Let's Make Robots!

Beagleboard - Arduino hybrid robot

Powerful union of a Beagleboard and Arduino to navigate using computer vision from a webcam
P1010480.jpg132.26 KB

The Beagle-Arduino robot will use a Beagleboard for high-level robot functions:
  • image processing
  • artificial intelligence
  • speech synthesis
  • voice recognition
  • internet connectivity
And an Arduino for low-level functions:
  • motor / servo control
  • sensor input & output
  • battery monitoring

The two microcontrollers will be connected by USB, along with a USB webcam mounted on a servo pan/tilt mechanism, and a USB wifi dongle for internet connectivity. Basic tank treads will provide movement, possible being replaced by servo-based legs for a humanoid or dog form.

It's a work-in-progress at the moment.  I've got the tracked base running with the Arduino using the Ardumoto controller, and I've got a webcam and USB wifi working with the Beagleboard.  More details on my build log at: http://mechomaniac.com/robots


Update (2009-10-04)

I've now got the Beagleboard talking to the Arduino by serial, so that it can control the motors and servos.  I've started to experiment with some computer vision, identifying and tracking a pink ball from an Aibo.  See http://mechomaniac.com/node/72 for details.


There pictures form the webcam seem to be delayed by about 2 seconds which makes the tracking a bit odd, and only the pan servo is connected (I need to extend the cable for the tilt servo), but the Beagleboard does seem to have enough performance for image processing.


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Don't forget to add your updates in the project area. Also, did you mount the motherboard yet, as in is it still "floating" on the wood?
Thanks, I've moved my update into the main text.  I have to keep taking the Beagleboard off to use for another project, so it's still just floating, though seems to stay in place fairly well.  The USB hub is attached to the side with double sided tape.
*update moved to top of page*
I'll have a Rev C3 BeagleBoard this week! I'm planning to use two Arduino type boards for some motor control and sensor processing, and the Beagle will be the master controller.

What power source does it use? 

I'm still working on the power source...  For now, I'm using a 6V (4 * AA batteries) pack to drive the motors and servos, and a 12V 2AH NiMh pack for everything else.  The NiMh pack is old though and seems to have lost too much capacity, so I may move to a 7.2V pack for everything.  The electronics are run from a 5V switchmode DC to DC converter.
Nice! I guess this is the first robot I see using a Beagleboard!! It looks very promising!
Keep it going, because I will look forward to see more progress!! ;)

Good to see another LMRite from down under ^^b

Also cool robot! Was there a specific reason you chose the playstation cam over others, or was it just on hand?

Thanks :) I wish Robot parts were easier and cheaper to get here in Australia though...

There are a lot of good aspects to the Playstation Eye, my artcile here describes them: http://mechomaniac.com/node/32

 They include:

  • low cost (US$40)
  • high-framerate uncompressed video
  • good low-light performance (it's designed for observing people in front of a tv)
  • built-in array microphone
  • cross-platform driver support

This camera is now fairly popular for hacking, with people using it for augmented reality and multitouch projects: http://createdigitalmotion.com/2009/08/06/trick-out-your-ps3-eye-webcam-best-cam-for-vision-augmented-reality/


I saw some OpenCV pictures of code on your site.  I love opencv - will you be sending the pictures to a computer?  I don't know many micro-controllers that can preform "much" meaningful processing on a image stream.

Great work.

Keep it up !