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Hardware Hacking Robotics Build

Arduino Branches Out, With a Plug-and-Program Robot 24

Posted by timothy
from the roll-'em dept.
mikejuk writes "The new Arduino robot looks a bit like a robot vacuum cleaner, but it has a lot more going for it and it certainly doesn't suck — well not unless you add an air pump to it. As always, the Arduino Robot is completely open source and comes as an easy to assemble kit involving no soldering, just some plugging in of components. It consists of two circular boards, 19cm in diameter, each with its own Arduino controller. They fit together to create a stack about 10cm tall. The bottom board has two wheels and motors which allow it to move in any direction. The top board contains lots of sensors and a central display. The two communicate via a serial connection. There is also a lot of space for expansion. There is a new library which can be downloaded to help write programs for this fairly sophisticated robot. There is only one big problem with the Arduino robot — you can't buy one at the moment. If you really can't wait, until early July when they should start shipping from the Arduino shop and from distributors, then you will have to get to the Maker Faire San Mateo (May 17-19) where they are being demonstrated and sold."
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Arduino Branches Out, With a Plug-and-Program Robot

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  • by stox (131684) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @03:26PM (#43764307) Homepage

    For $250, http://arcbotics.com/products/hexy/ [arcbotics.com]

    I'm entertained, but I think my cats hate me now.

  • by Lendrick (314723) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @04:00PM (#43764469) Homepage Journal

    It looks big enough to carry a raspberry pi. Use that for the heavy duty computing and have the arduino control the servos.

  • the shape of things to come Thymio II https://aseba.wikidot.com/en:thymio [wikidot.com] any of this page too http://store.irobot.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2501652&s=A-ProductAge [irobot.com]
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @04:09PM (#43764531) Homepage

    There are already dumbots [lynxmotion.com] in that range. Any new robot should come with at least an Allwinner ARM CPU ($7) and a camera as standard. That's enough for some vision processing and at least 2D SLAM. The hardware to put some real smarts in a little bot is now cheap and there's enough open source software available to get started on making it smart.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @05:29PM (#43764875) Journal

      What a lot of idiots like Animats just don't get about Arduino is that Arduino managed to get a fun package out on the market anyone can get started with and can get started with without having to rely on the type of people who snort derisively at anyone who cannot tell resistors apart by smell.

      Just buy a kit and you can experiment for fun in a way that is fun and does not involve the need to first lean how to measure voltages until you want to.

      Yes there are countless other systems out there, both more powerful and invariable connected to communities that are exclusive rather then inclusive. Ask on an Arduino forum for stuff anyone knows about as beginner and you get an answer. It is the same reason Linux beat BSD and PHP beats say Java or Ruby. Not because they are necessarly better products but because more people can get started with them.

      Plenty of people who mess with these kit robots just want to mess about, use them as toys, have a bit of fun. They don't need massive parallel processing or sensors with miles of range, they do not dream of making a spy bot. They want to have a toy that follows their hand or make their own beer cannon or just see some leds light up. I know to anyone who has a full soldering stations it might sound incredible but for the majority, first having to spend a weekend soldering a kit together is NOT what they want if they buy a diy robot kit. They want to spend maybe an hour at most and then have something that moves. From there they may or may not advance. 2D SLAM? Jezus Christ Animats, just how sad are you as a human being?

      Most people don't want to instantly have to develop the next generation mars rover. They want to have some fun! PLAY. If you like remote control aircraft, you start with a simpel plastic model and have fun and MAYBE someday you will go further OR NOT! Maybe start with a click and play model train set like Kato and MAYBE one day move on to making your own tracks from scratch. MAYBE. But from beginner to expert there is a lot of room for simply having fun, for enjoying toys at the level you are comfortable at and are willing to spend the time learning. And Arduino sits there are the beginner entry, middle level, open and welcoming and not demanding people first follow a 4yr electronics course to get anything done and because of that it is a massive hit. And it is getting people involved in messing with electronics who never would have before and it is GREAT!

      And in the background are the forever alone losers trying to point out there more powerful toys with impossible to read manuals and secret society forums where you can only post if you first lurked for two years as an apprentice.

      It is kinda sad in a way because it is just basic business sense. You want to sell something, you got to make it accesible. Arduino is the next step up from Lego Mindstorm. They got what made Mindstorm such a gigantic hit, an open accessible friendly platform where you can either remain as a fun loving beginner or use as a stepping stone.

      And forever aloners like Animats will be crying "but we got more cpu power" as the rest of the planet has fun.

