(Prologue: Prof. Maria Cristina Moreno)
In science fiction books, the writer, like an alchemist, gives life to robots
that today find themselves in our daily lives; from a simple coffee-maker,
to the Mars Rover
The objective is that technology and education, together, show the way towards
The proposal is that at home and at school we can make and handle simple robots.
With these premises, Marcelo Duschkin presents the project
Mi Primer Robot
, based on a simple and economic electronic interface,
, that we can make freely (Creative
to command the robot from a PC is Xlogo
a modern version of the traditional Logo
created by Seymour
at MIT, in the 70's.
is free software, published with the GPL license, and
works on Linux, Mac and Windows.
- Free software (GPL
- Writen in Java, it is multiplatform, that is to say, it is within reach
of a greater number of people.
- Multiple languages supported.
| In November 2006 the first version of XLogo appeared
(as patches) to command an external interface for robotics, in the "Cafeconf
- Aulas Libres" congress.
At the moment, XLogo officially incorporates several primitives
for network communication, being used for the experimentation in robotics,
as well as network group tasks, chat, and allows control of the turtle
PC from another PC.
Picture: Marco Antonio de Hoyos
| TortuRob is an electronic interface project.
It is a circuit based on a PIC16F628A microprocessor, that receives
commands from the PC, and contains ports for input and output to control
the robot's mechanics.
Four switches and four LEDs are also included, with the intention of
using them to learn to use the system. This way, the first tests do
not need the robot mechanics to be controlled.
The board is of small size (9.5 by 7 cm) and is very easy to build by
the electronic's fan.
In Mi Primer Robot
at "constructive details"
link, you can see models of robots builds
with motorized toys or construction blocks.
The objective of this project is to promote interest in the study and local
application of technology.
The use of free tools and an attitude to share knowledge, is a key message
for new generations.
Seymour Papert, Logo creator said:
"If any ability that a boy learns is obsolete before he uses it, then, what
it is he must learn?
The answer is obvious: The only competitive ability in the long term is the
ability to learn".
From the Didactics, the displacement that obtains the turtle is fundamental,
so that the student can be located nonsingle in the space plane but also to
understand the concept of coordinates using graphics and colors.
With Logo, the student teaches to the turtle. This way,
their roll is active and creative.
Logo allows the student to solve complex problems, by separating
it into several smaller simple problems.
to communicate with the 'outer world'.
As the TortuRob
interface uses a serial connection (RS232), an intermediate
conversion is necessary. In Linux it is easy (obvious) and in fact this conversion
is implemented by software with a simple Tcl/Tk script
that runs along
. This option is adapted for individual PCs.
The conversion can also be made by a hardware control module external to the
PC, and this option is recommended to be used in a classroom with several
PCs in a local network. This way, the interface and the robot are connected
to the teacher's PC, but any student can command the robot from their PC.
This flexibility allows the system to be used with other interfaces, like
the Spanish Enconor
, or with an own design, or a modified TortuRob
The communication protocol is depicted in
Mi Primer Robot
All ready to use:
All necessary software for our laboratory of educative robotics
free software, and therefore it's available to download and to install. But
this can be difficult for a young beginner who is impatient to 'put hands
to the work'.
Thus the idea was born to create RoboTux,
, a fantastic Linux
mini-distro, able to work in PCs of limited resources.
already brings installed XLogo
(SUN JRE 1,5) necessary for its execution, the serial terminal CuteCom
(for hardware tests) and a Tcl/Tk script
to turn Ethernet <
- > RS232 by software.
Of course, also included is all the documentation (manual and examples) so
that everything works without complications.
is not available in Spanish, the project includes to obtain
(in the future) the possible most complete translation of all the other typical
applications included (navigator, mail, chat, publishers, etc).
An .iso image of the first beta of RoboTux
can be downloaded from:
Information of how to create a booteable CD from the .iso image can be seen
Contact and Mail List to share experiences:
You can contact me at email@example.com
for any consultation on the subject.
Also there is a mail list in Spanish specific to the use of XLogo
You can participate by subscribing to: