Author Topic: Need help choosing the brain for my robot  (Read 985 times)

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Offline rar00Topic starter

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Need help choosing the brain for my robot
« on: December 11, 2011, 09:53:23 PM »
Hi guys,

i'm working in a project to build a robot (still in the planning phase) and i would need help choosing a good "brain" for my future robot.

This is the hardware i plan to use:

- 25x servos
- 1x 720p HD webcam
- A bunch of sensors :P (GPS, gyro, accelerometer, temperature, humidity, microphone, sonar, speaker, etc, etc... i'll put a lot of useless sensors lol), around 10-15.
- lcd screen or similar (around the size of a psp screen)
- Wifi

Software features that i want to put in it:

- Voice recognition
- Facial recognition
- Autonomous navigation
- Image processing (otherwise can't recognize my face right? ^^)
(also motion detection but that is included on the above i think)
- Some voice speaking
- and some other stuff

The thing is, i want my robot to have the power he needs to do the things above without having to be connected to an external computer.
On the other hand carrying a laptop on him is not possible. :/

I saw the current microcontrollers available and Axon II can apparently handle all the servos and sensors but don't think they have enough power to run the applications. On the other hand i saw some mini computer boards (like those from ITX) but well, don't know which to choose and the most important, how to connect the servos and sensors.

So my questions are:

- To be able to have all the above features, should have get a small computer board or just a microcontroller like Axon II?

- If so, should i get one with 0.25-1Ghz + 0.5-1gb ram or i need to get something more powerful like +1Ghz, +2Gb ram?

- Using that type of "brain" how can i connect the servos and sensors?


Offline rbtying

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Re: Need help choosing the brain for my robot
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 12:32:28 AM »
For what you want to do, you'll need a mini- or pico- ITX board (or anything with a fast CPU that can run a full OS, really), as well as a microcontroller for handling the low level stuff.

If you can fit a mini-ITX board, you can probably fit a netbook--and then you won't have to worry about having multiple power sources and the other painful things that come with making your own computer; plus, your screen will then be bigger =).

In terms of processing power, it depends on what you plan to do with it. Generally around 1GB to 2GB of RAM is plenty for this application (you might need more for 3D mapping), but the faster the CPU, the faster your bot will be able to process things. I know I've run into limitations with the netbook on my robot (1.66 GHz), and that the people over at Willow Garage have trouble with their 16-core PR2 robots as well. Figure out what you want to do, and we can help you work out what you need.

Also, I do hope you have experience in building robots, and especially in programming--this is an ambitious project, especially for a first-timer.

Offline Gertlex

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Re: Need help choosing the brain for my robot
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 02:31:12 PM »
Willow Garage is a hint in the right direction.  From what I know of similarly ambitious, recent projects, you're probably going to want to use ROS (robot operating system... I think that's what the acronym is for), which uses a full computer as the brains (typically a netbook with Linux installed). http://www.ros.org/wiki/

Offline klims

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Re: Need help choosing the brain for my robot
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 02:46:41 PM »
I think the way to go would be to get some kind of microcontroller based board to run sensors and servos, then get a pc to talk to the micro. This is the way the DARwIn-OP project works.

Fit-PC make an awesome mini-pc  (http://www.fit-pc.com/web/) if you have enough money in your budget.


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