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Thread: Bioloid information

  1. Bioloid information

    Hi everyone,

    I would like to buy my first robot and I'm thinking of the Bioloid.
    I don't follow any study or university, my use would be amateur only because I like robots. :-)
    I have programming experience and what I would do is just to give task to the robot via the code programming.

    At this point, before buying, I would ask a few things:

    - is it possible to do robot a walk for a room looking for... a €1 coin? Or a pencil? Or would be amazing if it can recognize faces or voice? Or is it only able to recognize colors?
    If so, what should I looking for hardware and software to be able to do this with the Bioloid?

    - is it possible to do robot a walk on the table and avoid to drop down it seeing or feeling when the surface is void? Also here, is there a particolar software and hardware to add?

    - is it possible to set it for climbing the small stairs?

    I saw the RoboPlus, is possibile to do all these things with this software or is needed C, C++ programming?

    For these kinds of functions it required a connection to the computer or can be do using the CPU of the Bioloid making it completely autonomous?

    Thanks for any suggestion
    bye
    Last edited by bugbaal; 10-29-2011 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bioloid information

    None of the Bioloid kits come with any vision processing or voice recognition capabilities. There was an Advanced/Academic/Professional version of the comprehensive kit that came with an analog wireless camera to stream to a PC, but I do not think it is sold any longer. It required a Windows PC to do all of the vision processing before sending commands back to the robot via Zigbee. You should be able to find a replacement camera (IP webcam even?) that is small enough to mount on the Humanoid, you would then do all of the processing on an external PC and finally send motion commands to the onboard controller (CM-5/510/700 or even an arbotiX).

    There is a third party, dynamixel bus-compatible, camera module/vision processing module called the HaViMo2, but it is intended for simple blob tracking in highly structured environments (for playing soccer at RoboCup) (and requires all tracking algorithms to be implemented on the CM-5/510/700 embedded controller using either RoboPlus Task programs or Embedded C/C++). From my limited experience with it, it may be able to find a coin or pencil, but would require very well controlled lighting (if the lighting is not consistent or the object is not sufficiently different in color from the background, the blob tracking will fail). The vision processing algorithm is only rudimentary color blob creation with optional online gridding to reduce the color detection to a 32 by 24 grid.

    Under remote control by a human, the Premium Humanoid is entirely capable of walking up mini-stairs made from pieces of 1/2~3/4" thick plywood stacked and bonded to each other. Create enough of the mini-stairs, and you could enable it to traverse human scale steps (although it would take a much larger horizontal distance/much shallower incline). I have not actually tried walking up the plywood steps with a humanoid, but it should not be any more difficult than the Gerwalk and Biped implementations. Actually, since the Type-A humanoid has two additional degrees of freedom in its hips (compared to the Biped), it should be a bit easier to do. Since I still have not finished building a C/C++ motion engine for the CM-5/510/700, only RoboPlus Task and RoboPlus Motion were used for both of those projects on the Robotis site. You may even be able to use the arms to assist in physically climbing up human scale stairs (kind of like a toddler climbing onto a sofa) instead of walking up plywood mini-stairs.


    The DARwIn-OP is the Robotis system that has an onboard webcam (with microphone) and PC to implement all of the features you mentioned without requiring any external components/systems, but it is ~$12 000 and uses a full PC with OS for the vision/sound processing and motion/gait control. The default operating system installed on it is Ubuntu Linux, so there are plenty of existing code examples/libraries for most of your desired features (face/voice recognition and object tracking, although detecting the edge of a table may require a bit of custom code in whatever language you desire).
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
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    gives free advice only on public threads

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    Re: Bioloid information

    I think the key thing here is that you are purchasing your first robot. All of the things you say you want your robot to do are reasonably possible with a robot that is configured to do them, but I think you may be being a bit over optimistic about the capabilities of different robot systems.

    I think the best thing to do is to get a good basic platform that you can then build on to. The bioloid kit is as good a platform as any other to start with. That said, I have found that with walking/humanoid robots I spend a lot more time working on making them move around than making them actually do real things. The battery life is pretty short, and the payload capacity in humanoid form is pretty low.

    So lets look at the things you want to do.

    Having a robot move around a table and keep from falling off...

    There are several ways to do this. It might be hard with a humanoid robot though because of where the sensors are located. There are several configurations of the bioloid that would be better for doing this.

    Climbing a small set of stairs

    As Tician stated, a bioloid in humanoid form can be programmed to do this.

    Walking around a room looking for something...Probably not the best use of a bioloid in humanoid form. You might find that you need to use a computer to do computer vision, and in humanoid form you would be hard pressed to carry around a computer. You would apparently be better off in hexapod form...or building something custom using your bioloid servos.

    The point is, the bioloid kit is a great starting point. Your goals will probably change pretty drastically once you have it and start working to put it together and program it. You will probably be a bit disappointed by the short battery life of all of the robots you can get reasonably. There are other limitations that I'm sure you will find on your own.

