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asbrandsson
12-30-2007, 06:44 PM
Hello,

This morning I was looking into maybe getting a duo cor 2 mini-itx system as the brains for my humanoid Robot project, when I came across some release stuff on the new quad cor processors and was wondering if there is all the much difference between them and if anyone knows if there is a mini-itx motherboard that can handle a quad cor processor.

Asbrandsson

DresnerRobotics
12-31-2007, 09:58 AM
How do you plan on powering your humanoid?

The reason I ask, is because weight is usually something you want to keep down as much as possible on a humanoid, and any sort of intel based solution is going to be a major power draw. Intel CPU's draw anywhere from 60-150w depending on model, where the VIA solutions (C7 etc) are usually around 10-25w. It would take a considerable battery to power an intel based solution, and I'm not sure you would see a ton of benefit from that much processing power on a small robot.

asbrandsson
12-31-2007, 11:18 AM
Hello,

I have not really put a whole lot of thought into the power portion yet. The OQO 1+ I bought for the project is a good computer, but it does not have a lot of processing power in it, but it is small and I could strip it down to just the board and harddrive and it would be perfect in form.

However, with just the processing power in mind - if I could construct a brain that has the power of four processors or even two processors in it and get it into a small form factor I would just make the Robot bigger. As then it could process visual images at a good rate and process dynamic movement without having a meltdown.

I guess I would also use some kind of li-pol batteries to power the thing - but as you say the power draw will still be considerable.

Asbrandsson OR

DresnerRobotics
12-31-2007, 11:56 AM
I'm a big fan of the pico-itx formfactor. There is currently only 1 model out, but it's a great board and packs a lot of power for how small it is, along with very low power consumption ( <15w total). 1ghz VIA C7 cpu w/ 1 gig ddr2-667

Nice write up of it here: http://www.mini-itx.com/reviews/pico-itx/

kdwyer
12-31-2007, 04:07 PM
Yup a better brain is, well, a better brain.
It might be more cost-effective to simply have a desktop linked via wireless. Kind of separating the brain from the body, except for what the body needs to know. Between WiFi, Bluetooth, 418/434 Mhz, and 2.4 Ghz there are plenty of 'simultaneous' channels. This also removes power consumption, weight, and limited processing power from the bot, enabling a desktop or laptop's power to be used by an autonomous device. Think of a "radio-wave spinal column".
Small microcontrollers used by modules can help standardize connections and provide limited distributed processing.

I see it like this: what board will provide the most complete access to a remote PC? Anything more is just ... more. Not necessarily better. It sure can't beat a desktop's specs.

Would I take an Itx board?... in a clockcycle. Such is a meat-based analog existance.

asbrandsson
01-01-2008, 01:40 PM
Hello,

Although I like remote access- I would like to create a Robot that is autonomous and vision based. I think for something like a Robonova the Pico-itx form factor fits into the body, but it means that it would not be able to think fast enough to make real time behaviours with any amount of speed.

I have also thought about trying to break the different aspects of the robot up and embedd them. This is how I-droid is set up and it works fairly well and it is easy to upgrade one part of it without upgrading everything, and the power consumption is low.

Asbrandsson

DresnerRobotics
01-01-2008, 05:02 PM
Coming from someone who just implemented a pico-itx solution into a mobile robot, I can tell you that trying to fit it into a Robonova sized robot (especially a biped) along with a battery source, isn't realistic. You're looking at major weight, size and balance issues.

In fact, at this point in technology, any small biped that is going to be vision based would be best implemented by using a wireless link and offloading the processing to a PC- like what kdwyer suggested. It would still be autonomous, and it could certainly be vision based... it would just have to be within a specific range of a host PC. Realistically, this is your best chance to implement something like that though. Robots like the robonova, or even the Kondo series, simply don't have the payload capacity and space for even a pico-itx solution onboard.

asbrandsson
01-01-2008, 08:47 PM
Hello,

I velrcoed a OQO 1+ to the front of the Robonova I have and velcroed a Logitech pro 5000 webcam in place of his head and a 4 way usb splinter to the front of his body. To try it out and it seemed to work fine. The only problem that I ran into is that the cords for the camera and the usb to com port to Robonova line in are all pretty bulky. I can get the Robonova to walk and sit and stand in the configuration. It is not all that secure so I was not exactly getting it to do flips.

