20 thoughts on “Turning The Big Trak Into A Turtle

  1. “A LOGO interpreter written in Python”

    Yo dawg, I heard you like interpreters…

    Cool, better than anything I’ve done and will probably ever do, but inefficiencies like that bug me. Unless the Python was compiled and not interpreted itself…

  2. I have a Big Track from back in the day that my uncle gave me – MCU control seems like an awesome way to bring it back.

    Now to what I don’t like – it’s WAY too obvious what all is in there. Also, why LOGO? What does it have that C/C++ on a normal MCU doesn’t have? Seems like a huge waste of resources.

    1. Why LOGO? Off the top of my head: easy of programming basic movement. LOGO was born for it. Given the embarrassment of resources on the Beagleboard (which I’ll guess he already had on him), there’s no need to skimp.

  3. I have an original Big Trak, with dump trailer…

    The Logo mention gave me an idea.. How about an etch-a-sketch interface to the big track? Draw the path on the EAS, then hit a button to engage and follow the course. There should be some sort of scale function to convert the course into the desired distance.

    Of course it wouldn’t need to be an EAS, but that arcane interface is somehow appealing. Especially if the course leads to a beer fridge.

      1. The photo would definitely be the easiet way…

        Though I find the thought of controlling the motion in realtime, with x/y knobs really appealing.. And I suppose that would be very different from the original mode, which is creating a programming and running it. Hmpf. Obviously a mere remote control interface is not such a big deal, don’t know why I’m so into the EAS interface.

        Another idea is driving an EAS with servos to give an analog picture of the BT’s path and location.

        Screw the Kinect, bring back the etch a sketch! ;-)

  4. While using LOGO on Python seems a bit out there, it plucks a nostalgic string in me.

    For a comparative computer languages class, I selected LOGO, and bought ExperLogo to run on a Mac SE/X. It was easy to learn, fun to code with. But, the interpreter wasn’t set up to give the user access to the Macintosh Toolbox, so it languished on the shelf at the conclusion of my project. I may still have the floppy.

  5. Still got one of the originals on a self in my garage. Oh, and I seem to recall Steve Ciarcia (of Circuit Cellar fame) doing a near-identical mod to this one about 25 years ago, described in Byte magazine. Funny old world.

  6. LOGO! All my childhood! We had a robotic logo turtle in our IT room at my school, it made me start programming as a school activity, when I was six years old.

    Then a few years later my father gave me his Atari 1040ST. Used and abused LOGO for years! I think my code could only be a couple of hundred lines… fun times!

    Then moved on to C, PHP, Java and .NET.

    21 years later, I make a living of coding. LOGO is a great language to make kids understand what programming is.

  7. Oh, man does this take me back. Never would have thought of it. Loved the BigTrak as a kid (had one of the originals) bought one of the BigTrak Jr’s for my son last Christmas….AND I had to write a logo interpreter in my CompSci 300 level assembly language programming class…

    This post was made for me! thanks!

  8. My Big Trak has the trailer accessory. But I recall it as being grey, not white. Time to go look. Yep, it’s grey, and it has treads (tracks, hence the name). And more decals…

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