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Asked — Edited

Audio/Video + Data Over Single Wifi Link?

hi all!

my project goal is for a surface ROV controlled by a PC

i would like to have bi-directional audio and video from the bot to the PC (kind of like tele-presense i suppose). i want the a/v and control to flow over a single WiFi link and am wondering if that's possible with the ez-board?

i would also like to run the WiFi in AP mode with an internal web-server so that anyone can connect to the video stream

i've been involved in ground and aerial robotics and hobby RC for a long time, but my weakness is in programming (all i know is AutoIt and simple batch scripting), and so EZ is looking like a mighty attractive platform, especially with its compatibility with other products, such as Arduino, leaving me room (i hope) to expand later


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It's true... computers are quite unsophisticated:)

And robots? Robots are in an even worse shape. Ever stop and look around at the big players in DIY robotics, and notice their technology is 15-20 years old? Companies like Parallax have been selling the same product for 15+ years. Can you imagine using a 15 year old computer?:)
still trying to understand this - i have almost no idea how the hardware components interact and what data is processed by what component

so i'm trying to understand the most important part to me atm - the video

i had planned on a wired camera anyway, so no issues there. so with the camera, apparently the concerns are processing power and bandwidth, keeping in mind i would like to, if possible, run both video and control over a single WiFi link...

1) what is about the camera that requires so much processing power and can any of that work be off-loaded - are there camera that can do the bulk of the work with their own hardware? is that inherently what a network (IP) camera does? in other words, can i skirt around having to embed an SBC on the bot by using a particular type of wired camera?

2) using the right camera, is it now possible to do bot control and video over a single WiFi link? it seems to me that control data out and trivial sensor data in return, such as polling a temp sensor every 1000 ms, would consume only the tiniest bit of available bandwidth over an 802.11 b/g connection. am i missing something here?

3) i'm wanting WiFi for a few reasons; i'm imagining running a web server on the bot that anyone can connect to with a browser to view the video stream. however, that is not the way it works, is it? instead, they would have to connect to the PC (me) where the ARC s/w is located, correct?

4) i'm assuming i can get better range with WiFi than BT. is that correct? i have some knowledge of antennas and i basically know how to greatly increase range without using more power, so the protocol i guess really doesn't matter - i'm just curious as to why WiFi is supposed to go further.

5) just curious as to why EZ uses BT instead of WiFi - was this to overcome some limitation?

6) looks like the software cannot be used for commercial purposes according to the TOS. so one wanted to do, say, tank inspections, that's a no-go?
dj linux is better at using it in a non-desktop usage so please release a linux version of ez_builder bec, it will help us no super-robot like:"nao,asimo,darwin,bioloid"uses windows all use linux
linux is better bec, it uses less resource than windows also we don't need a gui in robots
so linux is the best option to embeded computing
also on 3) in post #2 beagle bone is very powerfull
1) impossible
2) yes,if dj released a linux version you could but a beagle bone in your robot and make connect to other people throught making it act like a router to make an internet connection
3) answered in 2)
4) yes
5) bec, BT is easier to setup
6) no
United Kingdom
Take away the GUI you take away the simplicity or the EZ part of EZ Robots.

I trimmed this down from a much bigger post but the above sentence said it all as far as I can see.
Again, there will never be a Linux ARC. The Linux OS does not satisfy the user requirements to achieve our goals. If you wish to use one of the under powered cheap Linux boards like beagle or raspberry pi, then I suggest you use ROS.:)
thanks for your answers

looks like the hardware limitations and TOS is going to cause me to look elsewhere
@Atomizer, if you can use Linux and ROS - than the EZ-B should still be your hardware choice. There is no other hardware that will have the same functionality. You can connect to the EZ-B from ROS using the EZ-OpenBot:)

If you are looking for a graphical Linux Robot environment, there isn't one.

As for including an embedded computer within your robot, it is being done by hundreds of EZ-Robot users. It's very easy, all you need is:
1) A Fit-PC, NetBook, or Mini ATX
2) EZ-B
3) Your servos, sensors, battery, etc.


You can connect to the Fit-PC/Netbook/Mini ATX using a WIFI connection and Remote Desktop. There are hundreds of EZ-Robot users doing the same thing. If you look at all robots on the internet that are advanced in the many thousand dollar range, they use embedded PC's - most use Fit-PC's... But I recommend using a NetBook because they are very affordable.

