I ordered the Phidget Interface Kit 8/8/8 today. I read the description and it appears that the rat’s nest of sensor cables, miscellaneous wires, and assorted home-brewed circuit boards that are currently on board my Microton Robot can all be replaced by one off-the-shelf, miniature-sized component board. The field of robotics has apparently come a long way since the early ’80s.
The Phidget 8/8/8 boasts 8 analog inputs, 8 digital inputs, and 8 digital outputs. This will cover all of Microtron’s currently designed functionality, with plenty of room for expansion down the road. Phidget also supplies the library as GPL’d source code, which I hope means that I’ll be able to develop on a GNU/Linux system.
Another plus: I’ll be able to access the device via a single USB port. After programming Microtron in 6502 machine code (w/ 4K of RAM), I’m really looking forward to doing some higher-level, language based robot programming instead.
The phidget libraries are written in C and I plan to write the first stages of Microtron’s new code in C as well. Some of my AI theories are object-based, so I may play around with Objective-C once Microtron’s basic functionality is working.