Robots with a bit of computing power

I'm outgrowing microcontrollers.
What is the lowest cost platform for controlling robots that fits these specs: Small: fits in 20cm x 20cm x 10cm
Fast: at least 200MHz Memory: at least 64MB RAM Reasonable power requirements: something I could run from, say, 10 AA nimhs for 30 minutes (is that reasonable?) Serial port Programmable in C
Mini ITX boards seem pretty good, and then I could run a nice OS like FreeBSD. What alternatives are there?
And are mini-ITX boards easy to use? Would it be as straightforward as attaching the batteries, adding a bit of RAM and some compact flash to get started (and maybe temporarily a CD-ROM drive)? Or do I need a special power supply and lots of extra interfacing hardware? -- Torque
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nimhs
power
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item074376671&category8331
206Mhz processor, 64MB RAM, 9 hour battery life, 8.3cm x 12.98cm x 1.57 cm, serial port. Plus lots of other doodads like a compactflash interface in this auction. And a handy display and touch interface.
Want to program it in C? Install Linux: http://frequal.com:8080/ipaq/install.html
It will set you back max $200, min $150 depending on where you find one. I think you could remove the plastic shell and reconfigure the display and batteries to make it even smaller.
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Here's a nice little board:
http://www.gumstix.com /
Only $139 for the 400 MHz version.
Dave Hylands http://www.DaveHylands.com /
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Hi
Looks wonderful, but what is it?
best regards
Robin G Hewitt
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Woah! That looks like my dream machine (though it'd need an extra microcontroller to support I/O). But it's hard to find out anything about developing for it on that web site. For example what is the development environment? What protocol is used to communicate with it and so on? I'll email them, find out, and report back. -- Torque

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Since it's running Linux, the typical development environment would be Linux. It would also be possible to ignore Linux entirely and just program it "to the metal" just like any other embedded processor.
It has an MMC/SD port so you can stick in SD flash sticks to upload new programs. It also has USB, so you could stick in a wireless USB network hub (or any other USB peripheral that Linux supports).
There's also an I2C port (and two serial ports), that could be used to connect to other peripherals (like an AVR or PIC for doing the I/O grunt work).
Once you get ethernet up, you could then NFS mount a whole file system and actually run the compiler right on the board.
-- Dave Hylands Vancouver, BC, Canada http://www.DaveHylands.com /

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Is that possible with only a USB client? I was under the impression that you needed a USB master in order to "use" peripherals.
Chris S.
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And why do think that this would just be a USB client?
This is running full blown Linux. This could be either a client or a host (just like your Linux running on your PC).
Dave Hylands

you
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Because that's what they say on they're site... (http://www.gumstix.com/features.html )

True, but it's capabilites are still dictated by its hardware limitations. This is especially true of USB which has distinct hardware for the host, hub, and client. Why do you think a USB cable has different connectors for each end?

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Well the company have failed to respond to my query so I'm wondering if it is in fact vapourware...
--
Dan

"Dave Hylands" < snipped-for-privacy@REMOVE.shaw.ca> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
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They've failed to respond to my questions as well, but I doubt it's vaporware. They're still just a start-up. Give them some time. They're probably still gearing up for shipping next week.

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Robin G Hewitt wrote:

Says it's Intel XScale (ARM cpu die packaged in a stack with flash)
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The size and price are right, but I/O looks a little limited. It's unclear how'd you access and program the onboard flash. Full USB master support or ethernet would have been nice also.

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nimhs
power
Sounds like a Pocket PC to me..?
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Actually, I've contacted the creators and they pointed me to the www.gumstix.COM site which is their commercial venture.
I like it as it would make for a perfect high-level brain as I like to dedicated smaller micros (AVRMega8) to handle sensors/actuators and report via I2C.
Not that I'm even close to using up all the potential of my Atmel ATmega128 anyways but looks good.
Take care, Stephane (remove .ns from my email) http://robotics.no-ip.org
TheDoc wrote:

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K-team produces the Korebot board. It's features put it somewhere between a nano-itx and a gumstik. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey at around $800. For that price you'd be better off buying a Sharp Zaurus or HP iPaq.
Chris S.

nimhs
power
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Linuxdevices.com also has a good round-up of SBCs at http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT8498487406.html

get
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Dear Chris,
Thanks for introducing KoreBot.
I just want to point out a few differences between KoreBot and the boards that you mentionned.
The first difference is that KoreBot is tailored for robotics: we provide an expansion bus with robotics extension (KoreMotor, KoreAudio, KoreOminCam, KoreIO,...), a large input power voltage, a large output voltage for USB peripherals and compact flash, holes to mechanifcally set the board, and expansion connectors that are tailored to resist vibrations of a robot.
The second difference is that we provide and maintain a toolchain, linux kernel and drivers, a robotics API and last but not least, we provide free support for research and education user.
Now, if you take the raw specifications, the difference in terms of specification between mini-itx boards and KoreBot are: - size, mini-itx are larger by a factor higher than 7. - power consumption, mini-itx consumes 5 times more than a KoreBot.
The difference in terms of specifications between gumstix and KoreBot are: - no compact flash connectors. - no USB host port. - no LCD controller. - no AC97 sound controller. - no unexpensive supported JTAG debugger. - 32 Mb of Flash memory vs 4Mb.
If you have any remarks, please do not hesitate.
With my best regards,

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