For example, a AMD-C50 processor driven netbook can cost only $200:)
@kudo48pa - in defense of ez, remember the name "E Z". linux is anything but easy for novices familiar only with windows that just want to get stuff done and EZ is clearly trying to capture the novice market

however, for me, the downside for my current project is the video and control over WiFi limitation and the licensing - DJ encourages others to FOSS their code, yet the EZ code is proprietary and apparently not for use in commercial applications, which kind of leaves me shaking my head
why all my posts are removed
i want linux ez_builder and it will contain the"ez"part
@kudo48pa, post only once at a time or you will be banned again - we have gone over this. Second, I have answered your question regarding supporting Linux - it will never happen, so please stop asking.

@atomizer, modified ARC and EZ-B is used in a few commercial applications. We have licensed the platform to commercial applications... I'm not sure where you received that conflicting information.

I do encourage open source application hobby projects. If you want to pay for food and have a roof over your head, it's recommended to not open source your commercial code :). As for proprietary, I would like to introduce you to EZ-SDK... EZ-SDK is an entire open framework - which means Yes, you don't get to see the code, however you do have access to every single function/procedure/variable in the entire EZ-Robot platform.

Also, I should add that any "hackers" out there can actually import ARC into their own custom C#/VB application. ARC is also built with PUBLIC functions - meaning nothing is hidden:) ...

You should be careful before accusing me of wrongfully closed sourcing EZ-Robot:) Come on man, I have to eat! If I had a full-time job and did EZ-Robot part time, it wouldn't be this advanced... I've opened so much of it - anyone with prior programming experience would recognize it.

Why don't we release the code? Well, why would you want it? If you have access to every single function - including the raw video stream - there is no reason you'd need the code, unless you were curious or wanted to steal it for your own commercial application:)

Feels good with so many people demanding I give them the code for the EZ-Robot platform... Means I've created something awesome!:D I'd love to explain how many thousands of hours it has taken to create this beast. To give you an idea, there is nothing else in the world that comes close to ARC - let alone the EZ-B, EZ-SDK and with nearly 200 tutorial videos. We have software releases weekly and sometimes more often than that. A very tight community of enthusiasts. And companies ranging from NASA to elementary schools.:)

For a release log to see how aggressive our development is, spend less than an hour to browse this: http://www.ez-robot.com/Community/Forum/threads.aspx?id=3

However, no matter how much work I put into EZ-Robot.. how many hours I work on it... How many hours of sleep I miss out on... It all is put toward a free software package that lets you build a robot. And that is why we do it:) Because the more REAL robots in this world - the happier we are. The industry needs to change and that is why I created EZ-Robot. Because i'm tired of seeing arduino distance sensor bounce of walls line tracking sumo bots. I was tired of seeing these 3 or 4 companies dominate the DIY hobby robot market with 15+ year old technology... And consumers do not know any better and buy into it. The big players have tens of millions in revenue per year selling ancient technology and the consumer thinks that's what robots are.

EZ-Robot is changing that:) We're a market disrupter... Wait until you see Revolution!

I didn't design EZ-Robot for hackers or Linux users; I designed EZ-Robot for everybody else.

As for the video over wifi. I don't know how else to explain this. In your robot you will put the two pieces of hardware:
1) Netbook/Fit-PC/Mini ATX
2) EZ-B

This setup would be the same on any platform. You would require an I/O controller (i.e. EZ-B) and a computer. The computer is what does the advanced processing of video, speech, etc..

You can connect to the robot's computer over wifi. When you do so, you have access to the video, ARC Interface, etc..

EZ-Robot is the easiest way to do it over any other hardware you may be considering. Maybe it's so easy that it isn't making sense?:)

I don't want you to use another hardware platform. I put my passion into this platform, and I know you won't be happy with any other option. I take the time, from the hundreds of emails I receive in a day, to answer you and the community with honesty.

