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Difference Between Ez-B And Arduino Video: Biggest Misconceptions

Alright guys, its time to make a video to tell newbies what the difference is between arduino and Ez-b. This can also talk about software.

Biggest misconceptions/diffences:
(I'll update this list as we go.)
1. Ez-b does not get programmed, everything is done in ez-builder
2. The ez-b is not a micro controller, it is a robot controller, sort of like a Gate-way from your computer/mobile device to sensors and motors
3.The ez-b is not only for newbies, it can be scaled from simple to very advance
4. Only ez-robot sensors/peripherals can be used is incorrect, as arduino peripherals(besides shields) can be used as well
5. ...

Keep the inflow going.

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Synthiam
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Synthiam
#17  
With help from all of you:)

What matters to me, and the direction ezrobot takes, is not financially driven. I care about adoption and usability, which does result in sales - but as you know from me, all proceeds get reimbursed back into EZ-Robot for additional growth. If I did this for the money, I would have paid myself the millions of dollars of revenue rather than being the lowest paid employee at ezrobot:)

I'm in this to change the world - not benefit myself. The reward I'm looking for is a page in the history books... Guess I want to live for ever and this is my way to do it!
PRO
USA
#18  
@DJ,

Your speach is full of motivation and is a reflection of you being the force behind EZR, so that's why i said you re biased.

saying something is simple can be viewed as negative or positive in my arguments always means good:)

@Rich, if the things get complicated is not fun:) I tried the RPI linux, mono and the EZSDK for mono, i noticed there are no Video Capture, no Speech, no vision processing, no good bits ? wait this is not where EZB is good, making your life simple. I moved to Windows 10 Iot, to discover that is unstable, very limited, so more pain i give up, so you have two options return to windows or change the tools.

@Richard R, the script language has few instructions, is tweaked to the user needs, simple pragmatic, no complex concepts, so is a very good to start, once you get in you can a lot of cool stuff. Don't forget most things we do in EZB are action oriented, you don't need to develop rocket science code to control the robot, the EZB provides the common base for you to excel. When you reach a limit you need to get out and develop plugins, but to develop plugins, you need other kind of skills, and you are moving away from EZB.

we are talking different mindsets. I have 3 kids (less than 9) , and understanding their mindset and finding the right tools to help them grow keeping them hooked to robotics/electronics is my main motivation.

One of the girls she is a DIY, her main interest are wearables, tiny arduinos, leds and, micro servos, sensors etc is the way to go, she is not ready for the Arduino IDE neither the C Language, eventually she will get there.. right now google, dad and copy paste code works, so an Arduino fits.

The Boy likes to build, he likes to develop his creations, find new mechanics, so a LM = Lego Mindstorms is a good fit, costing a little less than one of my EZ Kits brings more stuff (mechanics parts) and he wants to build before "coding", is very young so EZB is still a good complement, due to begin exposed in school to LM, eventually he will explore the LM tools.

The other Girl, she does not want to spend a lot of time learning the inner concepts, she wants fast results, and the wow effects, show & tell... she thinks a programmer should be like those scifi movies where the guy use the hands and move projected blocks, bright lights and sounds, rotating hands like minority report, she got frustrated when she see more than 10 lines of codes... So for her the EZB is the best tool, and she will slow starting coding again (thanks to the EZB basic script nature).

So 3 kids, 3 different mindsets, 3 different tools, and everyone will say they use the best tools.

Cheers,
#19  
Interesting responses and conversation, to say the least! We are wandering from the original goal of this thread a bit, but we are still coming up with ideas.

@ptp your examples with your children bring up a good point on where ez-robot sits on the scale, and who ez-robot is aiming towards, and that arduino is a good learning area.

@Richard and @DJ
The middle ground reference is very useful.
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Synthiam
#20  
I'm curious about how any Arduino user will be accomplishing speech recognition, various vision object tracking, joysticks, wiimotes, and iOS/Android development - all in under 10 minutes without touching a keyboard? Why would someone want to build a robot with Arduino to have less features...:D

Do not confuse the simplicity of EZ-Robot with not being scalable or powerful. There are a number of high profile customers of EZ-Robot, such as NASA, Google, MIT and Stanford. Why? Because you can prototype anything in an afternoon rather than months. EZ-Robot is a development solution platform, not a component.