Now that I did that I have been thinking about putting a bigger proto-type together that uses the HSR 5990TG servos for the legs and uses the double knees. I bought the double knees from Bauer Independent but am just waiting for them to show up before I will have a really good idea of how useful the new configuration will be, but there are some videos of Mark getting a Robonova to jump with the HSR-8498HB servos so I am sure with an upgrade they will operate all the better. To give the robot the ability to take more weight. Plus it will have to have two gyros and a tilt sensor to keep it balanced. The I-droid head is about 4" wide so I could make some kind body that is up to 8" wide and it would still be proportionate to the head. Then there is three basic layers to the body.

1) the PC layer (on the front)

2) the servo/microcontroller/ head guts

3) and the battery layer on the back.

I am not sure how long to make the body maybe 10", but I am thinking about making hips which means that the bottom where the legs go is something in the range of 4" to 5" long basically three servos wide.

However, with this configuration there should be plenty of room for some kind of motherboard and sufficient batteries to keep it going for some time. There are already mini-itx duo core 2 boards that will fit in the space, as well as some kind of flash drive or 2.5" drive, although I am not sure how well a regular hard drive would stand up to the rigors of slips and trips. I am sure it will have to be shock mounted at the very least.

Asbrandsson

kdwyer
01-02-2008, 07:33 AM
Forgive me for being repetitively redundant, but I can't shake the feeling that this is growing in complexity.
First, 'autonomous' ain't what it used to be. The Mars rovers aren't even 100% 'autonomous'. I'm willing to bet one of Tyberias' vital organs that a high-speed wireless solution would cost alot less than a full brain installation (and all that it implies). And face it, how often have you run your bot and left the area? You're always there, and you are probably within a yard of a computer. Yes, true 'autonomy' isn't much fun... you want to see the data the bot is experiencing, you want to interact with it or the data when something interesting (dangerous?) is happening.
Second, the bot power you seek already exists, just not in a form factor that is familiar. A wireless backplane is every bit as real (pun intended) as a wired one. If we just 'remotely mount' the brain, it is still very much an 'installed component'.

Geez, I think I just talked myself into upgrading my bots... damn.

The applause from me for a successful effort, or even a noble failure, will be thunderous and sincere.

asbrandsson
01-02-2008, 09:39 AM
Hello,

I think that if you have the choice between a remote mounted more powerful brain or a bot mounted less powerful one then it is a no brainer. However, I would like something that is for the most part autonomous. Things like the Mars Rover more or less run by remote control and have some programs built in, but are not all that more complicated then an RC car.

One of the things that I like about bots like the ER-1 is that they can be programed to have some personality and routines that even though they are behavior based and have no real degree of intelligence behind them, the robot does have some autonomy and you can for security applications leave the robot more or less to its own devices.

Asbrandsson

LinuxGuy
03-18-2008, 01:41 PM
However, with just the processing power in mind - if I could construct a brain that has the power of four processors or even two processors in it and get it into a small form factor I would just make the Robot bigger. As then it could process visual images at a good rate and process dynamic movement without having a meltdown.
Have you considered the possibility of four "brains" with each having significant processing power? I'm talking about a distributed computing setup, using smaller computing modules that could be more easily powered and placed on a biped. With this sort of arrangement you could pick the microcontroller that is most appropriate for a given robot task and have a "traffic cop" main brain processor to coordinate everything. This is exactly what I plan to do for W.A.L.T.E.R. 2.0. :veryhappy::veryhappy:

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-11-2008, 01:45 PM
Another option I haven't seen mentioned anywhere...

For work, I got a Verizon (Air Card) National Data Broadband PCMCIA card and subscription. It's about $60 flat rate, unlimited transfer. I see between 800kbit/sec and 3.4Mbit/sec throughput on it, with an average of about 75ms ping times.

A nano-ITX with a USB-to-PCMCIA adapter, and an Air Card, would give you "infinite" processing power (say a stationary beowulf cluster), with an average of 1mbit/sec channel throughput, that could (at least in the US) be located as far away from the cluster as you wanted.

To me, that's approaching the be-all of autonomy by today's standards...

Adrenalynn
04-11-2008, 02:08 PM
I'm a big fan of the pico-itx formfactor. There is currently only 1 model out, but it's a great board and packs a lot of power for how small it is, along with very low power consumption ( <15w total). 1ghz VIA C7 cpu w/ 1 gig ddr2-667

Nice write up of it here: http://www.mini-itx.com/reviews/pico-itx/

They have a 6-24v @ 60wt DC-DC nano power supply. If you ran solid-state hard drive (say an 8GB USB stick), and an aircard like I described - that'd be a heck of a machine...

