Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Products Coming

There are a few products we've been alluding to over the past few months, and they are about to be released.

The first is the MINI robocontroller. It's a smaller version of the ArbotiX based on the ATmega168 -- so it's completely Arduino compatible. Just like the ArbotiX it has a dual motor driver, XBEE socket, low dropout regulator, and 3-pin headers for I/O. The MINI also a block of 4 I/O ports that can be easily configured to control servos. The only thing it's missing from it's big brother is that it can't control AX-12s, and it has fewer I/O. This is the perfect board for your first rover! The MINI has had serious testing, an earlier revision was used as the scoring transponder for Mech Warfare 2009, and the new MINI's will be the scoring transponder for MW2010 and beyond. The MINI is also been the board used in my Introduction to Embedded Computing and Robotics workshop. MINIs will retail for $60, and should be available from Trossen Robotics later this week.

A completely different product is the ArbotiX Commander -- it's an Arduino+XBEE based handheld wireless controller. If you've been using NUKE, you've probably heard of our Commander library and protocol. Being open source, you can hack the Commander to do whatever -- there's a row of female headers along the side of the chip, and a whole slew of extra prototyping area at the top edge. It'll be a bit pricey compared to off-the-shelf controllers like the PS2, but I think the open-source and integrated XBEE make this the perfect controller for advanced roboticists. The Commander will be available later this month!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Get Your IK On

The Nearly Universal Kinematics Engine (NUKE) is finally out in a first beta. Right now our templates only support 3DOF Lizard-legged 4 and 6 leg robots, however 3DOF Mammal-style leg support isn't far off, and low DOF Biped support is in the works. This is the same system that powered Issy, Roz, and Jeff to take the top 3 spots at CNRG's Walker Challenge. It takes about 20-30 minutes to setup your bot once you get the hang of what's going on.

NUKE is written in Python, and it exports a C/C++ Arduino project that runs on the ArbotiX. NUKE can be downloaded from our Google code site: Documentation is also on that site.

We also have a new google group for support (it's very new, hence the low traffic)