White Box Robotics Pre-order

Dream in white .....dream on >= AUD$ 1000s

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So this means that you give them your money and then wait until NOVEMBER!!! No thanks, what is the point of letting them keep my money for all of that time. I could see if they were available next month or something, but November?!? Why so long?

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I don't see why anyone would give them any money at all.
The exterior is nice. It is a PC on wheels. They run Evolution Robotics software (vSlam, etc) But what do they do?
not much. Roving Mp3 players. "security patrol". Something you could put together for much cheaper.
Oooh. "limited edition" "hmv" Droool. So shiny. HMV. Reminds me of those huge cars they have on roads these days. "humvee" ? My neighbor's got one. I have to keep up with him.
I'll look to MLW for a PC on wheels long before I go to "white box".
Rich
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

In fact, I think the HMV is supposed to remind you of "Humvee," for whatever benefit that is. The other models of the robots, the 912 and 914, are obviously supposed to suggest the Porsche 912 and 914.
I don't think I'll buy one until he comes out with the Bonneville version.
-- Gordon
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On Fri, May 06, 2005 at 08:27:37PM -0700, Gordon McComb wrote:

I'm holding out for something a little more fuel efficient. With gas prices these days all I need is another guzzler. Do they have a Prius model?
-Brian
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Brian Dean wrote:

Yeah. It costs 20% more, the components are crowded in and Larry David's wife and all her friends are getting them. That's why production can't catch up until November.
Mitch
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You know what I find interesting about the robot, is that it attempts to be a "product" of some sort. It is very stylized and compact, very "sci-fi," but on a practical level, almost useless.
There is no prototyping area. I see no room fo adding hardware. Also, it runs Windows, which isn't even included. You'ld better off bying a laptop and adding some wheels.
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mlw wrote:

Actually it is one of the things I think is needed to revitalize this hobby.
It is a robotic platform. You can put whatever electronics and programming you want in it. They handle the motors and the mechanics.

There are, I believe, 8 5.5" bays. You can put all sorts of things in each one.
Me, I'd rather not buy one, but that's because my next robot will be built to handle my house (small, cluttered, with stairs) rather than rolling about. I've considered several designs but I need to do more research. -- D. Jay Newman http://enerd.ws/robots /
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D. Jay Newman wrote:

Really? Maybe I'm jaded, but I remember "hero" and the slew of robots of the 80s and this one seems like little more than those.
What is needed, IMHO, and seems to be happening, is that the basics need to become *very* commodity and the software to do basic movement needs to be standardized and available.
The problem all of have is this: "I have this great idea for [navigation vision|sensors|etc.] now I got to buy/build a robot." Buying a robot is not all that likely to happen because, lets face it, people like us don't buy what we can build, sometimes to absurd extremes. That leaves building.
Depending on your level of comfort with mechanics, this can be hard. Then there is the basics of motion. As well traveled as PID process control is, everyone has an implementation and they all a bit different. I have yet to see one that "feels" right. I am modifying my current implementation to be better mathematically. (I'll post it when I'm more happy with it.)
One of the things I am doing, and there are plenty of others as well, is to publish "real" "working" code that can actually be used and studied. There are so many bogus "examples" out there that are so sloppy and only marginally work.

Software, yes, but the system looks a little too small and compact, and I'm sceptical that they designed the power system to be all that expandable.

Where did you see 8 drive bays? I thought I saw "a" drive bay.

clutter and stairs, lol, the true hurdle to robots in every home.
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mlw wrote:

Aside from the fact that they're microcontrollers, what don't you like about the LM629 or JRKERR PIC-SERVO?
Mitch
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Mitch Berkson wrote:

The LM629 looks pretty cool, but it sort of demands that you build your system a specific way. For instance, I don't see a PS/2 mouse connection for my encoder. LOL.
For many applications I bet those are really great, except that they cost about $25.
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mlw wrote:

The Heathkit HERO, if you remember, was part of an educational curriculum. It was massively successful in this market, and ushered a lot of people into robotics. Even by today's standards the educational value is pretty good.
Another robot of the time, the RB5X, was and actually still is, used in schools to teach robotics. The company and its inventory was recently purchased by a friend of mine who intends to revitalize the platform, and update parts of it to make it more relevent for today. This includes PC motherboards, motors with encoders, etc.
There were some robots that were intended as pricey consumer toys, but the HERO and a few others were not among this.
The educational value of the White Box robots is unknown. It is basically a software platform for robotics. If someone doesn't like Windows, they can always dump it and put whatever they want on it. The boards are VIA mini-ITX.
This guy has a lot of money to spend. Though it's taken him forever to get to the point he is today, don't underestimate him.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

A platform for software geeks only?
I noticed mention of GUI-based robot control software. So if it doesn't come with Windows I assume it is required?
I think it should be easy to tell a robot what you want it to do otherwise it is just limited to the imagination of a few software geeks.

