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Asked — Edited

Complex Robot For A Newbie

Hi DJ Sures, wow your work is stunning, your robots are very cool. So I would like to build one myself, but one that I would be able to upgrade and tinker as time goes by. Would it be possible to:

1- install a PC directly inside the robot, and control it via wireless with something like ==) remote desktop admin? I don't have bluetooth, you suggested xbee to someone, but wireless is still not an option for ez-b? I would use my robot not only as a friend but as a co-worker, like a mid-station in my wireless network (with various OS and user permissions) for data transfer and storage.

2- Having a PC inside it would allow me also to add various applications to the robot, like additionnal speach recognition softwares or speech emulation, or simply replace older ones or add new features over time?

3- I want a robot. A big robot. One like omnibot, but maybe 2x 2,5x bigger lol. i would also like that he could roll faster than omnibot, you know, how would I go to power-up the whole thing? And I don't want to buy many robots, just this one that's why I'd like to be able to reconfigure it.

4- This is gonna sound more crazy than the other things, but I would also like that he could access the internet (that's another reason for the wireless) because I would like to develop some kind of basic AI over time. AIMind is not an option for me because I want to speak french with my friend (I live in Quebec), so I would take some time to developp very basic speach stuff with the robot. I don't know, he could do searches on the internet by voice command, shoot some pre-recorded jokes by demand, or simply trigger some threats with leds flashing, you know, the usual suspects.

So I guess the main question is: is there a way to connect ez-b, a pc with custom softwares, and another external pc for master control (or remote administrator control of the internal pc)? Thanks for helping me! I would really like to build a robot on the ez-b system, it looks perfect to get a great result for an ignorant like me, but I want to link it with other softwares if possible! Thank you!!!!

Thanks dude!

It would be very easy to build everything you have just described. I'm not sure if you'll find a pre-built shell (such as from a toy) that will be large as you'd like. You would most likely have to build your own shell.

If you do want a robot that can be super duper autonomous, then self charging will be important. That is actually quite easy by using a circuit board from a iRobot Roomba as the HBridge motor controller. You can use your own motors, but use the iRobot Roomba's brain to control the motors. Then you can simply send a command to tell the robot to return to its charging station. And use a roomba charging station:)

As for having the PC embeded within the robot, not a problem either. You can remove the bluetooth module from the EZ-B (it simply clips on) and attach the RX/TX wires directly to a USBTTL adapter. There is a discussion on the forum somewhere about doing that. Personally, I would simply use a $1 bluetooth usb dongle from eBay rather than mess about with more wires lol

View the Add-Ons section of the website for a list of popular peripherals and attachements for the ez-b. One of the items listed is Embedded PC (mini ITX motherboards). They are cheap and great at 17cm by 17cm, small enough for your application.

The remote control over wifi can be done with either RDP, VNC or the built in HTTP Server of ARC. Check the ARC Online Help to read about the controls and watch tutorial videos.

ARC will do more than what your robot requires. If you feel that you need something specific that ARC doesn't do, then create your own application in either VB or C# .Net using the EZ-SDK.

You can even purchase industrial sized servos off eBay. A big robot will be cool to see! If you start the project, please share your build and expirements with us:)
EX-CEL-LENT!!! Awesome. I will start the whole project in a week or two. Of course I will share progress with you, as I might need your help or some tips from time to time. But of course I will watch all the tutorials and read the stuff first. I'm so glad!! My friends want me to throw a party when my new friend is ready! All right!! I'll order the EZ-B soon. Thanks again!

Yes I have to figure out the shell, I would also like the robot to have two arms to bring snacks, but I'm not quite sure how I should do that. Anyway, it'll take me some time to figure out many things, but it will be done! Later!!!
Ok just some questions again and I'm good to go for a while.

Really, thanks for helping me out, I don't think I could do it without your help and EZ-B. Or my robot would end up very dumb hahaha.

I really want to use the IRobot Roomba's chip to control the movements of my bot and more than everything, as you suggested, use it so my robot can go charge whenever the battery is low.

But the question is: will the Roomba's charging unit work with another battery system? The thing is that my robot will be way heavier (with arms, hard disk, T-1000 chip etc) than the Roomba, so i have to figure out another way to drive the mechanical and pc functions.

Maybe I will need to modify the charging unit too so it better fits the robot. If I was to build my robot OVER the roomba bas (so it fits perfectly on the charging unit) I don't think the motor of the wheels of the roomba would be powerful enough to drive my robot...

I'm sorry DJ Sures I really have tons of questions, but:

Do you have any idea on the power system and the charging configuration, and last is the robot still operational when charging its battery?

I will show you some concept art very soon.
So I found this Link that may help you get your EZ-B talking to WiFi.
The roomba charging station will be great for alternate batteries too. The roomba battery is 14.4 volts. The amperage of your battery source doesn't matter because it is the length of time that you charge it.

I would actually use two roomba battery packs in parallel to double the amperage. that would give you 14.4v at 7 amps (if you use the 4 amp battery pack).

I've been spinning the idea of using a roomba for the base of my Robie Sr.. But for some reason, I can't seem to get myself to cut his frame up. I need to stop being so sentimental and start being hacker dj again!
Any hope for you creating a function in ARC to emulate the Roomba's autonomous charging? How does the Roomba do it? Is there like a homing beacon in the charger?

I'm thinking an autonomous charging station kit based on the Roomba concept would be well received for all those (pretty much everyone) struggling with how to power their bots...
I did buy a few I2C Decoders a few weeks ago. They would come in handy for such a thing.

I decided on using a Roomba motherboard instead.

I will be modifying my Robie Sr with an embedded PC and Charging. I'll most likely use a iRobot Roomba motherboard and the roomba charging station.

I even considered attaching the robot to the top of a roomba, so i can vacum as well:)
Your tips and ideas are like food to me! I haven't post any design/renders of my robot because after searching the www, I just can't figure out how the heck I am going to make a customized shell to my own personnal iron giant. I thought this would be the easy part but as DJ Sures said, it's not hahaha. Anyway, what I am thinking of for the moment is to build the shell over a roomba base, but with stronger servos so the heaviness of the robot won't be a problem. Thanks DJ Sures for the 2X battery pack set idea, as well as for explaining a little bit the way that I can charge another robot with the roomba (amp vs volt), as it is difficult to know how those things work without owning a roomba and knowledge lol.

Allright! THAT DOES IT! I'm getting my EZ-B right now so this mothafreakin project gets started.

I thought about some (new) plastic trash cans for the cylindric shell that I would put on the roomba, but it's not classy enough for my taste.