Tag Archives: Robots

Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier is an AI Computer boasting a $10,000 Worth Of Power For Your Machines and Robots

NVIDIA Jetson Xavier is the latest addition to the Jetson platform. It’s an AI computer for autonomous machines, delivering the performance of a GPU workstation in an embedded module for a consumption under 30W. With multiple operating modes at 10W, 15W, and 30W, Jetson Xavier has greater than 10x the energy efficiency and more than 20x the performance of its predecessor, the Jetson TX2.

Nvidia Jetson Xavier Computer On Module
Nvidia Jetson Xavier CoM

Jetson is a product of Nvidia (Nvidia Jetson) and one of the most powerful embedded platforms for computer vision applications and AI on edge. The Jetson platform is a range of computation processor boards which consists of the Jetson TK1, TX1, and TX2. They’re powered by a Nvidia Tegra which utilizes the ARM Central Processing Unit (CPU). Various operating systems can run on them, such as Linux distros and QNX which is a commercial Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) designed primarily for embedded systems. Nvidia is adding now a new more powerful member to the Jetson Platform.

Nvidia is very excited to announce the release of Jetson Xavier, an Artificial Intelligence computer that works with autonomous machines giving off a GPU workstation in an embedded module and now available in a Jetson Xavier Developer Kit $1299 (USD). It has a super high performance of close to 30 trillion operations per second (TOPS).

The Nvidia Jetson Xavier Developer Kit
Jetson Xavier Developer Kit

Jetson Xavier is designed for robots, drones and other autonomous machines that need maximum compute at the edge to run modern AI workloads and solve problems in manufacturing, logistics, retail, service, agriculture and more. Jetson Xavier is also suitable for smart city applications and portable medical devices. Launched at Computex 2018 in Taiwan by Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, the Nvidia Isaac Platform includes new hardware, software, and a virtual-world robot simulator that makes it easy for developers to create new kinds of robots.

Jensen Huang said at Nvidia’s Monday press conference at Computex in Taiwan,

This is the single longest processor project we have ever done in our company, Xavier has roughly the same processing power as a $10,000 workstation equipped with a graphics processing units. Plus, it’s easy on the power consumption, he added.

Jetson Xavier is capable of more than 30 TOPS (trillion operations per second) for deep learning and computer vision tasks. The 512-core Volta GPU with support for Tensor Cores and mixed-precision compute is capable of up to 10 TFLOPS FP16 and 20 TOPS INT8. Jetson Xavier’s dual NVDLA engines are capable of up to 5 TOPS each. It also has high-performance eight-core ARM64 CPU, a dedicated image processor, a video processor and a vision processor for accelerating computer vision tasks.

It also announced an “Isaac” software development platform for robots and other autonomous machines that run on its Linux-friendly octa-core “Jetson Xavier” module. The NVIDIA Isaac Software Development Kit (SDK) gives you a comprehensive set of frameworks, tools, APIs, and libraries to accelerate development of robotics algorithms and software.

The Isaac robotics software consists of:

  • Isaac SDK — a collection of APIs and tools to develop robotics algorithm software and runtime framework with fully accelerated libraries
  • Isaac IMX — Isaac Intelligent Machine Acceleration applications, a collection of NVIDIA-developed robotics algorithm software
  • Isaac Sim — a highly realistic virtual simulation environment for developers to train autonomous machines and perform hardware-in-the-loop testing with Jetson Xavier

The Jetson Xavier Developer Kit will be available for early access in August and open to the public in October. Developers using a Jetson TX2 or TX1 to develop autonomous machines using the JetPack SDK can sign up to be notified when they can apply for early access by completing a survey. More information may be found in the Xavier product page.

IQ Motor Module – An Integrated Motor With A Closed Loop Controller And Position Sensor

The drone industry is booming, and the technology is just… cool, to put it plainly. Flying robots, many of which are completely autonomous delivering our goods and also spying on us. Makers and hobbyist are getting on the bandwagon, making their customized drones with available parts. With the boom of UAV (Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle) and Drone technology also comes the growth of issues.

IQ Motion Module

Electric motors are one of the most fundamental parts of electric based flying objects like drones. Drones usually use brushless DC paired with an ESC (electronic speed control) unit for speed regulation and a possible flight controller for position handling. Building your own drone either for the fun of it or a special purpose means you have to go through the hurdle of selecting the Motors, ESC, controller etc. You also have to choose which strength to prioritize and not to mention of potential compatibility or over/under powering issues. But with IQ Motor Module, you don’t have to worry about all those. The drone industry has relied on hobby-grade motors and controllers for too long. Now, IQ is bringing advanced motor control to the drone industry and other robotics fields at an affordable price.

The IQ Motor Module from IQ Motion Control is an integrated motor and controller with an embedded position sensor that is designed to change some of the challenges faced with drone, flying object set up by combining all of those capabilities (motor, electronic speed control, controller, position sensing) into a single versatile unit. The module is made up of three major components: a brushless DC motor, a motor controller, and a position sensor. With position-sensing and advanced calibration and control algorithms, IQ can optimize motor performance and give users unprecedented control over their vehicles and machines.

