The best Hobbiest robot, What is it?

Hi,
I am looking for the best hobbiest robot to buy. Many come close, many have
one desired feature, and another a different one but none that I have seen
has the complete package. It seems like no one has "nailed it" yet, just
bits and pieces. That is unless there is one that I have missed. I have
looked at those doggy robots which has voice recognition but they have no
speech, I have looked at old HERO robots which have speech but they have no
voice recognition.
There are some things listed below that it must have. Is there anything
out like it?
Speech
Voice recognition
user programmability
temperature sensor
light sensor
distance sensor (sonar)
Infrared sensor
real time clock
good mobility
expandability
Things that would be nice:
Arm
Humidity sensor
Atmospheric pressure sensor
camera for vision or stereo camera for vision with depth
stereo sound sensor (for direction)
infrared output (control TVs etc)
X10 type module interface to control appliances etc.
Does anyone know of a robot or kit that has these features?
Thanks
Reply to
DaveC
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Dave,
That's a LOT from one robot. Asking for it to also be a kit is asking too much I think. What would you be willing to pay for such a beast? I'm guessing it would cost something like $2000 to $3000 if it included a complete assembly and programming guides, and that really makes it impossible for anyone to produce since the market is just too small.
Reply to
Alan Kilian
The best hobbyist robot is the one YOU build to incorporate all these features....
Mike
Reply to
blueeyedpop
I have to agree with blueeyedpop on this. No one makes a hobbyist robot with all these features as it costs too much, and all the "hobbysts would choke gag and puke on seeing the price. You would have to spend $2,000+ on it yourself, and build one up. What does come pretty close though is the robot "Garcia" at
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Garcia uses a 400mhz intel XScale (Arm core) processor. But I betcha you are going to 'choke, gag, and puke", unless your really serious about it. But it would do what you want off of your wish list. The next closest one is the ER1 from Evolution Robotics
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ER1 in the basic kit model selles for around $300, but you still need to hook up a laptop too it, so that would add about $1,000 or so to the total cost, as the laptop can'tbe a really old or el cheapo model. The laptop needs some cpu power to it. But it would do what you want off your wish list.
happy holidays, Earl
Reply to
Earl Bollinger
Oops, I forgot to mention the
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Scorpion Robot. That is a a lot closer to what I consider a great robot.
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The ER1 in the basic kit model selles for around $300, but you still need
Reply to
Earl Bollinger
Looks great, but I wonder how many will be suckered by the $5K price tag for the first, then $7.5K for subsequent robots. Odd pricing policy..
Deep.
Reply to
Deep Reset
Very odd indeed, I was just going to comment on that. That's either a typo, or we must not be getting something that's obvious to everyone else :-)
But speaking of laptops, Wallmart and Linspire have teamed up to offer a $500 no frills laptop based on Linux as opposed to Windows. Something like that might work with the $300 ER1 and you might be able to get a pretty decent platform running for around $800. The must more expensive ER "Scorpion" at least seems to support other OSs besides Windows - not sure about the software that comes with the ER1.
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-Brian -- Brian Dean BDMICRO - ATmega128 Based MAVRIC Controllers
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Reply to
Brian Dean
Yeah I sorta wondered about the prices too. The Walmart "Balance" brand low end laptop looks pretty good. Earlier (here in this group) it was discovered that Balance may have been misrepresenting what the CPU was inside the laptops. They had rigged the BIOS to report a different and faster CPU than they had really put in the low end laptops. I would wonder if they had fixed that or not. In my opinion, if they lied about the CPU what else did they lie about as well. Wal-Mart was supposed to changed their advertising and offer amends to earlier buyers though. But I didn't here if they in facthad done it or not. Now the Via CPU in the $500 Balance laptop is pretty nice, it isn't as powerful as a AMD Athlon, but it doesn't suck up as much power nor generate as much heat. So hopefully the battery would have some decent life to it (albeit a 14" LCD sucks all the extra power anyway).
The ER1's have a lot of their code written in Java and they develop it first on a Linux machine of some sort and then port it over to Windows. So a ER1 owner should be able to get the code for Linux easy enough. The real trick is finding out what version GCC and or Java compiler you would need to be successful.
A better choice may be to use a Via Mini-ITX or Nano-ITX board instead of a laptop on the ER1. less than $200 bucks for one of those boards, then you can add the HD, and stuff as needed.
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maybe something like this
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bought one last year from here
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and I really like it a lot. I also got the 12vdc DC-DC converter for it as well. If you lick up a small LCD monitor panel that can run off of a 12vdc battery (many do), you can run the whole thing off a 12v battery easy enough.
