PLANNING IS FREE!
While you're perusing the
Internet, I think it's important to
remember that research and planning
cost you nothing. All you need to do
is bookmark the interesting pages
and/or spend some time drawing up
your ideas — either in a CAD program or with something as humble as
a notebook and pencil. I spend lots
of time doodling drawings of devices
that sometimes don't come to fruition
(yet) and others that do (check out
the December 2007 issue of Nuts &
Volts to see how one of my sketches
became a 20 foot tall ping-pong ball
shooting robot). I've placed a couple
of useful links in Resources that you
can use to get inspired to start
planning your next project (don't miss
the "Let’s Make Robots" site where
members share their latest creations!).
■ PICAXE chip and protoboard from
■ The RFID reader from Joe Grand's
■ The "Virtual Robotics" column from
March 2008: http://nutsvolts.text
■ Joe Grand and Bre Pettis weekend
project video on GPS: http://blog.
■ "The PONGINATOR" column from
December 2007: http://nutsvolts.
■ Low cost robotics kits:
■ Planning and inspiration links:
■ The show "Prototype This!"
featuring Joe Grand of Grand
Design Studios: www.discovery.
■ The Nuts & Volts Online Forum:
■ The Robot Group, in Austin, TX:
KEEP YOUR CHIN UP!
I hope this article helps to inspire
you to not let economics defeat your
interest in electronics and robotics.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said,
"Do what you can, with what you
have, where you are." This is good
advice for those faced with a sudden
drop in funding. Necessity, though
normally just famous as the mother
of invention, may masquerade as
your muse inspiring newfound
you're not alone. There are
thousands of hobbyists
out there that share your
interest, your hardships,
and your triumphs. Why
not take a moment to
come by the Nuts & Volts
online forum and meet
some of them? In the
meantime, feel free to let
me know what you're
thinking. You can always
reach me by email at
■ FIGURE 15. The Talking RFID Access Control
demonstration system I built for “Show and Tell” at
The Robot Group meeting in Austin, TX.
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March 2009 75