      • by 0111 1110 (518466)

        So basically this slashvertisement is for a childrens toy of absolutely no interest to geeks. I'm still waiting for an affordable, programmable, personal robot to replace the Sony AIBO.

        • by jamesh (87723) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @04:22AM (#43766841)

          So basically this slashvertisement is for a childrens toy of absolutely no interest to geeks. I'm still waiting for an affordable, programmable, personal robot to replace the Sony AIBO.

          It may be of interest to future geeks. When I was a kid with an 8 bit computer (Amstrad CPC 664), there was almost zero barrier to entry to start coding. The book that came with it contained all the info you needed to write programs. 10 print "hello world!" [ENTER] run [ENTER]. Hey look at what I made the computer do! You'd have to write the programs in basic, but it was enough to get started. At somewhere between 8-10 years old I opened up the book and went for it. My social life evaporated and i've been coding in one way or another ever since.

          These days you buy a computer and it comes with Windows. If you want to code you have to do a reasonable amount of work (30 minutes of googling and downloading is a lot for a young kid with no patience who doesn't even know where to start) before you can even think about it. Or maybe you'd install linux. If you're lucky you might stumble across scratch. Mostly it's much easier to say screw it and just load a game. It's a different ballgame if your parents are geeks too, but a lot of people my age still don't know much beyond facebook.

          Anything that someone can get their hands on that might unleash their inner geek is a good thing even if it seems childish to you. I assume that's where the elitist comments came from.

      • OK, a fanboy from the Arduno cult has been heard from.

        Back in 1979, Milton Bradley introduced the Big Trak [wikipedia.org]. This was the first mass-market battery-motor-wheels-CPU toy 'bot. Since then, there have been more machines in that category and slightly above it, like Lego Mindstorms.

        It's been three decades since the Big Trak. There hasn't been much progress above that level in mass-market devices. A Roomba is only slightly smarter than a BigTrak. Mobile phones, on the other hand, have advanced somewhat since

  • I have a robot vacuum cleaner and it's more than a toy. I really cherish the thing. It's great. This is indeed a bit close to the specs of a robot vacuum cleaner. Now of course it's potentially much more than that. I certainly get that. That's nice but . . .

    The other day I was looking around at Aliexpress. As a matter of fact, I was buying a ten pack of ATMega328s in the DIP 28 format since I'm an Arduino lover. As I was checking out I got one of those ads at that bottom saying: Other people who bought ten

    • by jamesh (87723)

      I have a robot vacuum cleaner and it's more than a toy. I really cherish the thing. It's great. This is indeed a bit close to the specs of a robot vacuum cleaner. Now of course it's potentially much more than that. I certainly get that. That's nice but . . .

      The other day I was looking around at Aliexpress. As a matter of fact, I was buying a ten pack of ATMega328s in the DIP 28 format since I'm an Arduino lover. As I was checking out I got one of those ads at that bottom saying: Other people who bought ten packs of ATMega328s also bought

      And there was a totally bad ass looking robot hand. The thing looked like a piece of art. It was a human hand made of stainless steel wire basically. A pretty thing where every little finger moved independently. Sexy little thing. I hadn't thought to search for off-the-shelf robot hands.

      But I was inspired to do so and I was quite impressed. There was a whole range of six degree of freedom hands for less than two hundred bucks. The down side was the controllers didn't look all that friendly. I'm just a hobbyist but I know from my investigations that industrial robots tend to use these things called teaching pendants which are basically like macro recorders that just take the input from the servos and record it so that you can rough-in a certain manipulation and then starting with that you can go to and editor and fine tune the functionality. So having an open and friendly user community for something like that would be amazing.

      I'd hope to see Arduino putting something like that to work although I can imagine that perhaps a teaching pendant application might involve something a bit more beefy like the BeagleBone Black or RasPi.

      An application like an open source robot hand massage would be the beginning of something interesting.

      I'm making assumptions about your gender here, but please watch this public service video on the dangers of robot arms when used for massage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-VJLz65QhM [youtube.com]

  • Wake me up when they've got something a little more all-terrain. This thing couldn't negotiate it's way over a power cord, if it can even negotiate the pile in my carpeting (which looks doubtful)
    • Wake me up when they've got something a little more all-terrain. This thing couldn't negotiate it's way over a power cord, if it can even negotiate the pile in my carpeting (which looks doubtful)

      Rumor has it that the AT-AT version is due out early next year.

  • you can't buy one at the moment.

    Ok...

    get to the Maker Faire San Mateo (May 17-19) where they are being demonstrated and sold.

    So which is it? Are they not being sold, or are they being sold?

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