Nowadays there is a decent selection of commercially available telepresence robots for most budgets and purposes. While some of them are pretty refined products, most of them have little physical interaction capabilities with their environment. This is where ORIGIBOT comes in – equipped with a moving arm and a gripper this robot promises to be pretty practical, adding unique features to telepresence. It can grasp and carry objects, operate door knobs or light switches, and even perform some chores around the house.
ORIGIBOT System | Photo: Origin Robotics
ORIGIBOT is open source, it’s main control unit is an Arduino compatible MCU, the sturdy aluminum chassis is made of standard T-slot extruded profiles, off-the-shelf hobby servos are used to actuate it, and 3D printed ABS plastic parts are used to link everything together.
Spanish company Robotnik introduced earlier this week their very own RB-1 mobile manipulator. The robot is designed for indoor use in household as well as professional environments, and is brought to life by using well known Dynamixel Pro series servo actuators which add up to 13 degrees of freedom (DOF), depending on variant. It is well suited for remote manipulation or human assistance applications and can be fully autonomous or manually controlled.
RB-1 Mobile Manipulator rendering | Photo: Robotnik
RB-1 aims to be a powerful research and development platform, its modular and scalable design, and open-source ROS framework allow for extensive customization and cost effectiveness with respect to applications.
Do you have an idea for a robot and want to quickly start building it? Or maybe you would like to build one but don’t have that much expertise with electronics? What if you have an already built project and want to add more features to it? Worry no more RoboCORE has just been launched on Kickstarter. This is a cloud powered development platform that promises to let you focus on your creations without necessarily requiring you to fiddle with lower layer electronics or intricate software designs.
RoboCORE development platform | Photo: Husarion
RoboCORE aims to be a complete hardware and software solution, an “ecosystem”, for driving and programming your robots or any connected creation for the matter. The system is comprised of the RoboCORE physical hardware unit, the cloud service and the programming library.
The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has been released this week with an announced performance increase of “at least 6 times” compared to the first generation Model B+. This second generation sports a powerful ARMv7 quad-core SoC clocked at 900 MHz with 1 GB of RAM and integrated 3D GPU. In addition to standard ARM GNU/Linux distributions the board is also ready to take the new Windows 10 in the form of an IoT release. While performance has gone up significantly the price of US $35 has remained identical to the current Model B+ board.
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B | Photo: RaspberryPi.org
At first glance the new Pi is almost identical in design with the current Model B+, apart from the new Broadcom BCM2836 SoC which provides all the extra muscle the new board is capable of. The new chip is based on the ARMv7 architecture which means that the Raspberry Pi 2 will not be limited to highly optimized dedicated Linux distributions, but it will also be able to seamlessly run Android or Ubuntu offering much better support for front-end applications, and of course a newly announced release of Windows 10 for IoT developers.
Arduino and LEGO Mindstorms are two amazing development platforms pretty mainstream among robotics enthusiasts and even professionals, each having unique features making it better suited for one project or another, however solutions for bringing these together are surfacing at an increasing rate. Today we take a look at EVShield, an extension board for Arduino that enables you to connect and communicate with any Mindstorms sensors or motors via the I2C interface.
EVShield for Arduino | Photo: OpenElectrons
The project comes from OpenElectrons, a small company specialized in creating sensors and accessories various development platforms, which is run by the same team of engineers which created the better known Mindsensors, specialized in sensors and accessories for Mindstorms platforms.
Have you ever wanted to quickly add smart capabilities to your air conditioning unit so you can control it from your smartphone? Or maybe you wanted to build a wearable tracker that measures your daily activity? Enter the AirBoard, an ultra-compact, powerful and cheap development board that gets your project connected to the Internet of Things in no time. With a crowdfunding campaign that started only a few days ago it has already raised over two times its projected goal.
The AirBoard is open-source and fully compatible with Arduino, in fact the Arduino IDE can be used to program the device over-the-air via WiFi or Bluetooth. Modules, sensors and other parts can be connected via standard solderless connectors, making assembly of your project a breeze.
EVB is a plug-in expansion board (cape) for the powerful BeagleBone Black single-board computer that aims to be a replacement for your Mindstorms EV3 intelligent brick. EVB is superior in several key aspects to the standard EV3 brick, such as processing power and expandability, while still retaining full compatibility with LEGO Mindstorms sensors and accessories. Third party or custom sensors are also supported providing great potential the EVB. The project has been fully funded on Kickstarter, and at the time of writing there are still 2 and a half days to go if you want to back it.
EVB and EV3 side by side | Photo: FatCatLab
The key to complete compatibility is that the EVB and EV3 units are very similar with respect to hardware architecture, and since EV3 is open source most design aspects and software are based on official designs. Both units are based on Texas Instruments Sitara series ARM MCUs, and both run different flavors of Linux. Below is a quick comparison chart between the two units.