Wow, this little guy is cool. Check out Surveyor Corporation’s Open Source Wireless Mobile Robot . Very neat little package for just $475. While there, you might also want to check out YARB 1.0 (Yet Another Robotic Blimp) robot, also pretty neat. Here is a bit of a description according to their site:
Designed for research, education, and exploration, Surveyor’s SRV-1 internet-controlled robot integrates a 1000MIPS 500MHz Analog Devices Blackfin BF537 processor, a digital video camera with resolution from 160×128 to 1280×1024 pixels, laser pointer ranging, and WLAN 802.11b/g networking on a quad-motor tracked mobile robotic base.
Operating as a remotely-controlled webcam or a self-navigating autonomous robot, the SRV-1 can run onboard interpreted C programs or user-modified firmware, or be remotely managed from a Windows, Mac OS/X or Linux base station with Python or Java-based console software. The Java-based console software includes a built-in web server to monitor and control the SRV-1 via a web browser from anywhere in the world, as well as archive video feeds on demand or on a scheduled basis. Additional software support for the SRV-1 is also available by way of Microsoft Robotics Studio, Cyberbotic’s Webots, and RoboRealm machine vision software.
- Open Source design with full access to source code (GPL) and schematics
- Robot is fully programmable for autonomous operation
- Extensive software support through 3rd party applications
- Teleoperate mode to drive robot around via console software or remotely via web browser
- Host software has built-in web server and video archiving
- Robot can run programs written in interpreted C and stored in onboard Flash
- Wireless remote control or viewing up to 100m indoors and 1000m outdoors (line of sight)
- Robot can be controlled from a terminal/console for easy testing
- Linux 2.6 support as well as “bare metal” programming with GNU bfin-elf-gcc
- Processor: 1000mips 500MHz Analog Devices Blackfin BF537, 32MB SDRAM, 4MB Flash, JTAG
- Camera: Omnivision OV9655 1.3 megapixel 160×128 to 1280×1024 resolution
- Robot Radio: Lantronix Matchport 802.11b/g WiFi
- Range: 100m indoors, 1000m line-of-site
- Sensors: 2 laser pointers for ranging
- Drive: Tank-style treads with differential drive via four precision DC gearmotors (100:1 gear reduction)
- Speed: 20cm – 40cm per second (approx 1 foot/sec or .5 mile/hour)
- Chassis: Machined Aluminum
- Dimensions: 120mm long x 100mm wide x 80mm tall (5″ x 4″ x 3″)
- Weight: 360gm (12oz)
- Power: 7.4V 2000mAH Li-poly battery pack – 4+ hours per charge
- Charger: 100-240VAC 50/60Hz (US plug)
- Robot Firmware: easily updated, written in C language under GPL Open Source, compiled with GNU bfin-elf-gcc and bfin-uclinux-gcc toolchains
- Onboard User Programming: interpreter for C language with special robot-specific commands are provided for running user programs from onboard Flash memory
- Development Tools: GNU toolchains via http://blackfin.uclinux.org
- Console Software: Java based application, runs on Windows, MAC, Linux. WebcamSat web server module built into console software, allows multiple simultaneous remote viewers via Internet
- Robot Control Protocol: Published here. Easily used from other applications
- Third-party Software Support:
- RoboRealm – http://www.roborealm.com/help/Surveyor_SRV1.php – The SRV-1 can now be directly controlled from RoboRealm, a very popular Windows-based machine vision software package for robots. The RoboRealm extensions for SRV-1 allow creation of scripts that combine image processing on live video feeds from the robot, e.g. color filtering, blob detection/tracking, edge detection/outlining and feature extraction, with decision processing and robot motion control, making it easy to create behaviors such as object location and tracking, obstacle avoidance, motion detection, notification, etc, with a web interface, and control can be scripted from C/C++, Python, Java, C#, Lisp, Visual Basic, WScript and COM through the RoboRealm API.
- Microsoft Robotics Studio – http://www.surveyor.com/MSRS.html – Drivers for the SRV-1 in Microsoft Robotics Studio are now available. MSRS is a Windows-based environment for academic, hobbyist and commercial developers to create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. Key features and benefits include: end-to-end robotics development platform, lightweight services-oriented runtime, and a scalable / extensible platform.