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So twenty years ago this year I graduated, and just after that (and before I started chasing a PhD), I did some work on a project to create a platform for building a micromouse robot. Not a speed run winner or anything, but just a bog standard, easy to use, off-the-shelf black box platform.

This was 1997, remember, these things technically did exist but they were research project level expensive and finicky and whole companies were making good money building them; Arduino is still six years out at this point and it would be years before you saw the level of available support hardware it enjoys today. Lego Mindstorms is years away and Lego’s RCX doesn’t come out till the following year. The BASICStamp is the most popular solution to beginner hobbyists and it costs the guts of $100 at the time if I recall correctly.… Read the rest

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