Is your 15w figure at 120v or at 12v? Figure 20w @ 12v (assuming the above), figure 25w @ 9.6v. So a 9.6v/5800ma/h battery might deliver (does some quick math: 5.8a/h, figure a conservative 4.5a/h of real juice) watts = volts * amps, which leaves us at ~2.06A @ 9.6v, which gives us a very conservative figure of 2hrs of runtime for our computer on a 9.6v NiMH RC battery. Toss in a "competition" 6v NiMH battery to run the servos, which should give you around 2hrs.

Overall, I think it's conceivable to construct a 'bot with [how much money you got?] infinite distributed processing power, and a gigahertz of onboard processor, that can run 2hrs trivially before plugging itself in, and that's before we start getting into more esoteric power schemes.

That's stunning to me...

LinuxGuy
04-11-2008, 02:10 PM
In fact, at this point in technology, any small biped that is going to be vision based would be best implemented by using a wireless link and offloading the processing to a PC- like what kdwyer suggested. It would still be autonomous, and it could certainly be vision based... it would just have to be within a specific range of a host PC. Realistically, this is your best chance to implement something like that though. Robots like the robonova, or even the Kondo series, simply don't have the payload capacity and space for even a pico-itx solution onboard.
Based on experiences you've had and I've had with other stuff, I think he'd be way better off looking at something like a Technologic TS-7800 (http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-7800). I believe the TS-7800 (http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-7800) can run Windows CE. I've wanted to get one of these every since they came out.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-11-2008, 04:18 PM
How about the Hammer interfaced to a digital cell network (Air Card)?

LinuxGuy
04-11-2008, 06:05 PM
How about the Hammer interfaced to a digital cell network (Air Card)?
Those would be PC-Cards, and I don't know how they interface.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-11-2008, 11:08 PM
I refuse to call 'em PC-Cards. They're PCMCIA which stands for "People Can't Memorize Crummy Industry Acronyms".

I think you might have missed my early post above? We were posting at about the same time. They make USB -> pc-card adapters. Hacked open drivers abound.

DresnerRobotics
04-12-2008, 07:10 PM
They have a 6-24v @ 60wt DC-DC nano power supply. If you ran solid-state hard drive (say an 8GB USB stick), and an aircard like I described - that'd be a heck of a machine...

Is your 15w figure at 120v or at 12v? Figure 20w @ 12v (assuming the above), figure 25w @ 9.6v. So a 9.6v/5800ma/h battery might deliver (does some quick math: 5.8a/h, figure a conservative 4.5a/h of real juice) watts = volts * amps, which leaves us at ~2.06A @ 9.6v, which gives us a very conservative figure of 2hrs of runtime for our computer on a 9.6v NiMH RC battery. Toss in a "competition" 6v NiMH battery to run the servos, which should give you around 2hrs.

Overall, I think it's conceivable to construct a 'bot with [how much money you got?] infinite distributed processing power, and a gigahertz of onboard processor, that can run 2hrs trivially before plugging itself in, and that's before we start getting into more esoteric power schemes.

That's stunning to me...


Indeed. I do get almost 2 hours of runtime on the pico-itx onboard my bot with a 9.6v 4500mAh battery.

I've also been looking into the possibility of PCMCIA Aircards, which would enable the ALICE AI database to interface the internet at all times, thuogh for the time being the bot is tethered to the range of my wifi network at home.

Wingzero01w
04-12-2008, 07:25 PM
Ive always been a fan of pico-itx... i just dont have one. Its one of the most convenient for size:power applications. Once i figure out how to control a robot with one, and also control it from internet. I might get one later. Anybody got tutorials for this?

Adrenalynn
04-12-2008, 11:05 PM
Well, the Pico-ITX is "just" another PC. You would control a robot with it the same way you would with a PC. Serial, Parallel, Network, ... There's nothing special about it other than size-to-power (admitedly, that's pretty special). So the upshot is that you need something like a servo controller or a serial motor controller (the sabertooth, for example, with serial/ttl comes to mind). Then let's pretend you want your server to talk to the 'bot over wifi. You connect all that stuff together, and then you're looking for a client/server architecture that runs over TCP. I believe, as an example, that the RIOS arm control software supports a client/server architecture. Regardless, that's terribly trivial to do [substantially harder to do "right"] programming. Java practically was created to do exactly this. I think it'd be a great code-learning project. Easily extensible and modular...

