how to code and want to get into embedded systems. I don’t think it’s a good entry if you have no programming experience.

 

My dad got me a Super StarterKit UNO R3 Project for my birthday. I’m now learning embedded systems by starting at the basics, blinking lights.

 

And it’s a lot of fun 😀 Maybe I will post a few of my Arduino scripts in the future.

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