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Institute for Personal Robots in Education

Kickoff Meeting, September 15, 2006

Hardware

Professor Tucker Balch
Keith O’Hara
Dan Walker
Ben Axelrod
Hai Dai
Can Envarli

Georgia Institute of
Technology
Off-the-shelf Candidates

• Lego Mindstorm NXT ($300)
• Parallax Scribbler ($80)
• Parallax Boebot ($150)
• Parallax Crawlers ($400-600)
• Palm Pilot Robot Kit ($300)
• Lego Mindstorm ($200)
• Handyboard ($300-400)
• Handyboard Cricket ($59-$100)
• iRobot Roomba ($200-350)
• Khepera ($2000)
• TERK
• Humanoids
• AIBO

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Technology
Some Details

• Lego Mindstorms NXT ($300)
– 32-bit ARM7; 64Kb RAM; bluetooth; USB
– 3 servos (built in rotation sensors)
– Ultrasonic, Sound, light and touch sensors
(digital wire interface)
– Microsoft robotics studio
• Palm Pilot Robot Kit (Acroname $300)
– (IR rangers, omni-directional wheels)
• Body-less Handyboard Cricket ($59)
– Two sensors, Two Motors, IR communication
– Programmed in Logo (4k external memory)
– Expansion ports for mores sensors and motors

Georgia Institute of
Technology
iRobot Roomba

• Roomba ($150-250)
– 2 bump sensors
– Odometery
– IR wall sensor on right side
– Cliff/pickup sensors
– Virtual wall infrared sensor
– Remote control infrared sensor
– Vacuum and motor control
– Serial interface
• Roombadevtools Bluetooth
Interface ($100)

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Scribbler

• Scribbler ($80)
– Sensors
• IR “ranger”; 2 receivers and emitter
• Stall sensor
• 3 light
• 2 “line” (IR pairs)
– 2 DC motors
– Programmed in PBasic
– Serial communication (up to 38400
baud)
– SD202 Bluetooth adapter ($100)
• Serial emulation
• Class 1

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Technology
Brain-less Bluetooth Robots?

• 2 Windows XP SP2 dell laptops
• 2 Cellink Bluetooth 2.0 USB Dongles
• Measure latency of varying size
forward packets and 1 byte reply
• 3 different conditions
– 5 ft. separation
– 30 ft. separation
– Background 802.11b flood ping
• 10,000 samples

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Bluetooth Latency

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Bluetooth Throughput

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Scribbler Results

• Latency histogram
– (1 byte roundtrip)
• Limited by serial
baud-rate and basic
stamp not
bluetooth
• Interference and
retransmissions
could have effect

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Locomotion

 Holonomic design
 Arbitrary robot
translation / rotation
 No caster needed
 Three wheel drive is
complex
 Wheels are difficult to
make
 Differential drive
 Point turn

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Processor Options
 Philips 32bit ARM $7.58
 60MHz 46 GPIO
 16 kB RAM, 256 kB program memory (32x GNAT)
 Philips 32bit ARM $10.09
 60MHz 81 GPIO
 64 kB RAM, 1000 kB program memory (128x GNAT)
 BGA package complicates routing
 Philips 32bit ARM $15.18
 60MHz
 512 kB RAM, 8000 kB program memory (1000x GNAT)
 External memory (program flash, RAM)
 Sharp 32bit ARM $26.49
 77MHz
 8000 kB RAM, 8000 kB program memory (1000x GNAT)
 External memory (program flash + SDRAM)
 Includes Memory Management Unit (Fully linux capable)

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Wireless Options

 Custom protocol 400MHz 64 kbps $5.04
 Zigbee 900MHz 250 kbps $7.14
 Bluetooth module 2.4GHz 3Mbps $23.00
 Bluetooth chip 2.4GHz 3Mbps $5.52

Custom Zigbee Bluetooth Mod. Bluetooth Chip

Frequency +1 0 -1 -1

Datarate -1 0 +1 +1

Cost 0 0 -1 0

Widespread -1 0 +1 +1

Difficulty -1 0 +1 -1

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Bluetooth Options
 Serial Port Module
 Expensive
 Chip
 Cheaper
 More flexible
 Not limited to serial port style
 Use “headset” audio features
 CSR
 External flash memory allows custom programming
 Onboard micro can run upper Bluetooth stack or our own
applications
 Reduced datarate and total connections
 GaTech (Thad) already has purchased development kit
 Interface: serial port profile (high level), RFCOMM, L2CAP
(low level)