Will it run the GUI software mentioned on anything but Windows?
--John
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JGCASEY wrote:

????
For a minute there I thought we were living back in 2005..

I have no ideam or whether it will run under emulation. But Windows is what some 95% of people use. You can't fault them for going after the larger market. Business is business.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

What I was alluding to was the point I made to mlw, we all have different entry points.
Imagine if the only people who could write programs were assembler programmers. Instead we have HLLs that are easy to use and thus open up computer programming to a wider number of people. Innovative ideas are not limited to assembler programmers. Nor are they limited to VC++ or C++ programmers. What is the most used computer language today?
Thus in terms of how wide the users of a robot base would be is determined by how easy it is to program that base.

I think you missed what I was saying. I was responding to the statement that "you didn't have to use Windows" and I was simply pointing out that if the GUI only ran on Windows then that would not be the case.
As for Windows being the best market, of course!
If mlw's robot could be programmed by a Visual Basic programmer he would have a *very wide* market! His role would be to make his routines easy to access and use by those programmers. That was the point I have been trying to make. Just as in the old days assembler was used to extend the list of BASIC statements.
But if you limit your robot's software to a few software geeks you limit the number of people who can have a creative input to the project.
Ultimately you need to give the general public access to robot control and use English like programming.
"Robbie, could you fetch me some beer?"
-- John
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Gordon McComb wrote:

How many people run Windows on robots? Some, but certainly not the majority. This is why I think the guy isn't going to make it, he hasn't thought it out.
What you run on the robot is important, not in what people are familiar with, but what works in general. If you look at the devices we rely on, wireless routes, access points, ethernet routers and bridges, many of these are running an embedded UNIX variant or RTOS, and many of them run Linux.
It is prefectly reasonable to make GUI apps that run on your PC run on Windows, but when making an embedded device, Windows is a poor choice. I can tell you a lot of stories about Windows on Cellphones.
I would treat the robot like any other embedded device, have a web server serve the application interface (web serivces) and let the user use java if they like. That way, they never know or care what the robot runs.
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mlw wrote:

Just the opposite. For PC-based robotics most use Windows, because they simply connect up their existing Windows laptop. I've watched this trend for a long time, and you can guestimate it by looking at the various robotics gallery Web sites.

Robotics is not yet mainstream, and isn't likely to be for some time, science fiction stories notwithstanding. Linux may be preferable for a black box device, and some form of it may eventually become the de facto standard for robotics, but TODAY Windows allows a larger market share simply because it has the much larger share of desktops.
Again, these are business decisions, and plausible for a startup looking for momentum. You also forget that his design does not preclude, in any way, also supporting Linux. For all you know he may do both, but come out with the Windows version first. Or, someone else could do a Linux version, and create a cottage industry.
-- Gordon
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Gordon McComb wrote:

I'm not so sure I agree. (surprise)

I rememeber that, I would be interested in hearing more.

Yes, but they were too pretty.

That is only true if the full specifications of the devices are known and (depending on your skill level) supported on your OS of choice.

I wouldn't say I underestimate him so much as I think he digging in the wrong hole.
I've been thinking about what would be a good "consumer" robot. I think I have a good analogy. We don't need Cadalac escalades, all dressed up and pretty, we need good old-fashioned truck chassis on which we can build. The white box guy put a lot of work in the appearence.
The truck analogy really works. Look at the choice in robot chassis. If you want one ready to go, it looks like whitebox. If you want something to build on, you practically have to start from scratch. The motorhome builder doesn't have to do this, they buy a standard truck chassis that works, and bolt on their options.
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mlw wrote:

I think you're jealous that someone else is commercializing what you think is "your" idea. The fact is, this fellow announced his plans a year ago, and has been working with VIA for even longer.
Look, some people may want to build from scratch. Some people may prefer to buy a kit of parts. Some people may want to purchase something ready made, and use it as-is, or attach things to it. All these markets exist, and can co-exist.
You can't control the markets, but you can develop product that addresses those markets. That's called savvy business.
-- Gordon
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