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View Full Version : [News/Announcement] Introducing the Roboard: The Robot Computer



DresnerRobotics
03-20-2009, 07:01 PM
The Roboard RB-100 (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/roboard.aspx?a=blog) is a new breed of robotics controller: a fusion of a traditional microcontroller and a full function computer. Think of it as an OS capable microcontroller on steroids, boasting a 32bit x86 CPU running at 1000MHz and 256MB DRAM. The ability to load an operating system of your choice and have direct access to I/O, Comm ports, USB, and networking opens this controller up to a wide range of robotics based applications. Our Roboard Starter Kit comes with just about everything you need to implement this feature rich controller in your next robotics project! All you need to supply is a 1-2gb Micro-SD card to load an OS onto, 6-24v, and a robot!


http://www.trossenrobotics.com/images/PImages/RoBoardV2_1.jpg (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/roboard.aspx?a=blog)

JadeKnight
03-20-2009, 07:26 PM
Pretty cool! :cool:

It looks like a great way to get a PC based robot up and running quickly!

darkback2
03-21-2009, 12:48 PM
great...something else to save up for!!!

Db

Sigma X
03-23-2009, 02:49 PM
when it'll be for sale here?

I answered my own question but this is an awsome piece of hardware

DresnerRobotics
03-24-2009, 11:59 AM
Correction: This board is actually running at 1000mhz, not 600. Initial sample I was sent was clocked at 600mhz, bios revision bumps it up to a full 1000mhz.

ScuD
03-24-2009, 02:47 PM
Great... it only took me 7 years to leap into C for microcontrollers, now another seven years to leap into even higher level programming..

Cool board! any price info?

/edit: yeah.. that link thingie.. i forgot to click it... must.. sleep..

sthmck
03-24-2009, 03:30 PM
I was wondering. Can you setup the board using the VGA card then hot swap in the wifi card? Or do you need to turn it off? Once you have switched is cards is it even possible to setup the wifi card when the VGA card isnt in it? Sorry if these are dumb questions. There is probably something obvious I am missing.

DresnerRobotics
03-24-2009, 03:56 PM
I was wondering. Can you setup the board using the VGA card then hot swap in the wifi card? Or do you need to turn it off? Once you have switched is cards is it even possible to setup the wifi card when the VGA card isnt in it? Sorry if these are dumb questions. There is probably something obvious I am missing.

VGA card is primarily intended to be for setup. You set everything up, then connect to it via remote session over the network. In this case, you could swap out the VGA for a wireless card (We'll be stocking those on the next order)

This is exactly how my Pico ITX Johnny 5 was setup, and it works great.

sthmck
03-24-2009, 04:04 PM
That is pretty much how I thought it was done. I found the card they were using at Logic Supply for $27.

DresnerRobotics
03-24-2009, 04:36 PM
http://www.logicsupply.com/products/vnt6655gm

Very nice!

Asimovian
03-26-2009, 05:21 PM
Tyberius have you had a good play around with this board? I assume it would be very similar performance to the pico ITX when running windows xp and roborealm?

Also is the RAM upgradeable? I had a look at their website but in no photos does it show the reverse side of the board to see if there is a RAM slot?

I'm really considering this because it was going to be a tight squeeze to fit the pico board in along with pico power supply and laptop hdd. This would just make things a lot simpler and keep things cleaner.

DresnerRobotics
03-26-2009, 06:02 PM
It is not on the same level as that of a pico-itx, the Vortex processors are really just beefed up 486's. Keep in mind that not all megahertz are created equal in reference to PC processing power, many different factors affect overall performance. RAM is not upgradable, its built into the board.

A pico is a full blown PC, this is more of a bridge between a microcontroller and a full blown PC. I would imagine that Roborealm would probably not run very well on this, though I haven't tested it. Roborealm only has mediocre performance on a 1ghz pico-itx for that matter.

I'd say these are best suited for a robotics situation where you need a smaller size and much less power consumption/weight than that of a pico. Humanoids and walkers would be great platforms for something like this.

I know someone on Robosavvy is working towards implementing one of these boards into the Robobuilder, I would imagine that with the built in TTL serial it wouldn't be hard to talk directly to the Bioloid/Robobuilder bus.