LinuxGuy
04-13-2008, 03:02 AM
I think you might have missed my early post above? We were posting at about the same time. They make USB -> pc-card adapters. Hacked open drivers abound.
Hmmmm, facinating. I must look into getting one of these for W.A.L.T.E.R. as it would increase the number of modules he could use. :happy: I wish I could afford to go the cell wireless route, but that is out of my budget range. It would probably be considered two additional lines on my account and that's way too expensive for me. I am hoping WiMax comes out and extends wireless range for the rest of us. :happy:

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 03:39 AM
Just the FYI - Verizon offers it for $60/mo flat in the US.

I think it'll be a long time (read a *very* long time) before a continent-wide wimax solution will beat that price/performance...

But I agree that looking at pcmcia <-> usb2 will increase your options. I use this one in my ultra portable: http://www.elandigitalsystems.com/usb/u111.php but there are probably better and cheaper options now.

LinuxGuy
04-13-2008, 05:43 AM
Just the FYI - Verizon offers it for $60/mo flat in the US.
I'm on AT&T for my cell (my only phone).

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 10:00 AM
Nod. I'm on MetroPCS for [the only] phone I have. I just went with Verizon for a data plan because $60/month flat rate for unlimited nationwide mobile broadband seemed mindblowingly inexpensive to me, and the performance was/is the fastest I've seen on any US nationwide network so far. Heck, I pay more than that for Comcast, and I can't move more than a couple hundred feet away from the Demarc with it. It's also super spiffy being able to get broadband on a reasonable screen any time, any where, even driving down the highway [ultra portable in my purse]

So does your AT&T phone do EDGE? It's reeaaally slow compared to ED-VO from Verizon, but you could interface your AT&T phone to the 'bot and send data over the 'Net that way.

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 10:44 AM
BTW, RobotGuy - a couple pico-itx questions for you, if I may:

Where'd you get your pico-itx from? I still see a lot of "coming-soon"'s...
What are you powering it with? I'm thinking of the broad-range pico powersupply dc-dc, and running a 9.6v 5400mA/h RC battery (due to typical voltage limitations in the contest I build for).

TIA for any insights. If I get my freespace arm controller working, I'll be looking to shove my kinematics off to the 'bot, and a pico-itx may be the fastest and easiest way to get them there and have them run quickly and accurately.

[edit to note: I did find it on mini-itx.com for about $275. Another $100 for the M3-ATX power supply (6v-24v) Their ram prices are, of course, insane - so get that from another source for around $20-25. Figure around $30 for 8GB of flash drive (will it boot from USB, do you know?)

Do you know of a less expensive source for the board and/or power supply? $450ish out the door seems like a lot of money, even for that form-factor... TIA- Again!]

[edit again: Now that I get more involved in the searching, there are lots of sources. e-itx.com has it for $231 inc. 512MB of RAM. And the picoPSU-60-WI (http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-60-WI?sc=8&category=13)looks like it'd do the job for about $55. minibox has it for $228 without the ram. So now we're figuring around $300 with the flash boot ]

LinuxGuy
04-13-2008, 02:58 PM
BTW, RobotGuy - a couple pico-itx questions for you, if I may:

Where'd you get your pico-itx from? I still see a lot of "coming-soon"'s...
Sorry, don't currently use any x86 platform for robotics. If I did, it would most likely be running Linux. :happy:

8-Dale

Wingzero01w
04-13-2008, 04:57 PM
Hmm, i wonder if it would be possible to emulate MAC OS X onto a pico itx... could be possible. Are there any really big storage usb drives? Or some other type of storage? Id rather use a mac os because everything would be a hell-of-alot easier to set up.

And for wireless, i find verizon very fast even though im going to switch to at&t (iphone 3G.) personally, i find it worth the money for their service.

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 06:37 PM
I think you'd find that everything would be "a hell-of-alot" harder to set up. The amount of incidental hardware with Mac driver software is miniscule, I'm afraid. In fact, Apple was just touting that in a PC-vs-Mac commercial a couple nights ago as a "good thing" - which I thought humorous...

AFAIK, there isn't a crack to get around the verification and make MacOS run on the PC platform. At the moment, it verifies hardware serials.

And no, I'm not inherently anti-Mac. If you've ever run an iMac DV, you know me better than you want to... [I worked for Apple for several years, and then again for Claris to-be Filemaker]

Linux-on-PC is infinitely more compatible, has infinitely more support, and is finitely faster.

LinuxGuy
04-13-2008, 06:41 PM
So does your AT&T phone do EDGE? It's reeaaally slow compared to ED-VO from Verizon, but you could interface your AT&T phone to the 'bot and send data over the 'Net that way.
No, my phone is an almost 4 year old Nokia 6600 I brought over from T-Mobile when I ditched them. I really want to get a new phone but can't seem to find everything I want - large screen, fast on internet, stereo bluetooth, memory card slot - in a single reasonably priced device. I'd love to have an AT&T Tilt!

