Archive for October 5th, 2006

Strabo Pathfinder Navigation Software

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Strabo Pathfinder

The Strabo software sounds like a good low cost starter navigation module for PC Robotics developers. The navigation software works by having a preloaded map of the room and all obstacles. The robot keeps track of where it is on the map and makes request calls on how to navigate to other areas of the map. The software will automatically plot the best course from the current position to the desired position and return the path as a series of instructions.

Key features:

Runs as Network Server – Strabo Pathfinderâ„¢ is a network server that accepts HTTP calls written in any language that supports TCP/IP protocols.

Completely Scalable – Maps range in size from 100 to 500 tiles on a side. Users define the legend size, the tiles can be 1 inch, 1 meter or 1 foot for example.

Operate Remotely or Locally – Strabo Pathfinderâ„¢ runs on a Windows computer. If your robot supports windows, Strabo Pathfinderâ„¢, can run directly on it. Otherwise, install it on a network server and connect to it using WI-FI, Bluetooth or any other wireless communications system.

SLAM – Strabo Pathfinderâ„¢ supports Simultaneous Location And Mapping for creating maps in real time and helping the robot find it’s current location using input from ultrasonic or infrared range finders. If you’re using image recognition software, you can enhance the localization capabilities by marking the know locations of objects and using an on board camera to recognize these objects.

Server: Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98
Client: Wireless tcp/ip if not run locally

Strabo Pathfinderâ„¢ can be found here at Fusion Robotics.
Trossen Robotics has no affiliation with Fusion Robotics and has not reviewed or tested this software. We make no claims to the quality of the software and only provide this post for it’s informational value. If anyone has reviewed the software please feel free to post a comment about it here or in the forums under the navigation section.

RoboDevelopment Announced December 12-13

Thursday, October 5th, 2006


The new RoboDevelopment conference has been announced by Robotics Trends. It will be held in Santa Clara, CA on December 12-13. We here at Trossen Robotics don’t mind being dragged out to California in the middle of December :) It get’s pretty cold in Chicago around that time. Matt and Alex plan on attending so you can say hello if you see us out there.

From the RoboDevelopment Website:

Robotics Trends’ RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition is a multifaceted educational forum and trade show dedicated to addressing the technical issues involved with the design and development of commercial robotic products.

The RoboDevelopment exposition hall provides attendees with hands on access to the latest design and development solutions for producing mobile robotics and intelligent systems technology, while the RoboDevelopment keynotes and general sessions are specifically designed to impart to technical professionals with the information they need to develop the next generation of personal, service and mobile robots. Tracks in the RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition include:

* Design, Development and Standards
* Tools and Platforms
* Enabling Technology

USB Missile Launcher

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

USB Missile Launcher

This is nothing new, I’m sure you have all seen the USB Missile Launcher by now. However, this little office toy really got me thinking. An accurate rocket launcher is a great robotics challenge. The goal would be to identify and hit a target. This could be a personal project or even a school related project. Using a webcam with software a developer could recognize moving objects (like a co-worker) and track them with a missile launcher then try to hit them.

Unfortunatly, if you watch the videos of this product it is very slow and the missile lack any real accuracy or range. I think this project would have to be built using another missile system. However, the concept still remains the same. I’m sure there are lot’s of toy missile launchers out there which are better than this one which could be hacked and mounted onto a regular pan & tilt system. (See our selection here) Something like the Phidget 0/0/4 could be used to trigger a hacked toy missile launcher.

The vision recognition software is the tricky part, but I’ll give everyone an insider leak, we will have this software for sale or even possibly free beta testing this winter. Shhhhhh! 😉 (The software will use a regular Pc and webcam for a whole range of vision recognition capabilities at a very affordable price) I look forward to seeing what kind of fun missile systems people can build using PC based robotics!

Matt Trossen