WGhost9
03-28-2009, 09:16 AM
Has any one seen if the Roboard can run openCV?

sthmck
03-28-2009, 10:04 AM
I was actually wondering the same thing. I don't know how much system performance opencv needs in comparison with roborealm. I guess someone with more opencv experience could answer that question. I am going to try doing some computer vision on it once I get one, but I am not going to expect much of anything to come out of it.

lnxfergy
03-28-2009, 10:15 AM
Has any one seen if the Roboard can run openCV?

Define "run". I'm sure you could install openCV, and do some things with it (color tracking, optical flow, etc). But I would seriously question what the frames per second would be, especially when using more advanced stuff like haar feature detectors. Then again, some of the advanced openCV stuff could tank a full-blown PC.

It's all a matter of what it is you want to do. You could even track colored objects with an AVRCam, such a process doesn't take much processing power.

-Fergs

lnxfergy
03-28-2009, 10:25 AM
I was actually wondering the same thing. I don't know how much system performance opencv needs in comparison with roborealm. I guess someone with more opencv experience could answer that question. I am going to try doing some computer vision on it once I get one, but I am not going to expect much of anything to come out of it.

If openCV is too much of a resource hog, there are other packages out there of course. Some possible candidates for playing around with vision (under linux):

CMVision - a very quick region segmenter, originally for the AIBO (384mHz), http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jbruce/cmvision/ If you really want to play around with vision, it should be easy to use VFL2 -> CMVision, and then build whatever on top of it. If you want a little more pre-canned stuff:
Tekkotsu - complete robot environment (we use this on campus), has an awesome cognitive vision package, however is stil under active development. Adding support for new robot platforms might be tough at the moment as they have overahauled the driver model but not finished updating the documentation. I know they've made Tekkotsu run on a gumstix (although the frame rate was a little low). Uses the CMVision packages for region segmentation.

-Fergs

WGhost9
03-28-2009, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the good input Inxfergy :)

I guess what I mean by "run" is mostly what you interpreted by overhead processing requirements (though I am sure roboard's cpu could handle basic blob tracking etc), but I was also interested in if OpenCV's abilities to generally grab webcam frames over a usb line would even work with the roboboard.

4mem8
03-29-2009, 04:02 AM
Hi tyberius, interesting board, had much of a play with it?? if so any feedback??

Adrenalynn
03-29-2009, 10:39 AM
The roboard is just a PC. Effectively, an overclocked 486. It has the facilities of Windows behind it (if you choose to run windows)

Mhz are not all the same, however. Don't expect it to do math-intensive tasks. It doesn't have all the advances in processor architecture that we've all come to take for granted.

pranavtrehun007
04-07-2009, 03:28 PM
this can be the next big thing in hobby robotics. But for now, it is crap. The libraries are incomplete and handicap this wonderful equipment. For example, even though it has the physical I2C bus, there's no way you can actually use it.... why? because they haven't written the libraries yet.

And if you want to integrate sonars, compass, gyros, accelerometers, encoders etc.... then you'll have to code everything from scratch unless u use analog sensors.

Adrenalynn
04-07-2009, 03:43 PM
Well, it's been made pretty clear that's it's not a turn-key solution for novices, hasn't it?

Any new piece of hardware is shy on software to support it.

I would never expect a board out-of-the-box to support random proprietary compass, gyros, accelerometers, etc. There are an infinite number of possible combinations - clearly no one manufacturer can support them all. If I were in your shoes, I'd go yell at the sonar, compass, gyro, accelerometer, encoder, etc. manufacturers to get off their collective duffs and go write drivers for their hardware that is standards-compliant.

DresnerRobotics
04-07-2009, 04:51 PM
this can be the next big thing in hobby robotics. But for now, it is crap. The libraries are incomplete and handicap this wonderful equipment. For example, even though it has the physical I2C bus, there's no way you can actually use it.... why? because they haven't written the libraries yet.

And if you want to integrate sonars, compass, gyros, accelerometers, encoders etc.... then you'll have to code everything from scratch unless u use analog sensors.


Uhh. Its just missing the I2C library. Aside from that they're complete and rather straightforward. They've done a great job with getting the documentation and libraries rolled out thus far, they're just finishing up the I2C.

It has analog and digital input, as well as an easy way to call them up, so I really don't see what your point is here. Just because you don't understand what it is and isn't, doesn't mean it's crap.