I have been doing a bunch of thinking, lately.
I drive an hour each way to work it leaves me a lot of time to think.
Robotics was expected to progress just as quickly as computer technology.
the big let down.( if you don't know I am a Robotics engineer).
computer tech progressed faster than anyone thought.
Robotics nada, minor changes.
a lot of people think it has to do with unforeseen hindrances.
I think that is only part of the answer ( a small part).
I think it has to do with the lack of standardizations in the hardware.
computers had standards all most from the get go. standard RAM, standard HardDrives, serial, etc. everything was interchangeable.
Robotics....... well you can look for interchange motors...
..... and maybe the computer attached to it.......
if your lucky you used a stock Drive to power the motor. even more lucky if the drive you used is still available when(if) it dies(breaks).
unlike if a computer from 10 years ago had a harddrive or monitor break.
you can still goto the store and get a new one that works.
if you look at what the Hobby(RC) control guys use. they have standard servos(motor that don't go far) and controls to control them. they can spend less time( no time in fact) on circuit design. more time to spend on function of the machine, or overall appearances.
I have been working on a 9 foot Robot arm at work. designed in the late 80s.
(the robot will control a chainsaw, follow my progress at chainsawpete.blogspot.com)
the machine works ok(it moves), but the controller that came with it simply sucks.
they went with some unorthodox ways of controlling this robot. even the manufacture says that controller sucks and there is nothing they can (or are willing to do) to help.
so do get it to do what we need it to, I need to redesign a controller for it. FROM SCRATCH!!!!. lucky for me, there is motor drives that I can interface to. but unlucky for me not a note/diagram/hint of what wire does what. I am left to cutting wires and see what errors show up on the old controller. and examining the circuit they designed.very very big circuit board, it is 2 boards about 2feet by 2feet each. the ones I designed to replace them with about a 12"x6".
and my circuit is USB so I control it directly from a computer. I can move the joints on the robot. but I still am hunting down wires to see which one is does what. cause if I blow up one of these motor drives, it is game over! Dead robot! scrap metal!.
if there was some kind of standard controller I could have used that had a standard output that the drive used (also not standard) I could just rewrite a program for it and be done.
instead I am taking months just to follow wires guessing what they do and how.
and lookup what did that chip was used for.