I solve problems, it's what I do best. Build an EZ-robot and you'll see:)
ah now, i didn't exactly "accuse" you:)
i simply stated a fact, and i didn't suggest you open source EZ - i fully understand that as long as we submit to being enslaved by banksters, we are all in a sinking boat. in a better world we wouldn't have a ridiculously childish monetary system where we pretend that paper and bits actually have value and you might be doing what you love to do for free, without any stress and sleepless nights and deadlines, just because you love to do it. however we obviously haven't reached that point... yet

i appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication to this project and community and, from what i see, it looks like everyone else does as well. you should be proud

as for me, i don't like limitations, and the licensing issue is a limitation - so is being stuck to windows since i don't know what i might want to do down the road. sure i can license it for commercial use, but that would obviously involve a licensing fee

as for the video/data across WiFi, i understand what you're saying. i just don't want to have to run 2 Tx/Rx to do it and then deal with possibly decreased range, crappy signal and multi-path issues. ground bots are already starting out with a strike against them because you can't really get the antennas working properly - different story if you're in the air

so, when i consider the following, EZ isn't going to fit the bill, at least not on this project...

* cost - in addition to the EZ, i'd need to run an SBC
* having to run 2 WiFi's
* tied to windows, at least partially
* licensing cost, if i did go commercial
* whatever limits i might run into now or, worse, down the road because of proprietary software

i'm not really knocking you for these things, these are just things that i'd be stupid NOT to consider, wouldn't you agree?
I love DJ's last post! Truly inspiring and makes me wish I had a ton of cash to invest!
United Kingdom
I agree, very inspiring post from DJ and I whole heartedly agree.

At the end of the day, the EZ-Robots hardware and software is aimed at a specific market, a different market to what all other robotics hardware and software is aimed at. It's aimed at those who don't have the programming skills to create a realistic robot from micro-controllers.

EZ-Robots, as is aptly named, is for easy robots. It's easy. Very easy. Plug in servos and sensors, connect to PC via Bluetooth (or optional wifi, usb or wired Ethernet) and use the extremely simple yet very powerful software to bring it all alive.

Yes it needs Windows but it's aimed at a market where there is a Windows PC usually lying around, if not a few or better still, an old one stored away.

As for licensing for commercial use, I'm still surprised it's not licensed for all use. It's free software that is regularly updated. People pay a lot more for lesser software. But the main thing is, can you really expect someone, anyone, to release open source, free software for commercial use? It would be foolish.
while the software may not cost anything, it certainly isn't free. is it usable without the $136 EZ-B microcontroller? i'm sure DJ would admit that board isn't worth nearly that amount by itself. how many boards do you think he'd sell @ $136 ea. if ARC didn't exist? you're buying a package with the board, and that package includes ARC and the SDK

i think, overall, it happens to be a very cool package that, assuming it lives up to the claims (and i have no reason to suspect otherwise), is a very reasonably priced package, but no part of it is technically free
United Kingdom
Would the EZ-B sell as many without the software? Probably not... The software is, at least for me, a major selling point. But, @DJ needn't update the software at all yet he continues to make improvements by the bucket load, often very quickly after the community request a fix or extra feature. My comment regarding it being free was just that, a comment, it was not the direction I was hoping the conversation would go.

For commercial use however, like practically every piece of "free" software that I've ever read the license for, perfectly justifies a licensing fee. Would you like someone else to profit from your hard work without receiving your cut?
i use ez_builder full functions without ez_b full feathers every thing
how familiar are you with the GPL license?

also see http://opensource.org/faq#commercial

again, i am not suggesting that DJ change course and open-source the code - i was simply stating facts: it isn't open source and it would be a mistake to consider builder or the SDK as free, as both are useless without the board

i am not arguing whether a licensing fee is justified or not - that is totally up to the developer - it simply doesn't sit well with me personally, and my personal view is being incorrectly misinterpreted

as far as profiting from the hard work of others, i'm sure you're well aware that that is exactly what most of the *nix community (and many, many others) allow you to do. while you may think that's a stupid idea, keep in mind your computing experience would still be in the stone age if it weren't for people who make their source code available for free, regardless of whether you use it or not. you can profit from their many hundreds of thousands/millions of hours of work for which they charged nothing in many cases. even as a developer you can publish your source code and still profit by charging for installations, support contracts, hardware, etc.
United Kingdom
Explain your personal view then as the way I am reading it, it doesn't sit well with you that people want paying for their work just because others give their time away.

Fact is, if you want to use the EZB in a commercial application you are going to have to pay EZ-Robots for the privilege. If you don't like it then you have two choices, use something else (which will be a lot less sophisticated) or write your own software, put in the hours yourself and attempt to turn that in to a worthwhile profit.

What industry would you expect a manufacturer to give away anything for free so you can profit from it? I can't think of a single one.