The IQ module provides serial communication interface as well as standard hobby protocols making it widely compatible with the possible vehicle and drone design. It also comes with some features built in like, a 40 ms response time, over-current protection, active freewheeling, anti-cogging, mo delay with zero crossing, jitter-free startup, regenerative and active braking, and many others. The velocity and position control is based on a tunable PID + Feed Forward control.

The controller is built on a 32-bit 64 MHz Arm Cortex MCU and has two firmware options, a high-speed module, and a precision module both in a 2306 size. The high-speed module provides a constant rpm of 2200 KV, and the precision module a constant rpm of 220 KV. Both motor will have an estimated peak current of 30 A and estimated peak voltage of 25.2 V. The speed firmware is specially designed to drive propellers or any application with a target velocities. A position firmware for precision is useful for 3D printers, robots, and machine tools. The firmware can be reflashed at any time by the user, so you can always reuse your IQ Motor Modules. It comes with a power and efficiency boost; Sinusoidal commutation to give a 20% increase in battery life and Trapezoidal commutation to provide about 4.8% more shaft power.

The IQ Motor Module is suitable for a wide variety of applications including consumer and enterprise drones, as well as many other robotic projects. The new IQ Motor Module will offer “unparalleled performance.” You can back the Crowd Supply campaign until May 10th, and a single IQ Motor Module will cost you $80, or $305 for a pack of four. Orders will be shipped in September 2018.

Robby – A Simple and Powerful Robot to Learn Electronics and Programming

Robby Robot

Over the years we have seen a significant interest in people wanting to learn electronics and programming but are mostly handicapped with what they could build. Over time, learning has been proven to be more reliable when learning is more practical, and we can quickly grasp the concept if one is seeing what he or she is building in real-time and promptly learn why it works the way it works.

Lego Education robotics which has been around for a while, has allowed students to become active leaders in their education as they build everything from animals for a robotic zoo to robots that play children’s games. Lego has been tremendous, and it has quite helped students grasped the concept of engineering and programming, but one of the significant drawbacks with Lego is; it has not been fully developed for the makers open source movement and also comes with a high-cost price, unlike some Arduino based development environments.

The Arduino has caused a revolution in bringing artists into the world of robotics. It has spawned numerous offshoots from very small to wearable processors. Building something with Arduino requires some necessary electronic circuity skills and basic programming which sometimes could be intimidating for the complete novice. Robby from Mr. Robotics is a new education robot for anyone interested in learning more about robotics while also learning about robotics and programming. Robby is based on the Arduino ecosystem.

The team from Mr. Robotics based in Lille, France are crowdfunding their new educational robot called Robby, a tool to learn electronics and programming while having fun. The team at Mr. Robotics believe in this technologically advancing world, everyone should have the opportunity to be imaginative and use it for creation and development. That will need to provide the enabling environment for grooming interest in programming while cultivating natural curiosity, Robby could be the tool to bridge those gaps.

“The creativity is the intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

ROBBY robot is entirely hackable and adaptable with Plug & Play modules for any design scenario. So, today you can design to plug in a particular sensor and decide tomorrow you want another sensor in that position. Just unplug and plug back. The robot kit is fully programmable and allows you to add your own modules and sensors as well as choose your own architecture providing an open source scalable system complete with plug and play sensors. The robot kit is ideal for educational applications as well as keen hobbyists and makers.

At the heart of Robby is the ARM Cortex-M4F 32-bit microcontroller running up to 120 Mhz, and comes with three 12V DC precise motors and incremental encoders for direction, position and speed measurement. It includes a 12V extra Lipo 3S battery, Wi-Fi, USB and Bluetooth, buzzer and an open chassis for adding modules, sensors, components, and breadboard. Robby can be programmed with Blocky (graphical drag and drop block like programming) and with the Arduino IDE.

The Robby Robot is available to back via Kickstarter with pledges starting from €179 for the starter kit, €199 for the Explorer Kit, and €289 for the Creator kit. Mr. Robotics is offering the option of personalized kits costing up to €550 and some other customized packages. If Robby is successfully funded, worldwide shipping is expected to take place during August 2018.

More information about Robby can be found on their website here and their Kickstarter campaign.

Pulurobot – An Open Source Heavy Load Bearing Application Robot Powered by the Raspberry Pi

If you have seen the starship delivery robots by Starship Technologies, you will know how cool delivery robot can be. Pulurobotics have released a set of low-cost opensource robots that are capable of carrying heavy loads and can be reconfigured to do several tasks.

Pulurobots
Pulurobots

Application robots are robots that can be configured to do several tasks. The Finish based company Pulurobotics have launched the Pulu set of robots called Pulurobots. Just like the way we have the Starship robot and other delivery robot, Pulurobots are low cost (low cost as compared to other robots), load bearing (can carry a payload of over 100kg), and are autonomous robots. Pulurobot can be used as – a delivery boy, a recycle bin, a nightguard, telepresence, shopping carrier, and many more.

