Linux User & Developer, Issue 154

Linux User & Developer Issue 154As always, this month’s Linux User & Developer magazine includes my four-page news spread along with a review: the PiBorg UltraBorg robot-centric controller board.

I originally reviewed the UltraBorg in The MagPi Issue 33, where I focused on its use as a Raspberry Pi-driven accessory. In the more general-audience Linux User & Developer, however, I was free to take a broader view – which is good, because the UltraBorg is happy working with any microcontroller or microcomputer that can talk I²C to it.

Designed for robotics use, the UltraBorg combines two requirements: sensing and control. There are eight channels, split into two: four are used to control up to four servos or stepper motors via pulse-width modulation (PWM), something the Raspberry Pi can’t do without add-on hardware; the other four are used to pull in values from popular models of ultrasonic distance sensor. The result: using a single board, you can interface with everything you’d need for quite a complex robotics project.

There’s a lot to light about the UltraBorg: it’s small, it’s reasonably affordable, and it combines the two requirements for basic robotics projects. It’s also surprisingly high-resolution, and includes non-volatile memory which is used to store movement limits and zero positions – and if you’ve ever watched your robot shake itself to death on a reset because these were forgotten, you’ll be glad of it. It can also be extended by daisy-chaining multiple units together, if you need more than four channels of motor control or distance sensing.

If you want to read my full conclusion, though, you’ll need to pick up the latest issue, and if you do you’ll discover that the news pages have had an overhaul. The often-ignored calendar section is gone, in favour of a chart run-down powered by data from Distrowatch. There’s also a regular top-five section, and a few other improvements which I think readers should enjoy.

All this, plus things written by people who aren’t me, can be yours at your local supermarket, newsagent, or digitally via Zinio and similar services.

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