It's the summer and I figured that'd be a great time to live vicariously^w^whave the boys do a summer project in an attempt to make their world a little bit bigger. They're 8 and 9 years old, and so I thought a simple robot would be kind of cool. Unfortunately, their idea of robot is heavily influenced by Star Wars and it's taken a bit of coaxing to get them interested in building something that resembles an ugly roomba. Anyways, once they found out they could control it via their laptop they were really excited. I'm going to write a simple python module that wraps some calls in linux to control the parallel port. Might even get to use swig to do that. Don't know yet.
Earlier this week, I bought two electric window motors on ebay for about $20 shipped for the pair. They came in on Friday and I just tested them. Both work great at 5vDC. Today, we spent about 3 hours driving all over town to places like Radio Shack and Big Lots looking for miscellaneous parts. We now have two of the 3 wheels we'll be using for the project, the motors, a breadboard,a db25 male connector for plugging into the parallel port and some miscellaneous chips and wires. We also have some blue 5v leds that look nifty when juiced up. They keep referring to the leds as the "eyes". heh.
I've never really built anything like this but I have played a little with controlling the parallel port via code and have also done some very minimal and horribly wrong circuit design. I'll keep updating the blog as we progress. I might even upload some pictures if there's anything worth seeing.