Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Learning to use the command-line in UBUNTU

Some Linux background
Although the latest versions of +Linux and +Ubuntu and others have GUIs (graphical user interfaces) where you can point and click with the mouse to navigate around the system and applications, the original UNIX system was run from CLI (command line interface).

Why use the CLI?
The advantage a CLI have over an GUI is that it is faster and more powerful, but the downside is that you have to know the commands and how to use them.  Some people may still remember using DOS and may be familiar with typing commands to operate your system, but these days most people operate their computers through GUIs.

Where to start?
Since I've recently installed UBUNTU, I am starting to learn the commands and what they do.  It is useful to ask questions and get answers from experienced users on askUbuntu, but I found another great resource on the Ubuntu.com website: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UsingTheTerminal

Other posts:
First experience with UBUNTU 

Monday, 29 July 2013

First experience with UBUNTU

What is UBUNTU ... other than the Nguni term, roughly translated to English into "human kindness"?
UBUNTU is the name given to the Linux based operating system and it is currently funded by +Mark Shuttleworth and +Canonical .  According to a 2012 online survey UBUNTU is the most popular Linux distribution on desktop and laptop PC's, but is also popular on servers and for cloud computing.

What is Linux?
Linux is an OPEN SOURCE operating  system.  Linux has been adopted for (ported to) more hardware platforms thank any other operating system and is typically used on big iron systems like mainframes and super computers.

Linux runs well on embedded systems and Android is also based on the Linux kernel.

Kernel is that part of the operating system that handles input - and output requests of the software and converts it into signals so that the electronics (like the CPU) "know" what to do.

So, I installed UBUNTU 13.04 alongside my Windows 7 operating system on my laptop last week and made some newbie mistakes from the word go.  The UBUNTU files are contained in a ISO image file, which I simply copied to a DVD.  I learned afterward that an image must be written to the disc AS AN IMAGE.  This can then be used as a Live CD from which you will be able to boot up (you can also do this with a USB drive).

Then you need to set the startup sequence in the PC's BIOS so that it will look for a bootable disk in the DVD/CD or USB drive before booting from the HDD (hard disk drive), this will allow your PC to mount the image on the CD/DVD and boot up from it.  Once +Ubuntu has started up, you cna choose to install it or try it.  If you 'try' it, UBUNTU will run directly from the Live CD without changing anything on your current system.

This gives you a chance to see if everything works the way you want it and if you would like to install it on your PC.

As I learn more about UBUNTU, I will share my experiences on this blog, but you can also check out askUBUNTU to ask specific questions.

Other posts:
Learning to use the command-line

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Spider inspired 3D printed robot

This is an amazing piece of work!

The T8 from RobugTix+Robugtix  ) weighs 1.00kg and is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper.  Just watch the video and see how smooth its movements are.  And one of the amazing things about it, is that it is 3D printed!


It uses a total of 25 servo motors!  and it is powered by the BigFoottm Inverse Kinematics Engine.

This Bigfoot Inverse Kinematic Engine is a black-box which does all the necessary calculations involved with the movement multi-legged robots like the T8.  It only needs to be given a command to move forward and it takes care of the rest.

The rest?  Well the rest is all the calculations for leg trajectory planning, inverse kinematics, motor control and leg gait coordination, among other things.

More info about this kinematics engine later

Saturday, 6 July 2013

WRO 2011 South Africa CRAZY ROBOTS

This YouTube video was originally shared by MikeRobotScience which is +Michael Ettershank 's YouTube channel.  Michael's organisation (previously featured on +High-Tech SA - RobotScience) trains young South Africans about robotics and the RobotScience website has hours of instructional videos.