Let's Make Robots!

Would anyone be interested in an XMOS challenge?

UPDATE: If you have a YouTube account or use YouTube, add/view our "MyXMOS" channel for latest videos and XMOS news!



The 9.9 version of the XMOS Development Tools is now available:


It is VITAL that XK-1 users use this release or above as the XK1 is not supported in previous versions.

 As for anyone else - you will probably appreciate some of the cool new features:




XMOS challenge winners are now available!


Hi everyone!

I was curious to know if anyone would be interested in participating in a challenge to make something AWESOME with a new breed of processor which is particularly great for DSP/networking/USB/motor control type applications or more basic things if that is overkill for what you want.

XMOS event driven processors allow you to execute code in parallel which could open up a number of possibilities to evolve your robots "brain" to the next level!

I have some development kits to give away potentially, but before I give away all the details, I just wanted to see if there was any interest before I add to the challenges area or such.

People have made some cool stuff with our tech before (See videos).


Some details of the processor itself which will be on the dev kit (to be released soon):


- Single core device (Although we do have quad core versions - ask me)

- 400 MIPS per core.

- 8 Threads per core.

- 64Kb RAM

- 8KBytes OTP memory for applications, boot code or security keys, with security mode

- 64 user I/O pins

- Support for high performance DSP (32 x 32 → 64bit MAC) and cryptographic functions

- Time aware ports provide up to 10ns timing resolution

- Designs implemented using a software-based design flow (can program in C or XC - very similar to C but with support for extras such as parallel execution)

- Scalable - can connect many kits together for crazy amounts of processing power using Xlinks.


For detailed spec see: http://www.xmos.com/products/xs1-l-family/l1lq128


EDIT: As there has been some interest shown and to save time later - please post below with the following info if you would like to be considered:

1) Project Title

2) Project Description

3) How many Dev Kits you think it may require (eg you may need 2 if you are demonstrating the ability of one robot using image recognition to track another for example)

4) Are you willing to keep a video/photo diary of your progress if we choose you? Please state which/both.


If anyone is interested please feel free to post below with your project ideas (and subscribe to this forum topic for updates so I can contact you nearer the release date) so I can see if there is enough interest. I hope I have posted this in the right place, if not please feel free to move this to the right part of the forum!

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It is interesting you should say around 20-30 bucks, as one of our new boards *may* be in this price point. Though it depends what bits and pieces end up on it, and the volume at which they are made (still being finalised). Your dream might come true! Watch this space!

My original post on my thoughts for uses for the xmos.

After giving it more thought.. 

I would use at least one possibly two xmos's as the actuator controls on a robot that is windows xp based. 

A mini itx board feeding commands to the xmos connect via usb to a hub.  

Xmos catches commands, and in turn interrupts the commands into physical movement.  Could also attach the robots sensors to the xmos and relay that info to the computer.

By using it in a setup like this i am able to use a wireless connection to the interent, and do all of my programming in vb or a multitude of other languages, and just send commands to an xmos or two that are doing all of the motor and sensor interaction. 

Interesting approach.

Indeed, I believe we have a UART tutorial already on how to talk to your dev kit via USB, so this should be pretty easy to set up, and then you just have the programming either end to do. Cool!

Well I had a brainstorm while chatting in the shoutbox and came up with another project. This one sounds really cool although probably more difficult to implement than the robotic planter.

Title: Undecided.

Description: Swarm AI. A central mother brain (based on the xmos dev kit). The mother is solar powered by panels on it`s back, but cannot move and has no sensors other than detecting its own battery level. Of course, the mother must find sunlight, so it can communicate wirelessly with several smaller worker bots (powered by AVRs and equipped with various sensors) which can move about the area seeking bright lights. Once a good place is found, the mother recalls all the workers who then push or pull the mother towards the light.

I`m toying with the idea now of having the mother charge all her workers, that way the whole "hive" must work together to survive. Other requirements for the mother could be added later. ie must seek darkness when people threaten her.

Kits: 1

Log: Photos and videos.

A twist on this, could be to get the robots to sun themselves up, and bring the charge back to the mother robot to charge it.

Also, if she has excess charge, she could charge visiting robots too who dock with the mother (Oh I have just realised you suggested this at the end of your post!)

Still, pretty interesting idea that is certainly do-able.


OoH thats a nice idea too! If I design the children with solar panels, it wouldn`t be hard to program it in after. Also your idea poked my brain and I came up with another variation, the children could go sun themselves but instead of having their own panels they could use a mirror to reflect the sun back to the mother.

Eh, so many ideas, what to do first..

Oh and for above, all I saw was whitespace too.

Continuing on mirrors, why not add some lasers too for good measure and some techie bonus points? haha

Maybe the mother can transmit data via laser links to the bots which have mirrors and can relay the messages on to any bots in their line of site? Might be tricky to get mirrors to align though and be more hassle than its worth (same for sunlight). Though for the sake of your eyes do not use high power lasers or else you will blind yourself whilst "debugging".

Anyhow, if you got that to work, you could then hire a smoke machine to see the lasers, and it would look awesome! haha! Showing them all linked up.

Still, I think both of these ideas should be "after thoughts", IE get the first idea you had working first, the swarm behaviour, exchanging charge/docking, sun seeking etc, and use this mirror stuff as an add on later if you have time.

EDIT: I just saw that ezekiel had the same idea. Or close to, at least. :(   Well great minds think alike, right? :D

So I was thinking- if this XMOS can handle a lot of different data at the same time- why not make my own robot general? Either the XMOS is stand-alone, just sitting on the table telling my "dumb" bots what to do with an Xbee, or it gets motors and roams the house/yard/forest/water (like, anything) with its buddies. Of course, the "buddies" would just be motor drivers, xbees, sensors, and low-end processors transmitting and recieving data from the leader. The leader, the XMOSBot, interprets the data and sends the appropriate response.


Instead of just one XMOSBot, all the bots could be intelligent (i was thinking like 2 others.) So instead of being told what to do / tell others what to do, they communicate and share "terrain maps" that they created. Then one of them would piece together the data to form one big virtual map! And so if one bot falls off a cliff, in the air it would tell the mapmaking bot to make a danger zone (before it hits the ground and needs serious repair). And then if the fallen bot's processor is still running, and it cant move (e.g. on its back) it transmits a constant stream of warning data to tell no one to go near it unless they have found a better path. And then they might try to flip it back over or call me over to help out :D. Or (more realistically) one bot finds a wall and tells the mapmaker that there is a wall.

I think this project will need a minum of one XMOS. It would just be cooler with 3, but judging by the number of entries, you probably cant afford that many.

ps: I hope the bots will have enough sensors to not fall down a cliff, eh? :D

Good to see a bit of overlap, even better for competition.

 Maybe you could both seek out sunny spots and whoever has the most advanced sharing/seeking/strategy gets the most power! Your bots could alert your other bots of where you last saw an enemy bot, and if it was in a sunny location, you might get 2 of your  bots  to come along and push it out of the way!

Just thinking out aloud here.

Either way both ideas are pretty cool.

I like the idea of having a master bot that does the processing and controls the zombie bots so to speak. 

lol, how about big shotguns? Now that would be a fight!

Nah, wouldn't want to ruin perfectly good XMOS processors! But still... :D