Polish company Husarion launched CORE2 — its second generation robot hardware controller for rapid prototyping and development. CORE2 is compatible with ROS, relies on an RTOS-based open-source software framework, and can be programmed with free tools either via cloud or offline. The controller is also compatible with other building platforms such as LEGO Mindstorms or Makeblock via optional modules.
CORE2 was showcased earlier this year at the Hannover Messe trade fair, and just like previous generation it is part of Husarion’s robotic development platform which is focused on making robot building more accessible for everyone.
What can Husarion CORE2 do?
CORE2 comes in two flavors. There’s the standalone low-power real-time connected computer with on-board ESP32 WiFi module for energy efficient or cloud-based projects.
CORE2-ROS harvests the processing power of an attached single-board computer such as the Raspberry Pi 3 or ASUS Tinker Board, while retaining real-time capabilities. This combo can run an Ubuntu based ROS image and lets you develop more advanced projects such as the ROSbot autonomous robot.
Everything is on-board, this makes things easy primarily because no additional hardware shields or interfaces are required for connecting motors or sensors. There are 4 DC motor ports with integrated H-bridges, 6 servo interfaces, a DC/DC converter for selecting voltage independently for each servo, 42 I/O pins, WiFi and other communication interfaces.
CORE2 is compatible with Arduino libraries — for every sensor or peripheral you want to connect there’s already a library written for it you can use without modifications.
Real-time processing. CORE2 controllers do not use up CPU cycles for high frequency data polling, relying instead on dedicated timers, DMA channels and interrupts, all driven by a RTOS (real-time operating system) and optimized libraries.
CORE2brick is an optional add-on interface and accessory kit for easily connecting LEGO Mindstorms hardware, accepting 4 LEGO motors and 6 LEGO sensors.
CORE2 servo controller module can control up to 12 servos delivering a selectable output voltage of 5-8.6 V, and 4 A maximum current. Each CORE2 or CORE2-ROS accepts up to 4 such servo controllers.
CORE2block is an adapter kit with required electrical connections for the Makeblock platform.
Here you can find several interesting projects made with CORE2 and CORE2-ROS controllers.
And there’s also the programming.
Programming the CORE2 controller
The easiest method to start programming is of course through the online web-based IDE. Simply log into your Husarion Cloud account, and create a script using templates in a few easy steps. Build the generated code and download it to the CORE2 controller.
You can also create a web-based control interface with video streaming and WebRTC support in no time. Simply select your project, define access rights and everything will be in place at the generated URL. A secure SSL connection is established between your robot and the cloud.
Program your CORE2 robot offline either by installing the Husarion extension to Visual Studio Code, or simply use the Husarion SDK in any mainstream IDE.
The powerful hFramework open-source real-time library lets you write some pretty advanced code in a very efficient manner.
CORE2 controller board specs
- Real-time MCU: STM32F4, ARM CORTEX-M4, 168 MHz, 192 kB RAM, 1 MB Flash;
- hRPi – expansion port for add-ons depending on version:
- CORE2-ROS: optional SBC – either Raspberry Pi 3 (ARMv8, 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB Flash) or ASUS Tinker Board (ARMv7-A, 1.8GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash);
- CORE2: included ESP32 based Wi-Fi module;
- hMot: 4 DC motor outputs + 4 quadrature encoder inputs 1 A cont./ 2 A max. current per output (2 A/4 A current in parallel);
- hServo: 6 servo ports with selectable supply voltage (5-8.6 V) 3 A cont./4.5 A max. current total;
- hSens: 6 sensor ports (4xGPIO, ADC/ext. interrupt, I2C/UART, 5 V out);
- hExt: Extension port (12xGPIO, 7xADC, SPI, I2C, UART, 2x ext. interrupt);
- USB serial port through FTDI chip
- USB host with 1 A charging capability
- micro SD card slot;
- CAN interface with onboard transceiver;
- DBG SWD (Serial Wire Debug): STM32F4 debug port;
- Supply voltage: 6-16 VDC (built-in overcurrent, overvoltage, and reverse polarity protection).
Let’s take a look at the CORE2 boards and some of their features.
Image credits: Husarion
Where to buy
There are only a few days to go of the CORE2 campaign. For US $89 you can get the standard CORE2 controller with WiFi.
For US $99 you can buy the CORE2-ROS board and accessory kit for attaching to a SBC. You will need to fork out about $140-160 for a complete CORE2-ROS kit including an SBC of your choice.
Complete robot building kits are also available — the CORE2 telepresence robot kit costs $249, while the complete ROSbot autonomous robot kit will set you back $1,290.
CORE2brick, CORE2block and servo controller optional modules cost $39 and 24 respectively.