All right some of this might seem dumb but I am trying to get into robotic and programming. I have signed up for intro classes via MOOCs but still have no idea where to begin. I am an absolute beginner. I don't have any knowledge of electronics, programming, circuits, motors, basically I am a blank slate. I know many of you on here have a ton of more knowledge then me so I am here asking for some guidance into where to start. I really like the open source ideals and also the amazing things regular people are making with things like Raspberry Pi, Linux and Audrino and would love to be able to do some of those things myself. Thank you for whatever help you can give me.
IMHO, a good way for you to start is studying Arduino. Then focus your studies on motor control, including servos, DC motors and steppers. This would be a good way to make your first robot.
I recommend the following tutorials:
Kits like these can help:
Post your questions here i GL. We can help. :)
Thank you so much for the links and your reply. I am bookmarking the links as we speak. I am so happy to be a part of this community. Thanks!!!
Thank you Dave for being part! :)
Hey Dave Another Dave here. I hear what you're saying. I've been at this for about 5 years, and I have a HUGE focus problem, so I basically don't get too far myself. I've looked at Arduino, PIC, Basic Stamp, Processing,VEX robotics, Minstorm Robotics, STAMP robotics, just converted an old laptop over to Linux (not sure why, just nothing better to do on a grey Sunday afternoon). Also I work in the wine industry, which means not a lot of free time in the fall months - Harvest just finished so I'm trying to pick up again where I left off. It seems a lot of folks recommend Arduiono as a starting point - not disagreeing with that one iota. Something else to consider - if you have a tablet, find a circuit simulation app - this is a good way to mess around with different components and get a good understanding of how electronic components work. This has saved me from frying a few batteries and boards, which I've done in the past. Best of luck to you.
I would suggest that you start with a good book on electronics. I used "Basic Electronics" by Bernard Grob back in the '80s and thought it was very clear. I'm sure there are others that would work as well. A solid understanding of basic electronics is essential if you don't want to believe that electronic circuits are magic or otherwise difficult to understand. It's really very simple once you understand the basics.
For basic electronics learning, I suggest a reconfigurable kit. My son has a set of snap circuits and I will on occasion use it to make simple circuits. If you decide to get one, get the Elenco brand. It is by far the highest quality I've seen on the market. I bought a "Brain Box" set and was majorly disappointed. I used a 300 in 1 kit from RadioShack when I was a kid.
For programming, there are a couple of simple programming languages that are easy to understand. My son started with TurtleTNG and Scratch when he was 10. I started with basic, cobol, and fortran back in the '80s, but these are pretty much worthless now. Java, Perl, and Python are probably the easiest to start with these days if you think that stuff like Scratch is too much for kids.
Arduino definitely has the easiest to learn development environment as far as microcontrollers go. RaspberryPi is a bit of a step up from basic microcontrollers and more capable of controlling devices that require complex computationally intensive decisions, like image processing for robot vision and other who-ha like that.