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]

Doing Business in China

“They did what?” our mechanical engineer exclaimed as I talked about working with a supplier in China. Culturally China can be very different to the United States and we were negotiating pricing. Pricing discussions always have the potential to bring out unexpected business behavior in any context, but in China, some westerners find it positively unbelievable. I grew up in greater China, and did my first serious business trips in China when I was a teenager, more than 20 years ago, and while I was completely unfazed by this latest turn of events, because I’d seen it before, even I get surprised from time to time. [Read More]

The Coveted Up in Blue Smoke Award

Every engineering design project has failed prototypes, some of them fail because we decided that we wanted to go in a different direction, others fail more literally, going out with a flash, a bang or a puff of smoke. In electronics, we call this letting the Blue Smoke out. As letting the smoke out represents learning, we set up the much coveted Up in Blue Smoke Award. Letting the blue smoke out is a sign that enough progress has been made on that prototype that it could fail. [Read More]

The 12 Tasks of Hercules

While building Hercules (now called Magni) we came up with a way to measure and track the progress of the robot, we called them the 12 Tasks of Hercules based on The 12 Labors of Hercules from Greek mythology. The idea was that we would create a list of challenges that we would like the robot to complete, and whoever was the first one to get the robot to complete the challenge would get some kind of prize based on what the challenge was. [Read More]