We need to clear out some space in the shop to make room for all of the cool new products we’ve been bringing in. Know what that means? CLEARANCE SALE! For a limited time only (or for as long as we want to) we’ll be offering a deep discount on the VEXplorer modular robot kit. We’re selling the kit, which normally retails for $229.95, for the low, low price of $179.99 !
Here’s what you get with the VEXplorer kit:
"The Spycam" — see and hear what you want, and maybe in places you shouldn’t, with live color picture and sound transmission to your TV. 2.4 GHz, 4-channel. Range 150′.
"The Claw" — build it to pick up a soda can, or a feather. Mount it horizontal or vertical to grab what you want. Great for terrorizing your pets!
"The Arm" — servo motors let you manipulate the action to reach high, low, and in-between.
All Terrain Tires — Go anywhere, inside or outside, with six heavy-duty, gear-driven wheels.
6-channel hobby-class transmitter — 4 analog and 2 digital channels offer maximum flexibility to control servos and provide exceptional stability to avoid frequency drift.
Ok, this is just too damn cool. The Surveyor crew have integrated the SRV-1 controller with a quad-rotor helicopter.
The heli, called "X-3D-BL Scientific," is from a German company called Ascending Technologies GmbH. I knew it was easy to use the SRV-1 controller for other wheeled vehicles, but seeing it on a UAV is pretty exciting. They don’t have too much info up yet, but it sounds promising. Here’s a video of the aircraft (without SRV-1 controller) in action:
The immensely popular Surveyor SRV-1 has just received some major upgrades! The tracked base remains unchanged, but the electronics have gotten a complete overhaul. Wi-Fi has replaced the slow and sometimes unreliable ZigBee wireless link, the camera can now grab video at a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024, an Analog Devices Blackfin processor has replaced the comparatively puny ARM7 processor, and they've even added laser pointers for distance sensing.
The SRV-1 now benefits from the extended range and faster data rates of Wi-Fi. All you need is an 802.11 b/g wireless LAN card and you're ready to start spying on the neighbors.
Speaking of spying on your neighbors, this 1.3 Megapixel camera is roughly on par with most cell phone cameras, with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024. Unlike your cell phone camera, this one’s going to be riding on tank treads.
Here it is, fully assembled. The red board on top carries the 1000MIPS 500MHz Analog Devices Blackfin BF537 processor. [Editor's note: When I was 17, I built my first computer around the 500MHz Pentium, which was the top of the line at the time. Now you can get all that power on a circuit board that's smaller than a playing card. Crazy, huh?]
Fact: lasers make anything cooler. The new SRV-1 uses two parallel lasers as a low-cost range-finding system. Try not to blind your friends/family members/pets.
No keyboard or mouse needed! Teach your robot what to do by using motions and gestures.
Skilligent is taking a new approach to the area of human robot interactions, their press release explains:
Skilligent Robot Learning and Behavior Control System is a software product which enables robots to learn procedures and skills directly from human users. The product is a set of software components specifically designed for straightforward integration into control loops of PC-controlled robots.
The software needs to be integrated with sensors, motors, actuators and robotâ€™s control system via a set of open APIs. On one side, the software controls every motion of the robot. On the other side, the software uses a video camera, a microphone and other sensors to receive guidance from a human user.
The software analyzes humanâ€™s gestures, looks at the objects presented by the user, listens to the sounds and tries to guess what robot is supposed to do.
Through trial and error, the robot understands what needs to be done and associates learned behaviors with stimuli used by the human. Over a few training sessions, the robot refines its understanding of the domain, the procedures and skills required to serve the user.
Robot Learning Technology is especially useful in the following domains:
1. Industrial/service robots for small and medium sized businesses
2. Defense and law enforcement
3. Health-care and Elder-care robots
4. Research and Education robotics
Skilligent is currently seeking partnerships for further sales and distribution of their software packages. Interested parties can contact them through their website.
Skilligent LLC is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operates an off-shore research and development center.