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Reply to
Earl Bollinger
A mini-itx is a viable choice, but good luck finding a nano-itx. VIA's been promising it's release "real soon now" for almost two years. If you don't want to wait indefinitely, there are some alternatives such as the flex form factor (between mini and nano), PC-104 form factor, or the gumstix (gumstix.com).
Reply to
Chris S.
Well thanks,
Unfortunately though, I am not an electrical engineer or a software engineer.
My ideal robot would be like an updated version of the old HERO 2000. Imagine that one with an updated CPU like an 200 MHz ARM or similar. Instead of disk or hard drives it would use a compact flash card. It would be expandable but I wouldn't need an EE degree to do it. You could just add a board.
Reply to
DaveC
Yeah I choked, gagged, and almost puked at the price of the Garcia, and it didn't look to even have voice recognition.. It seems too overpriced for what you get. I mean you can get an AIBO for less than that and it has more technology behind it.
The ER1 seems kind of hoaky to me. A laptop on wheels? Maybe it is just me but it looks kind of dumb. I want something that looks "roboty". again like the HERO series. It also seems real inefficient to have a laptop running with a harddrive etc, uses too much battery power just to have it on.
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Reply to
DaveC
Well the prices are actually pretty reasonable. But most people think they should be like $49.95 for everything ready to go. Sticker shock is a horrible thing. Unfortunately when you add up the cost of all the parts, it goes way over the price a layperson might expect. Just the drive motors with quadrature encoders can easily go way over $400 by themselves. The Garcia is easy to expand, voice recognition is easy to add to it.
Reply to
Earl Bollinger
You do realize the Hero2000 cost a lot of money way back then. In today's money it would be around $7,000 to $10,000 dollars to buy it. You don't have to be a genius or have a degree in computer science or engineering to build one yourself. The best robots so far are the ones built by the hobbysts who don't have degrees. Go check out
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in the photos section
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of our guys did a great job building up his "Beerbot" which is very very close to being a Hero2000 itself. it sorta looks like a R2D2 unit, but it is pretty cool nonetheless. He had the help of a number of DPRG members to solve some of the more sticky problems. He actually entered it in the Roborama contests, it did an excellent Quick Trip run, and Tee Time run too, the PID was working great.
Reply to
Earl Bollinger
Yeah, I still have a lot of hope they'd release the nano-ITX's one of these days. I've been waiting to get one for forever it seems.
Reply to
Earl Bollinger
Then you need to add:
build itself program itself pay for itself
Reply to
Si Ballenger
The MARKIII robot, I think is the most reasonably priced robot for what you get. Check out:
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chris in napa
DaveC wrote:
Reply to
chris burns
Well no I don't think it should be super cheap but it did seem a bit much to me. I guess it is probably just because it is a small niche market. If they sold as many as they do Xboxes or PS2s I guess they would be much less.
I am still looking at options. I am a noob, and nothing has struck me as "the one" yet.
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Reply to
DaveC
Maybe I should just scour the 'net for an old Hero2000 to buy? Do you think that would be a good idea? I think I know of one I could get for around $2000. It seems like the perfect platform and it has an arm. While the CPU is a bit dated, boards can be added to do other things. I wonder how hard it would be to hack a new brain into the bus of that robot? The main older CPU would then just become a controller for the new brain on the card.
As far as the other ones that I have seen, many of the affordable ones seem to be simple line tracers and wall followers. I would like to add in much more functionality but I could not even begin to create such a complex firmware. I am a machine designer with much experience in 3D CAD so I could design the body. I also have made many things using industrial laser equipment to cut out sheet metal parts. So mechanically I am ok. It is the software portion and electronics that I am lacking. I can solder all day and night but to come up with the right circuitry and software to add a feature like voice rec is well beyond my scope.
The number one thing on my list that my bot MUST have is simple voice command input ability, and speech output.
What to do.
very
Reply to
DaveC
Ok so it is true, you need to be a software and electrical engineer to do these things? Isn't there anything in between a pile of parts that you have to completely write all of the low level code for, and the pre-done toy ones like AIBO?
Reply to
DaveC
Well buying a Hero 2000 may be tough, they are something of a nostalgia thing and a lot of people will fight you for it. I would suggest looking to see if there is a robotics club in your area. get with them and simpy build your own. You get to learn a lot, engineer some, design some, and have a lot of fun building it. When you are ready, voice recognition hardware isn't all that difficult, but the software can be a bear. What you use depends on the MCU and or CPU you ultimately use, and your hardware. Probably the most practical approach is to use a MCU to control the lower level functions like motor control and object sensors and things. Then use something like a VIA mini-ITX running Windows or Linux to do the higher level functions. Then voice control is using the software on the main board which would be a lot easier, as a lot of it is (more or less) off the shelf at that point.
Reply to
Earl Bollinger

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