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Thread: Steam Automaton Groucho

  1. #21
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinO View Post
    How much of the original Groucho you did in 2009 are you going to keep? The four deck design using the Zagros REX 14C base.
    It was closer to 2003. Basically after Lee got that sick, I had to quit making. Now I realize that was a bad decision because without being able to build things, I go a bit crazy. So I'm restarting

    Unfortunately most of the old stuff is packed up somewhere in the basement. However, I found the Zagros base a few weeks ago, but not the motors I had on it. I did pack up the sensors and I found most of them. Plus I was able to buy some more Sharp IR Rangers. I think I even found the motherboard I used. Unfortunately I have no idea where the other levels or the motors are. But luckily I did get a few things from eBay: a Kinect, some laser modules, and the range finder from a Neato.

    When we moved into this house, Lee was in the hospital so I just had the movers throw everything into boxes.

    And now, five years later, I'm getting around to unpacking things.
    -
    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  2. #22
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Arrrrrgh!

    I installed Ubuntu 14.04 on Groucho. I can't installed the current version of ROS (Hydro) because it doesn't support 14.04. And I can't install the latest version of ROS (Indigo) because it's not released yet (Real Soon Now).

    Oh well, just waiting I guess. Now I need to find an old web cam so that I can experiment with OpenCV. Do I go with the latest version from source, or do I use the older packaged version? Gack! The Linux I remember everything but the basics was installed from source. I even remember having to triple compile the tool chain: the first time with the old compiler, the second time recompiling everything with the new tool chain, and a third time to see if the second and third compilers were identical (if they were, then you were done with the compiler).

    And most of the stuff I wanted back then had their own sites, like Perl, and Python and such.

    And I just got a USB flash card writer to write disks for my RasPis, because my notebook's built in writer doesn't do it correctly. Here's hoping that the new gadget I got will do this. Then I have to figure out how to make a networked RasPi into a fake USB camera.
    -
    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  3. #23
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Indigo is available for 14.04, it just has not been 'released' yet as a stable version for widespread consumption (there will likely be lots of updates to make it a bit more polished before the release date). The packages might be marked as 'beta' in apt or synaptic, but should not require any changes to the repo information to later upgrade to 'stable' packages when indigo is officially released.

    There are a few ways to access the RPiCam, but none of them were ideal when I last checked. There is the 'userland' repo released by the RaspberryPi foundation that provides low-level access to the GPU for controlling the camera and retrieving still/video data, but it is a bit more complicated than a v4l2 interface. There was talk of a true v4l2 driver for the RPiCam, but I've not checked recently to know if it exists. There is a user-level driver that grabs images from the 'userland' raspistill or raspivid program and send them to a fake-v4l2 device, but it requires binary downloads from a place I'm not sure I trust. There is also a python implementation of the userland library named picamera that might be useful if familiar with python and its socket interfaces.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    bleh

  4. #24
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Installing Xubuntu-14.04 on the Zbox now, so will test the Indigo install once that is finished. Don't have any webcams or kinects on hand, so cannot test that yet.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    bleh

  5. #25
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    I tried to install things last night (I had found the Indigo install page), but following the instructions exactly got me a package not found message. I tried to do the full desktop download.

    I have found a bunch of web pages that give instructions for getting the Picam to play nicely with OpenCV but as you say they use v4l2. That makes sense.

    I read that the details of the graphics co-processor was released last month. Hopefully that will make things easier eventually.

    A new question: is it better to use the desktop or the server version of Ubuntu for a robot?
    -
    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  6. #26

    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    The difference between desktop and server is mainly in what packages come by default. You can add a window manager to the server install with something like "sudo apt-get install xfree86 lxde"
    If you won't be hooking mouse, keyboard, and monitor to your robot with any frequency, then taking up CPU/GPU/power/RAM with a desktop environment doesn't make sense, though, and you're better off using the server install that doesn't start X.

  7. #27
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    If the robot is the only system with ros installed, you will definitely want a desktop system hooked up to a monitor while you are learning it. If you are using multiple systems to learn, then you should be fine installing a desktop on the primary development system with ros-desktop and leaving the headless robot with ubuntu-server.

    Took a while to purge all the ubuntu software center, upgrade and update notifiers, and annoying media programs from xubuntu. The various 'installation' metapackages are not appearing in aptitude, so probably will not be available until launch day. You should get most of the basic desktop install with the 'ros-indigo-ros-tutorials', 'ros-indigo-ros-comm', 'ros-indigo-rqt', and 'ros-indigo-rviz' packages. It does not include cameras, arm control (moveit), base navigation, or robot specific files, but it should be enough to run all of the tutorials.

    Really wish I trusted SSDs enough to put one in my netbook instead of just the bot-bound zbox.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    bleh

  8. #28
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Indigo isn't released until later this month. Like, latter part of the month.
    Last edited by KevinO; 05-07-2014 at 12:52 AM.

  9. #29
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    Really wish I trusted SSDs enough to put one in my netbook instead of just the bot-bound zbox.
    I really like SSDs. I've never had a problem from them. I have two of the on my laptop and it runs like a charm. Groucho has the topside slot filled with one and has a 1 TB SSD on the bottom. I'm working on a better backup solution than I have now.
    -
    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  10. #30

    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Really wish I trusted SSDs enough to put one in my netbook instead of just the bot-bound zbox.
    And you trust spinny platters with micron-size magnetic matter more than flash chips?
    The truth is, there's just as many buggy spinny disk product lines as there are buggy SSD product lines.
    And when they work as intended, SSDs are much higher MTBF/durability.
    The time of SSD has come, and spinny disks are relegated to long-term bulk online archives.

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