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 07:29 PM
Nod... I have some piece-'o'nokia ancient candybar too. I get unlimited everything for a flat $45/mo service-wise, with no contract, and I've been loving it for 5+ years. I get to have a grand-total of one phone in my life, and never have to count minutes.

So I can spend the money on flatrate Nationwide broadband. ;)

Wingzero01w
04-13-2008, 07:32 PM
Robotguy,

The new iphone thats coming out will have all of that, though i think there cost is going to be alot for the 3G.

Adrenalynn:

Wow, you worked for Apple? Thats pretty cool, i would like to work there someday. And i guess your rite about mac os x for a pc, it would be stupid.

Im not a fanboy, but i do like macs alot, since they just run very clean and well when i use them. There excellent for video editing and high performance applications. I guess robotics should be left to linux and windows.

Adrenalynn
04-13-2008, 08:15 PM
Sorry, RobotGuy, I'm an idiot. That should have been directed to Tyberius. Incidentally, I missed his post:


Indeed. I do get almost 2 hours of runtime on the pico-itx onboard my bot with a 9.6v 4500mAh battery.


I just love it when theory = practice. Being a geek means never having to wonder how long your batteries are going to last. Which can be really super important - but I digress. :tongue:

robot maker
07-19-2008, 12:48 PM
there is a power calculator online,i have the link in one of my network computers
need to find it ,will tell how much power for intel itx and via itx ,pico and you can add how many harddrives or usb devies and more and different programs that are running and how much they use
one one of my robot i have a 2 ghz board with over clocked to 2.5 ghz
another board is intel itx running at 1.7 ghz with over clock to 2. ghz
3 board using for a automatc charging station for my robots and 2 pico boards
will post the link as soon as i find iti have so many links over 400



They have a 6-24v @ 60wt DC-DC nano power supply. If you ran solid-state hard drive (say an 8GB USB stick), and an aircard like I described - that'd be a heck of a machine...

Is your 15w figure at 120v or at 12v? Figure 20w @ 12v (assuming the above), figure 25w @ 9.6v. So a 9.6v/5800ma/h battery might deliver (does some quick math: 5.8a/h, figure a conservative 4.5a/h of real juice) watts = volts * amps, which leaves us at ~2.06A @ 9.6v, which gives us a very conservative figure of 2hrs of runtime for our computer on a 9.6v NiMH RC battery. Toss in a "competition" 6v NiMH battery to run the servos, which should give you around 2hrs.

Overall, I think it's conceivable to construct a 'bot with [how much money you got?] infinite distributed processing power, and a gigahertz of onboard processor, that can run 2hrs trivially before plugging itself in, and that's before we start getting into more esoteric power schemes.

That's stunning to me...

robot maker
07-19-2008, 12:56 PM
there is and good abad,but networking is great can get wireless bridge and then hook up to a network board that has microcontroller ,for sensors and servos ,usb and more
network boards are fairly cheap and small and different types,parallax has one but very high,most seen near $50,network protoboards,maybe other names i have a link will need to look for it and post this time in links directory


Yup a better brain is, well, a better brain.
It might be more cost-effective to simply have a desktop linked via wireless. Kind of separating the brain from the body, except for what the body needs to know. Between WiFi, Bluetooth, 418/434 Mhz, and 2.4 Ghz there are plenty of 'simultaneous' channels. This also removes power consumption, weight, and limited processing power from the bot, enabling a desktop or laptop's power to be used by an autonomous device. Think of a "radio-wave spinal column".
Small microcontrollers used by modules can help standardize connections and provide limited distributed processing.

I see it like this: what board will provide the most complete access to a remote PC? Anything more is just ... more. Not necessarily better. It sure can't beat a desktop's specs.

Would I take an Itx board?... in a clockcycle. Such is a meat-based analog existance.

robot maker
07-19-2008, 01:09 PM
hi Linuxguy
like to hear you are using linux,be too hard for me to change over from windows in all my robots
since linux is better,but maybe latter double boot both linux and windows xp pro

on cell what i did on my cell phone is buy a cheapest or free phone from carrier,then get the un locked phone from ebay,so if i dont like the carrier i am using just switch out the sim card,also since i take many trip around the world i can get a sim card from them ,jamaica i gone so many times and sim card i is $10



Sorry, don't currently use any x86 platform for robotics. If I did, it would most likely be running Linux. :happy:

8-Dale