Release of Raspberry Pi Camera Node

We are proud to announce the first stable release of our Raspberry Pi Camera Node. We have worked through the issues that we talked about in previous blog posts to the point where we feel comfortable with a stable, public release of the code. The reposistory is here: https://github.com/UbiquityRobotics/raspicam_node. We have tested this node on both the 4.1 and 4.4 kernels from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, using our Ubuntu Image, but it should work with ROS on Raspbian as well. [Read More]

Raspberry Pi 3 Wifi Hackery

Robots, especially ROS ones, need Wifi connectivity. With the Raspberry Pi 3, a lot of the software/firmware level headaches are alleviated thanks to the hard work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. However, in their efforts to keep the Pi 3 the same size, and make FCC compliance easier, they had to put a pretty wimpy ceramic “chip” antenna for Wifi and Bluetooth. In order to get better wifi connectivity on the Pi 3, I decided to venture into finding a way get an external antenna hooked up. [Read More]

Build Servers Reincarnated

After the previous build server setup had destroyed itself with fire, much like the Phoenix from the Ashes, I decided to reincarnate it in a slightly more resilient (read non-flammable) case. The king is dead, long live the king: I used an Extended-ATX case with a dead motherboard I had lying around, and put all the boards and the hard drives in it. There is also an 8-Port Ethernet switch that connects to all the boards and means there is only 1 Ethernet coming out of the box. [Read More]

Build Servers on Fire

Early this morning I woke up to the smell of burning insulation, turns out it was coming from the Ubiquity (formerly Raspbian) build farm. After some investigation (and making sure everything/everyone else was not on fire), it looks like one of the disk drives failed catastrophically, causing a short that burned the wires going from it to the PSU, along with the wires it was bundled with. I haven’t tried spinning up the drive again to verify its deadness, but the main board for the drive looks mostly healthy. [Read More]

Raspberry Pi Camera on Ubuntu

Frankly, there was an element of luck required to figure out how to get the Raspberry Pi camera working under Ubuntu. The reason why is described below. The raspicam node uses the Raspbery Pi video camera interface API (Application Programming Interface) to access the image data. The Raspberry Pi camera is actually connected to the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) where specialized graphics processing units can manipulate the image before it is forwarded on to the main ARM7 cores. [Read More]

ROS on Raspberry Pi 2

As part of our goal to create a low cost robotics platform, we needed to use a low cost compute platform that could run Robot Operating System. After trying many different single board computers, including the original Raspberry Pi, we finally settled on the Raspberry Pi 2 (RPi2). The RPi2 uses a ARMv7 architecture (as opposed to ARMv6), which means that it can run Ubuntu. For running ROS indigo on ARM, we needed Ubuntu 14. [Read More]

Hercules Mission Status 2

Hercules Prototype 3 Outing Report. Power ON Booting Ubuntu Start Process 1 Loading Network Load ROSCORE LoadROSNODE_1 Checking Sensor State STANDING BY…... User voice Input detected over Bluetooth. USER : “Hercules Login Federman, Authorization: 1100 HERCULES: Good Evening Dr. Federman. USER: “Hercules Status” HERCULES: It is 8:05pm on Wednesday April 29. All systems are nominal, I do not recognize this location. There are no obstacles within 2 meters of my current position, I see one person in front of me. [Read More]

Origins of Ubiquity Robotics

Ubiquity robotics really originated as an effort by a series of keen and determined enthusiasts to try to build a better robot than existed right now. We all loved engineering and wanted to spend our time working on engineering projects rather than business ones, and so emerged, what initially was a completely ad-hoc group of keen technical enthusiasts. Many of us had PhDs in related field many of us had decades of experience in building technical products at some of the most technically competent companies in Silicon valley. [Read More]

Hercules Mission Status 1

Wednesday Night 17:45:12.36 Gosh it is cold and dark here in the “Robo shed” It is also lonely for most of the time. Of course, I don’t experience time or remember things like you humans do, being a robot. My sleep is dreamless. I only know what time it is because I got turned on, and was able to get a timestamp when I connected to a WiFi network. “Wait a nano second - someone is disconnecting the camera and keyboard and plugging in the Xbee to the USB hub. [Read More]