Georgia Institute of
Technology
First Tier Sensors

 Lidar laser range finder / bar code reader
 One spinning mirror, laser and detector for both
technologies
 640x480 color CMOS camera with lense
(OV7649)
 Coprocessor for color segmentation,
background subtraction
 $18
 Dual axis magnetometer (HMC1052)
 Non-line-of-sight bearing to magnetic beacon,
compass
 $5.50
 Microphones for sound localization
 Are dual microphones worth cost & processing?
 Dual piezoelectric vibration detector
 $0.49
 Temperature

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Second Tier Sensors

 Photoresistor, solar cell, phototransistor ambient light
detector
 Hall-effect magnetic sensor
 IR line detector, obstacle detector, Sharp rangers
 IR reflective grid for localization
 Bump switches
 Accelerometer for motion detection, bump sense ($5.51)
 Ultrasonic
 Capacitive electric field sensing (touch, proximity)
 Passive IR motion detector (burglar alarm)
 Optical computer mouse sensor for odometry
 Metal detector
 Thermopile non-contact temperature sensing

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Lidar Circuit
 -126 dB laser power return over 10m w/ 1” receiver lense
 1mW laser -> 0.3 nA photocurrent

Georgia Institute of
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Lidar Spice Simulation

 Phase detector compares received signal with reference signal
 Robust to the presence of noise
 Output is DC signal - sensor bandwidth determined by output filter
 Output is logarithmically amplified to increase dynamic range

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Motor Options – DC Gearhead

 DC Gearhead Pros  DC Gearhead Cons
 Widely available  The gears are more
 Simple driver electronics expensive than the
motor
 Medium efficiency
 Poor reliability in our
 Brushes automatically
price range – plastic
adjust speed and current
parts, brushes, bad
draw to match requested
bearings, etc
torque
 No encoder and
 Current draw is a good
expensive to add
indicator of requested
encoder
torque – “stall sensor”
 Brushes cause high
electromagnetic noise
levels which interfere
with other electronics,
especially sensors
 Acoustically noisy

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Motor Options – Stepper Motor

 Stepper Motor Pros  Stepper Motor Cons
 Naturally low speed, high  Low efficiency
torque – no gears  Heavy
necessary  More complex
 Controllable in precise electronics
rotational increments – no  Electrically commutated
encoder necessary – software must do the
 High reliability – metal job of brushes in the DC
construction, ball bearings, gearhead
no brushes to wear out  Motor cannot deliver
 Motor bearing can be high torque at high RPM
wheel bearing so software must slow
motor if high torque is
 No brushes means low
required
electromagnetic noise  Hard to predict torque
 Higher power (RPM or
torque) than DC gearhead

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Power Options – Alkaline,
Tether
 Alkaline Pros  Alkaline Cons
 Medium power density  Not rechargable
 Medium energy density  ~ 10K batteries
landfilled per year
 Student purchasable
 Only available in
 Not including rechargable
common form factors
batteries reduces price of
(AA, AAA, etc)
robot for us

 Tethered Pros  Tethered Cons
 Medium power density  Tether interferes with
 Infinite energy density robot operation
 Cheapest solution  Tether annoyance
increases with number of
 Most reliable
robots deployed
communications

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Technology
Power Options – NiMH, NiCd,
Lithium
 NiMH, NiCd Pros  NiMH, NiCd Cons
 Cheapest rechargeable  Low power density
option  Low energy density

 Lithium Pros  Lithium Cons
 High energy density  Expensive
 Least weight  Low power density
 Complicated charging

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Battery Options – Lead Acid

 Lead Acid Pros  Lead Acid Cons
 Highest power density  Heavy
 Low internal resistance  Must not be allowed to
means less motor completely discharge or
generated
battery capacity will
electromagnetic
interference
suffer
 Will retain charge for 2
 High energy density
years

Georgia Institute of
Technology
Example Budget

• Processing: $15.18
• Wireless: $13.30
• 3 Motors & motor drivers: $33.35
• Lidar: $20.68
• Camera: $9.43
• Additional sensors: $8.94
• Battery: $14.01
• Manufacturing: $20.00

• Total: $134.89

Georgia Institute of
Technology