If your comparison is to state that a child will start with EZ-Robot and move to Arduino later, I have already stated reason why that doesn't make sense. So, you learn to drive a car and the next step is to make your own car from scratch? No, you learn how to drive the car better:)

It's funny because here I am, spending my weekly research to see what is happening in the robot world - what's funny? The fact EZ-Robots made by 12 year-old's are doing equivalent or more than multi-million dollar research facilities. Anyone would have to be blind or ignorant to not recognize the difference between a walking, talking, seeing and listening EZ-Robot and an Arduino robot:D
#21  
Agreed! Alright, I'm starting up the press line to start making some videos!
#22  
Maybe it comes down to "how" you want to get to where you are going. The easy way or the hard way. Here's an excerpt from another forum;

"Controlling the InMoov Hand with a sensor glove. We used 4.5? resistive strips in a voltage divider network connected to a dedicated 10-bit ADC that sends data to a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi packages the data and sends it via Wi-Fi to a second Raspberry Pi that turns the 10-bit values into duty cycle commands to the servos.

We were able to wirelessly control the hand from over 50 feet away without any lag whatsoever :), and it works so fast! We only used a linear algorithm to translate from ADC value to duty cycle; so there is *loads* of room for improvement in modeling the finger movement! "
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10208014012732681

This was accomplished by some Electrical Engineering students at UMass. Not to take away from what they did but I did this in my shop this morning, just for giggles. It took me 30 mins. Of course I was using EZ Robot stuff.
PRO
Synthiam
#23  
That's a funny example because it still doesn't come close to competing with the EZ-B. And here's why, they said "no lag". Well, that's incorrect.

The raspberry pi and linux has a high overhead of an entire OS which buffers tcp socket data and prioritizes i/o. Additionally, there are socket flags which need to be tweaked based on the expected delay times and priority of communication. This is because TCP/IP was developed for both real-time and general network use. Now, real-time communication over TCP/IP is actually quite a forgotten art and the socket flags have been pushed pretty far back in today's documentation.

So, while they can say "there's no lag" - the fact is, they're only moving a few servos over a single tcp socket connection as a single process. What they are _not_ doing is streaming real-time video, streaming audio, moving 24 servos, collecting ADC, setting digital ports, ramping PWM between positions at user-defined speeds, buffering 3 UARTs, and hosting a web server. ALL in real-time! With complete framework, graphic interface, 3d designers, programming environment, AND vision tracking capabilities.

In short, if they say no lag - I know for fact EZ-Robot is magnitudes less lag than their configuration, meanwhile we're still doing more. So, if they have no lag - does that mean EZ-Robot has negative lag? haha

Now, when someone tells me they're doing what EZ-Robot does with a raspberry pi, or arduino - then guess EZ-Robot finally has some real competition. Although it's impossible to do that with Arduino because it's not an efficient or complete development platform

So, Bob does that for fun in a few minutes - meanwhile a bunch of students spent half the year doing 1/100th of what EZ-Robot can do.. All they needed to do was spend $70 on an EZ-B.

There's a reason no one else is doing what EZ-Robot does - it's because we use the forgotten art of assembler and low level programming. Not depending on an existing OS that was designed for web browsing - our community (you) defined the requirements, and we worked backward from the requirements to design a platform that met those requirements. You all asked for the features EZ-Robot provides real-time, and we did it - no one else has:)
#24  
@bhouston I plan on quote you on that in my video if that is okay.

@DJ you strive to deliver don't you!
#25  
What are you going to Quote?
PRO
Synthiam
#26  
@Techno you bet :). I was taught that everyone does one thing really well. It's easy to spot when someone attempts to take on too many tasks, rather than focusing on the one thing they do really well. The key to building such a massive platform, such as EZ-Robot, is to focus on the thing you do really well, and hire a bunch of people who also do one thing really well. And finally, throw a community in there and refer them as your boss!

There, now you have the ingredients to impact the world.

Except, what are the cooking and mixing directions? Ah... well, we all have our secrets, don't we:D

@bob, i think Techno wants a job at ez-robot for PR/Marketing! Maybe that's his calling - the ez-robot marketing guru!
#27  
I like @Bob's example... I always use the swimming pool analogy... Sure you can dig a fine swimming pool with a shovel, but if you had access to a backhoe why would you?
#28  
I don't think people understand, and by not understanding tend to assume the more popular must be better.

I've said it before on many posts but I don't know if I am doing a decent job of explaining myself so I will give a couple of examples of what I do with the different types of devices and why.

There are some inherent shortcomings with devices that are used for robotics. For example, you can't query the position of a servo directly from the servo without hacking the servo to gain access to the pot. Once access is gained, you then use an analog port to query it's location. The strength of a servo motor is really pretty limited and most controllers have very few analog ports. Also, querying analog ports hundreds of times a seconds (not saying this is normally necessary but could be I guess) kills the communications channels of controllers.

Arduinos and pics are good at controlling a few devices. They are good at doing this with a high level of timing accuracy. They are good at transforming difficult to read data into simple to use data. They are good at being a part of your over all solution which offers a simple to use level of abstraction. Here are a couple of examples.