    Best of luck,

    DB

  4. Re: Bioloid information

    Hi tician,
    first of all thank you for having responded immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    You should be able to find a replacement camera (IP webcam even?) that is small enough to mount on the Humanoid, you would then do all of the processing on an external PC and finally send motion commands to the onboard controller (CM-5/510/700 or even an arbotiX).
    Can you tell me a type of camera, just an example, brand/model.
    I imagine that have to be small, low consume and with its battery.
    What recognition software allows you to receive an image input and returns an output based on images that it has examined?
    What about voice recognition? Any suggestions ?


    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    There is a third party, dynamixel bus-compatible, camera module/vision processing module called the HaViMo2, but it is intended for simple blob tracking in highly structured environments...
    HaViMo2 looks interesting, but considering that I have to buy one, I prefer to take one that provides me more flexibility.


    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    You may even be able to use the arms to assist in physically climbing up human scale stairs (kind of like a toddler climbing onto a sofa) instead of walking up plywood mini-stairs.
    Very nice video.
    Yes, I could try, although I think that the hands do not have sufficient grip for helping legs. But i don't know.


    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    The DARwIn-OP is the Robotis system that has an onboard webcam...
    Oh yeah! I have seen the Darwin-OP robot, it's wonderful, but it costs so much and my wallet doesn't follow my wishes. Maybe someday, who knows :-)

    Thank you again.

  5. Re: Bioloid information

    Quote Originally Posted by darkback2 View Post
    I think the key thing here is that you are purchasing your first robot...[cut]
    Hi darkback2,
    Yes, this is my first robot and I would take a kit that allows me to update it when I learn ever more to use it. So, better expandable is, better is.
    Battery yes, I did not consider the battery life, but I think that at least 20 minutes is up. No? I no idea which is the duration of the battery.
    Otherwise, another update would be to put a small solar panels on back :-)
    I understand that there are better configurations of the robot that best fit its use, but I really like the humanoid form and I would like to use this form for my own fun :-)
    Thank you.


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    Re: Bioloid information

    Sorry this post is a bit incoherent...

    The cameras that came with the two 'Expert' Comprehensive kits in the lab were rebranded by Robotis so I don't know the model right off, but they are just some power hungry mini-camera/transmitter with a short whip antenna and two 3-pin dynamixel bus connectors to provide power. The receiver has a USB interface to connect to the PC and is Windows only with a custom DLL (pretty much a black box system - little to no documentation other than a header file and binary library to pull bitmap images from the receiver). There are two images of it here about half way down the page, one is a close-up and the other is an old image of BEACON before the AX-S1 was replaced with a tilt AX-12+ (so it did not have to bend over to see anything in front of its feet). My experiences with that camera system have left me even less fond of closed source/black box systems (required me to use MS Visual Studio 6 because it is old as sin, and the library is incompatible with newer versions of Visual Studio).

    If you use an onboard embedded PC, then the camera solution is as simple as a USB webcam, as it is very easy to grab jpg images from UVC compatible webcams when using linux, (e.g., the DARwIn-OP demo code) and probably with windows as well.

    If you do not go with an onboard PC (like those on the DARwIn-OP humanoid or lnxfergy's newer, lizard-like, version of his quadruped 'issy') then I would recommend reading through some of the threads about wifi IP cameras (for mechwarfare - some are small/light enough for a humanoid). Depending on the camera, it may have an API you can use to directly stream images or it may just host a webpage that streams video from the camera. Usefulness for vision processing depends on the final data format (mjpg vs mpeg vs avi etc.) and how easily one can convert this stream into a format usable by whatever processing software you are using. If you can find one, the easiest to use would be an IP camera with mjpg output to a webpage which is the same image format as the USB webcam (just a bunch of jpeg images sent in sequence).

    Last resort (not recommended as far more trouble than it's worth) would be an analog output wireless (security) camera, where the receiver has a (yellow?) RCA connector for video output to a TV. This would require a frame grabber/TV tuner card with analog input and software to gain access to the raw frames acquired by it.


    As DB noted, two-legged robots can have rather severe limitations regarding payload and battery life. They depend on a variety of factors such as chosen servos, frame materials, joint arrangement/design and lever arm lengths, battery size and chemistry, controller type, etc. Using a solar panel to augment the battery would likely add far more weight and trouble than it is worth for a non-wheeled/tracked vehicle. Biped gaits are also a bit more difficult to create than quadruped and hexapod gaits, but if the legs are designed to be sufficiently passive (such as human legs) then bipedalism can be significantly more energy efficient at walking ("we can't outrun a lion/tiger/cheetah, but we can out walk one". Ever notice that if you are not in horrible shape that it can feel like you can walk all day as long as you don't go too fast? I have a tendency to even forget that I am walking as my mind wanders a bit, and I just sort of suddenly realize that I have already walked completely across campus on autopilot).

    A large part of why the dynamixel system is so great for beginners, is that it is nigh infinitely reconfigurable with the standard plastic frames or custom aluminum frames. Get bored/frustrated with a biped, then just redesign some of the frames/joints or completely disassemble it and make a quadruped, or a hexapod, or a wheeled robot, or even a snake or inchworm like robot.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    [git][mech][hack]
    gives free advice only on public threads

  7. Re: Bioloid information

    Thank you for all information.
    My next step is looking for this wifi IP cameras and understand how to interact with them.
    bye

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