The World's ONLY BasicX Textbook    

Welcome to the future.

This is the official site for my book, BasicX and Robotics: The Art of Making Machines Think. I wrote this book to serve as the beginner's guide to programming NetMedia's powerful and versatile BX-24 microntroller. The BX-24 is programmed with the BasicX language and incidentally, my book is the only BasicX text on the planet.

Buy the book!

365 full color pages. Over 400 images.
Hundreds of easy-to-follow code examples.
Over 500 Challenge Problems and Self Tests.
Lay flat spiral binding.

Only $34.95

The BX-24 can be programmed to do many things such as control motors and lights, take readings of various sensors, and perform traditional computations that we've come to expect from our desktop computers. Since the study of robotics involves all of this, I've written my book with the roboticist in mind -- although anyone interested in getting started in microcontroller programming would benefit from reading the book. I've also written the book with teachers in mind, and have included many Challenge Problems and Self-Tests in each chapter. It is, after all, a textbook!

Still wondering if it's worth taking the time to study robotics?

Check out the January 2007 edition of Scientific American and read why Bill Gates (the leader of the PC revolution) thinks robotics is the next hot field:

Unlike desktop and laptop personal computers, the BX-24 microcontroller is very small, inexpensive, and stores all of its programs on EEPROM. This means that the BX-24 is ideal for applications involving model rockets, miniature submarines, model airplanes, robots, or anything else you can dream up that requires a small footprint, low voltage computer capable of communicating with and controlling real-world objects.

The robot portion of my book is written around Robodyssey Systems' wheeled robot called the Mouse, shown at the right. Unlike many robotic toys on the market, the Mouse does not operate with a remote control, nor does it come pre-programmed with some canned routine. Its BX-24 brain is completely blank, ready to accept any commands you give it. The commands are written in the BasicX language (free download) and with Robodyssey's Advanced Motherboard (or RAMB) it is easy to transfer the computer code from the PC to the BX-24. What's that? You don't know the BasicX language? Fear not -- with my book and a little time, you'll be creating autonomous robots capable of reacting to their environment, navigating mazes, and playing soccer. (See what's possible.)

Designed with the complete novice as well as advanced beginner in mind, my book makes it easy to get started, walking the reader from the rudimentary basics to in-depth problem-solving algorithms, including:

  • Printing "Hello World"
  • Turning on red and green LEDs
  • Playing sounds with piezo buzzers and audio transducers
  • Performing mathematical operations using algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus
  • Building computer models of scientific phenomena such as rocket trajectories, population growth, and chemical absorption
  • Proximity sensing with popular Sharp infrared sensors
  • Environmental sensing with thermistors and photoresistors
  • Using servomotors to propel a robot
  • Using pulse width modulation techniques for precise robotic motion
  • Using logic statements to make the robot/computer behave intelligently
  • Programming Robodyssey's Gripper
  • Programming Robodyssey's Turret Mount

Feel free to download some of the book's pages to see if the book is right for you. I've provided a few chapters in table at the right for your perusal. If you like the content and style of my writing, you can purchase my book from NetMedia, Robodyssey, or another vendor:

If you are looking for a complete robotic system (which includes my book), see the robot packages put together by Robodyssey and myself.

To recap:

I have written the world's only BasicX textbook. It walks you through all the awkward steps that all beginning programmers must make and propels even the advanced user into the exciting and versitile world of microcontroller programming. While the book is written around Robodyssey's Mouse, it is designed to teach everyone to program microcontrollers for a variety of uses including scientific research (even under the ocean and in space) and remote sensing.

In the classroom, the Mouse is the perfect teaching tool: robust, versitile, exciting. Robodyssey is a growing company based in Trenton, NJ, that has created an entire fleet of high-quality, intelligently designed robots to satisfy the curiosity of the hobbyist as well as the educational needs of the classroom. I really love this company's dedication to education and producing high-quality products. Their top-of-the-line robots are made in the U.S.A. with thick, aircraft aluminum, allowing the user to effortlessly add sensors, grippers, turret mounts, etc., in numerous pre-tapped holes. Also, their servomotors, sensors, and sensor mounts are of the same high quality materials and craftsmanship. Other systems on the market cost the same as Robodyssey's but are usually made from cheap plastic or flimsy sheet metal and do not permit the user to easily add sensors and other peripheral devices.

Additionally, most other systems use the Basic Stamp, which does not compare favorably with NetMedia's BX-24 microcontroller. The Basic Stamp is slower, has less memory, and has no built-in A-to-D pins or floating point math capability. Even though Robodyssey's robots and motherboards are compatible with the Basic Stamp, why not step into the 21st Century and use the more advanced BX-24?

The future is here. What are you waiting for?

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

ISBN: 0-9771239-0-1

Photo credit: The Madison County Herald

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Copyright 2006, Chris D. Odom. All Rights Reserved