I haven’t worked on this project much for the last six months. Between full-time school and a full-time job, it was really very difficult to spare time for anything else. Having made this project into a priority for my eductional efforts helps me to justify working on it.
Given the difficulty I’ve run into getting a C compiler for the PIC to work on Mac OS X, and taking the advice of a friend, I’m going to switch from plans to use a PIC18Fxxx to instead using an Atmel AVR. There’s an open-source toolchain that works on Mac OS X and includes gcc. I expect the programmer and chips to arrive on Wednesday.
In the meantime, I’ve discovered the Parallax Basic Stamp. I don’t really intend to do too much work in Basic, but thanks to the availability of the very nice MacBS2, I bought a BS2p40 from JameCo and had it blinking an LED in under an hour (including the time it took to make a serial cable).
We’ll see if I can make it interface to the MMC and inertial sensors; it has no A-to-D converter, so I’ll either have to add one, or find some alternative. I don’t know what peripherals are available on the SX core used in the BS2, and I really don’t know if it will be fast enough to do all the necessary things.
I’ve added some shots of the ’bot so that you can see there’s more to it than just some beautiful hubs & tires.