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Electronic Design

Open-Source Robotics and Process Control Cookbook

by Lewin Edwards

One of my favorite books is the Open-Source Robotics and Process Control Cookbook by Lewin Edwards. It is sort of a case study about the E2, a submarine robot project that Edwards was developing. It uses a Mini-ITX running Linux along with some microcontrollers in various subsystems.

The book provides the overall system architecture and delves deeper into various aspects of the design, even to the point of briefly discussing the video-based object detection system. The major subsystems of the E2 are covered with circuit diagrams and sample application code. These subsystems, such as the stepper motor control, are described in the context of how E2 addresses the functions that can be performed; for example, the difference between drive and train modes.

One chapter addresses encryption and data security, but it is rather general. While it does stress the importance of protecting and authenticating telemetry, it directs readers to Linux-based encryption standards for actual implementations.

The book comes with a CD, which contains C and assembler source code and schematics. However, this is definitely not an E2 How-To, so don’t put on your scuba gear just yet. It is an interesting look at system design by example and it touches on a number of robotic aspects. Don’t pick this up as your first book on robotics, but it is great for roboticists that want some insights into an interesting project.

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