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Program robots using technologies created from industry experts. ARC is our free-to-use robot programming software that makes features like vision recognition, navigation and artificial intelligence easy.

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Control From A Smart Phone

Hi,
I stumbled upon your product and it really got my attention. You have created a wonderful product that is capable of launching a newbie deep into serious hobby-robotics territory :-) I went through your blog and website, it was nice reading about your other abilities and interests.

Currently I am an Arduino guy and here is my first robot.......
arunwaves.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/rover-robot/

While Arduino is a great platform, your product caters to a different group, it seems to provide a shorter path from idea to implementation! I would like to try your EZ-Builder. I have few clarifications.......
1] If I understand correctly, all the computation (code) resides on the computer and not on the robot/board
2] Communication to and from robot will be over Bluetooth
3] Is there a way or a future plan to shift that control from a computer to a smart phone (iPhone, Android etc)? Maybe do the code creation on a computer and then drop an executable type control package onto a phone. This query is to enable mobility with the resulting robot. I really do not want to carry my laptop all around, say to a restaurant or a park.
4] What is the secret to your awesomeness ...................:D
5] Is it possible to simultaneously control more than one ARC robot with the same computer?

Thanks and good luck
-Arun

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#1  
Hey, what happened to my formatting *confused* I have the line breaks and para breaks in the edit/compose mode but not in the view mode. Any idea how to rectify this? I hate reading a heap of words *mad*
PRO
Synthiam
#2  
Wow ack, i had a great reply and i accidently hit backspace when not focused on the textbox and the browser erased what i had written.

I'm exhausted from a very long few days. Give me another day to reply, but i have some responses that will provide insight of the goal of the ez robot project to your questions.

talk to you soon!

DJ
#3  
Hi DJ,
Any answers yet?
Also any updates on your next release?! I am collecting old 'retired' robots in anticipation :-)
-AK
#4  
Hi AK,
That is a great first robot! I remember my first robot. It was made of wood and automobile windsheild wiper motors. Its nice to see robotics bringing a family together. Soon, my family and I will be building our first robot together.

Hi Dj,
I have a question as well. Can 2 controllers be link together and ran by the same bluetooth connection? Oh, and what IS the secret to your awesomeness?

RR
PRO
Synthiam
#5  
AK, Sorry it took so long to reply! I feel awful for neglecting your questions.

First, your rover robot is real cool! I'm always happy to see someone build their own platform. And with 4 servos, it must be have a lot of torque:)

1] If I understand correctly, all the computation (code) resides on the computer and not on the robot/board
Yup! There are thousands of lines of assembler in the robot controller, however it is told what to do by the computer. From your arduino microcontroller experience, you have seen the limitations of microcontrollers. Offloading the "control" onto a PC permits the microcontroller to handle specific tasks with priority and efficiency. ARC and EZ-SDK are very easy platforms for controlling your robot.

Also, because the PC controls the robot controller, you can leverage use of PC peripherals. That means adding cameras and sound cards for voice recognition and camera motion/color tracking, etc. Oh yah, and the latest version of ARC supports joysticks too:D

2] Communication to and from robot will be over Bluetooth
With EZ-B V3 (being launched shortly), the native communication protocol is Bluetooth. However, the bluetooth module can be removed and swapped with Xbee or Synapse for a 200 meter range. The cost of bluetooth is cheaper, and most pc's have bluetooth built in, so it was choosen as an effective communication method.

3] Is there a way or a future plan to shift that control from a computer to a smart phone (iPhone, Android etc)? Maybe do the code creation on a computer and then drop an executable type control package onto a phone. This query is to enable mobility with the resulting robot. I really do not want to carry my laptop all around, say to a restaurant or a park.
I am currently working on a daughter board that attaches to the EZ-B to provide embedded programmability. Of course, you will lose the functionality of camera and voice recognition. But the scripting environment that I have created will make programming a breeze.

The communication protocol can be viewed through the SDK. It would be very easy to control the EZ-B by Arduino:)

As for Arduino or iphone, I will be releasing a python module shortly for EZ-B V3.

Some people ask this question often. And it's funny because we dream of having a robot totally autonomous, and with camera and voice recognition. But once you begin architecting an embedded system with these peripherals, you realize why I created this project:) .. As a roboticist, you will always have a computer near by. And it is really neat when your friends can look on the computer monitor to see what the robot sees. Or intercept it's autonomous exploring with a joystick and begin manually controlling the robot.

4] What is the secret to your awesomeness ...................
LOL, Thanks for putting a huge smile on my face!

5] Is it possible to simultaneously control more than one ARC robot with the same computer?
It sure is dude. I haven't tested it, but in theory the maximum number of EZ-B's on one machine is 128. That would require no other communication device is attached to the PC. There are two communication ports per EZ-B connection, which totals 256 ports. 256 is the maximum Windows allows.
#6  
Thanks DJ Sures, that answers all my questions *cool* Eagerly awaiting the release.
PS: BTW did I miss the latest release in May 2011?!?!? *sick* I see v3 as sold out in the "Buy" page
PRO
Synthiam
#7  
You sure didn't miss out. We have been updating the website to prepare for V3, so it hasn't been released yet. They are being assembled right now:D

It's very exciting!! You will be notified soon as it's available, don't worry:)

I'm glad I was able to answer your questions. I like receiving questions because it gives me a chance to sit down and explain myself. Everyone involved in the project on this end just lets me run with ideas and they don't ask much LOL

I am testing the latest firmware today, and it's fantastic! A speed increase of 50% over the last release. Also there are many new features including an increase to 20 servo ports compared to 14!

Very exciting!