Let's Make Robots!

Pololu Orangutan X2

Hi all,

 I want to build a small robot, and wan to ask you if anyone have ever used the Orangutan x2 controller http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/720 I see that lots of people are using the PIC controllers, but I don't wanna use these, they require windows and expensive compilers. I'd rather work with linux and program in C/C++

If anyone have used it before, is the orangutan easy to use? can i connect a camera to it without many troubles?

 Also can you suggest a cheap camera that I could use with my robot? 


Thanks a lot

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As a builder who has a used a camera with an AVR, I have this to say: don't bother. Once you get to really using a camera, any of the solutions out there are probably going to frustrate you. The Surveyor model above, by itself, would be a good option. On the other hand, if you are really serious about doing vision with a robot (which is a really, really hard problem), then you might as well be prepared to pony up and just mount a webcam on a laptop and go from there....

Seriously, it took me about 2 months to get XRB3 up and running with an AVRcam. On the other hand, my latest bot is using a dell mini inspiron and a webcam, and it took all of 20 minutes to get it running - plus I can use open source vision libraries that far outweigh anything you find for smaller cameras. It's just a matter of data throughput, you can't move enough data through an AVR to be effective. 


the laptop idea sounds interesting ... the problem though is that the laptop is gonna be big and won't be able to get a small robot..

 I'm aware of the intrinsic difficulites with vision algorithms, but I believe that the excitement and potential applications are stronger than the frustration! 

I just want to small sized robot, no bigger than 1:10 RC car that i can put a camera on and navigate an unknown environment using vision only. 


but that seems pretty complex!! what about a nono itx? I think that will get very expensive quickly!