Let's Make Robots!

LMR ROS platform

What is ROS

Here is a list of robots running ROS

I think it would be great if we could make a minimalistic, cheap, easy reproducable, simple robot running on ROS. Something to get people started with ROS, as the isolated and primary goal.

If any one out there is up for that challenge, let me know, and I'll support by such things as getting it in the menus of LMR, perhaps make videos about it, and get it on the official ROS pages, maybe turn it into a "start here" tutorial etc.

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We haven't used it with ROS yet, but it is on the list of our objectives and I don't think it would be difficult.

It is based on an arduino UNO, has motors with encoders, bumpers, IR ground sensors, RGB LEDs, a I2C bus to connect anything you want and can carry any portable computer on it :)

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/29294 

I've readed a bit about ROS. I had the intention of running ROS for cr4 (my "work in progress" robot). My opinion is that ROS have a step learning curve and needs some signifiant processing power just for the basics. I really doubt that a single core processor will perform decently for a ROS based robot without doing some processing tasks outside the main processor.

A good "low cost" example of ROS driven robot is the TurtleBot and going this way I think the minimum price will be over 600 Euros not considering the time involved in building and programming the robot, so "minimalistic, cheap, easy reproductible, simple" can be done except "cheap".

An appealing platform must have a good battery (Lithium based), a charger base, efficient motors with a good motor controller and driver software for ROS and a power supply for sensors. I would add a microcontroller based main board for communication with the computer, motor driver, charger base and sensors (actually this is a part of cr4's intended architecture).

My thoughts are this:

- Custom platform with encoders.

- Arduino/picaxe for interfacing with H-bridge/encoders/servos/sensors.

- Something like a http://www.raspberrypi.org/ for a controller maybe?

- And a Kinect (or a wiidar maybe?) for a sensor.

Rasberry pi was the first thing I thought of as well....and it's almost here!

I skimmed through the robots running ROS. My impression is that we need:

- a mobile platform with encoders

- an interface with the computer

- a computer running Ubuntu or other Linux flavor

- expensive range sensors (Hokuyo Laser, Kinect, etc)

Most people used a Create as the mobile base, an Arduino as interface with sensors and computer, a EeePC as the brain and a Kinect sensor. 

I think that we might be able to do it cheaper with any mobile base that has motors with encoders, bumper sensors, a wireless interface with a remote computer and a WiiDAR sensor (CtC's Wii cam board plus a laser on a pan/tilt setup). A wireless camera is an added bonus (just use the tiny cameras plus receiver connected to the computer). 

Personally I have a Roomba with one of my uServotino boards hooked up to the Chumby as the brain. A webcam, an EZ1 ultrasonic sensor on the pan/tilt head so far. But I plan on making a WiiDAR. Running MRL at the moment (thank you GroG for your support!), which gets closer to what ROS does. I added an arm to the setup, with the servos connected to the uServotino. I am waiting for the uBEC to arrive and some beefier servos for the arm to make it work.