The Affordable autonomous open source mobile robot is set to be published at Fosdem 2018, at the ULB Solbosch Campus in Belgium on Sunday 4th February 2018. At the heart of pulurobots is the Raspberry Pi, it needs one Raspberry Pi for navigation and communication with RobotBoard but can feed up to five Raspberries if you need more power or multiple Operating Systems to your application. The robot does Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), charges automatically and fulfills the definition of an autonomous mobile robot.

Pulurobot was built from the ground up and doesn’t use ROS (Robots Operating System), even though it is compatible with it. Pulurobot comes in three models:

  • Pulurobot S
  • Pulurobot M
  • Pulurobot L

The Pulurobot S is the smallest version of the robot family with a footprint of about 400 x 300mm, Pulurobot S is capable of carrying over 50Kg of load, tested with 58Kg. Based on the same software and controller board that powers the other robots, Pulurobot S is ideal for applications that require small spaces or offices and a perfect fit for homes.

pulurobots parts
pulurobots parts

Pulurobot M is a medium size agile robot and comes in size of 650mm x 470mm with height 230mm and 304mm from the ground. It is powered by 2 pcs of 300W 24V BLDC wheel hub motor, uses LIDAR for navigating and mapping, 4 x 3D TOF (Timer of Flight) cameras and sonar sensors for obstacles. Pulurobot M is capable of carrying over 90 Kg of load, tested with about 118Kg and found no mechanical problems. It is meant to be an application platform. If you need more batteries for your application, you can stack it onto the robot. Inside the robot is a space for 240Wh 18650 battery array, but can easily accommodate around 1KWh on the chassis.

Pulurobots Sonar Sensors and Controller Board
Pulurobots Sonar Sensors and Controller Board

The following are some specification of the Pulurobot M:

  • Controller board
    • MCU – STM32 microcontroller for sensor management & low-level navigation
    • SBC – Slot for Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 for running mapping (SLAM)
    • Connectivity – WiFi and/or 3G/4G
    • Sensor –  MEMS gyroscope, accelerometer, compass
    • Motor controllers –   4pcs BLDC motor controllers, 700W peak, to support four-wheel drive computation
    • Power Supply – 5V/10A
    • Charger – 100W Lithium-ion charger
  • Vision
    • 2D 360 degree LIDAR
    •  Low-cost off-the-shelf 3D Time-of-Flight camera (SoftKinetic DepthSense) for mapping close obstacles
  • Chassis
    • Riveted, laser-cut aluminum chassis
    • Robust suspension: always four wheels on the ground
    • Two-wheel drive, BLDC hub motors (similar to hoverboards)
    • Supports at 90kg when moving, mechanical structure can withstand a lot more 
  • Battery – 18650-based lithium ion battery
  • Charging –  Can find and mount to its charger automatically

Pulurobot L is the largest of all the Pulurobot series and is expected to carry around 300Kg load. Pulurbot is currently not yet available, still on the drawing board. Pulurobot L will find applications in industries.

While most of the robots are still under development and labeled to be open source, they haven’t yet released their SW-HW design to the public domain yet. It is quite possible that their design could be available after the publication on 4th of February.  The Pulu S is available and will be available for pre-order for 999.00 EUR only during the Fosdem event, the Pulu M is available for purchase at about 3000 EUR, with delivery taking about 2 months.

Pulurobots could be a game changer in the robotics industries and could help foster more innovation, with the hope of bringing down the cost of building small but yet powerful robots in the future.

milliDelta Robot- High speed and Precision in a Compact Design

Delta robots are machines with three arms designed to move at high speeds and perform precise tasks. The three arms are connected to a universal join at the base, and the device uses parallelograms that restrict the movement avoiding rotation. As a result, they can move in x, y, and z plane and have high acceleration because it’s made of a light material. They gained popularity in factories for assembly and packaging, so modern devices have been designed to move in more degrees of freedom at accelerations as high as 100 g picking up to 300 items per minute.

The milliDelta robot designed by Harvard’s Wyss Institute measures 15 mm x 15 mm x 20 mm which makes it lighter. As it weights less, the force needed to move it is smaller causing a huge increase in speed. The device uses piezoelectric actuators that allow the milliDelta to move at up to 75 Hz, and the precision is down to 5 micrometers. The developing team proved that milliDelta can operate in a workspace of about 7 cubic millimeters and has a payload capacity of 3 times its mass which helps optimize spaces in factories where thousands of these devices are used to perform tasks in sequence.

The robot was designed for micro- assembly and microsurgery. Many times, in medical situations speed is a key factor for saving someone´s life, and the milliDelta can achieve speeds that humans cannot. The device is clearly not a replacement for medical professionals, it is a tool to perform faster and more precise procedures. Additionally, the precision could allow for less invasive operations. For electronics manufacturing, the milliDelta is a game changer in time spent a production, and in mistakes made in assembly. This delta robots could be used for 3d printing which for some applications requires micrometer precision, and could reduce printing times significantly.

The device has proven to be 15 to 20 times faster than commercial delta robots, and even though it cannot do any heavy lifting it could revolutionize the industries mentioned before. Delta robots are expanding to new industries which means that we may soon see them performing completely different tasks at different situations while maintaining their characteristics properties such as smooth, precise, and fast movement. Harvard’s delta robot is not currently for sale.

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