JavaScript drives robots – the future is finally on its way!

 

This is great!  You can now use simple Javascript to program robots.  And I mean actual robots that blink eyes, move around the room, pick up Coke cans and do other robot stuff.  Here is a podcast that explains how this happens:

 

http://hanselminutes.com/391/controlling-robots-with-nodejs-and-johnny-five-with-raquel-vlez

 

All you need is a bit of web programming know-how (and I’m talking rather basic stuff), the Johnny Five library that runs on Node.js and a simple Adruino open source micro controller!

 

Why is this big news?  Because, all of these technology components are simple, easy to get hold of and easy to learn.  And this allows almost anyone to get into robotics, play around and contribute.

 

I tried building a robot when I was 16, using my dad’s soldering iron and some ancient electronics book.  I didn’t get past the first chapter :).   And I know I am not the only one.  For decades, robotics remained an esoteric domain open only to PhDs and the C/C++ elite and, in my opinion, this unnecessary barrier to entry has caused robotics to miss out on a great deal of contribution that could have been brought in by the rest of us.  As a result, growth has been slow and we are now in 2014 and the world of Isaac Asimov is still in the realms of science fiction.  But finally it looks like the barriers have come down and anyone with basic programming skills and access to open source technology can try their hand at programming robots.  This has great potential to explode robotics and breathe new life into it.  Let the team effort begin!

 

 

PS: for those who are interested, here is the link to Adruino:  http://www.arduino.cc and the Wikipedia page (but of course!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino

 

 

And here is (partially) a book on Node.js for beginners:  http://www.nodebeginner.org/

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