Some devices return bit-bang serial. This data contains a series of bits that make up bytes. These bytes, when used together can allow you to understand what is being seen by these sensors. You don't get back "object detected at 25 inches to my left" out of these sensors. You get bytes of data. An arduino is good at reading these bytes and converting the information to something you can use. It's also good at flipping some ports to high which could then be used by other controllers to very quickly react to the information before this information is reported back up to whatever you are using as a primary controller.

The arduino is a subsystem controller device. It is like a kangaroo to a sabortooth. It is like a servo controller board to a servo motor. It is like the board on the back of sensors that converts the particles of methane in the air to a usable representitive number for you to use. It is great at these things. It is not capable of doing what a pc is doing.

This brings me to Pi and Beaglebone or other single board computers with GPIO pins. These are one level up from the arduino in abstraction. These could be used as device controllers but lack one item that is very important to device controllers. These devices are not accurate enough to handle the timings necessary to use some of these devices and sensors. They run good stable OS'S which perform far better at tcp/ip than windows does. Windows renegotiate the speed that it will use constently, where linux sets a speed and uses it. Because of this, you have far less overhead with standard tcp/ip over linux, and don't have to nearly as critical about how you program to use tcp/ip on linux. With that said, these single board small computers are not all the same. For example, the pi uses its usb channel for its wired network port. The Beaglebone has a dedicated network port which doesn't have anything to do with the USB ports. The beaglebone has 2 additional processors which do have highly accurate timing. These can share information with the main processor very quickly. This is like putting two arduinos onboard the beaglebone. There are many more of these coming out all of the time. These boards are great if you need a low power computer in your project to maybe take load off of something else. Let's say that you want to add something like SLAM. An arduino isn't going to be able to do SLAM. It requires not only gathering of the data but then also processing of this data to make it usable. You need to get this data back to your tethered computer or you can process the data on one of these types of small computers. This small computers can then pass this information back to the main computer as needed.

So where does the ezb fit in? It can pretty much do all of what was mentioned kindof. The EZB and ARC can do almost everything that was mentioned with a few limitations.

The ezb isn't designed to be an arduino or pic. It is designed to handle a lot and not focus it's timings to a specific device. It can't drive something like a neopixel ring nativly. That's okay, neither can your computer. It's not what your computer or the ezb were designed to do.

The EZB uses wifi to xfer information from itself to the computer driving it. It is possible to flood this communication path. It's only wifi which has its own issues with latency nativly, especially in Windows. This is nothing that can't be resolved though in a couple of ways. This takes me back to the arduino and what it is good for. An arduino could monitor a device hundreds of times a second. If a condition is met, the arduino could communicate this information either back to the v4 in a couple of different ways, or could send this information back to ARC through the sdk and a com port on the computer. This allows the communication path not to get flooded because you only would report back the information you need to know and not everything. Additionally, the data conversion could take place on the arduino prior to transferring this information, allowing the computer to then react to this data instead of process it and then react to it.

I personally see great value in all of these devices if used in the manner in which they were designed. If you use a hammer as tweesers, the result will not be good. If you use a chainsaw as a fingernail file, the result will not be good. If you use an arduino as an ezb or an ezb as an arduino, the result will not be good. They are different devices used for different purposes. Same goes with the pi and beaglebone.

You can use a chainsaw as a fingernail file, but should you?
#29  
@David,

As usual, very good description of benefits and drawbacks of each approach, and more importantly how they can compliment each other.

Alan
#30  
Thanks Alan.

I would say that the best understanding that anyone could get that is beneficial to them is to start by looking at what is happening and where it is happening. Without this understanding, the builder will be very limited in their understanding of their robot. It's not magic.

In design, it is important to ask yourself, what do I want to happen first and then make a decision on where you want it to happen. The where is probably as important as the what. By doing things in the wrong place, you can paint yourself into a corner or greatly impact other areas of your project that you didn't mean to impact.

For example...
The Amazon Echo is a pretty cool device. There are some short comings in their design due to trying to have a single self contained devices. As such, it is a single self contained device that isn't very expandable. This reduces its usefulness in office environments for example. It is possible to have business data presented to this device with some development but, it would be far easier for this to happen on a server that these devices could connect to. At that point, you have a ton of other options available and it makes the entire solution far more expandable. They have a great device, but they are now in a corner that will take a lot of money to get out of. The good news is that Amazon has a lot of money to get out of the corner.
#31  
@DJ I would love a job at ez-robot! Let me get through secondary and I'll be on my way!
#32  
There's not much else that can be said then what has already been said by all you knowledgeable people. I will say this however; When I found EZ Robot 3 or 4 years ago I thought I was the target customer. I knew nothing about servos or getting them and motors to move in response to scripting language I had never learned how to write or understand. I had never dreamed I would be able to have a robot built and programed by me that would respond to my voice or visual sensors and act like it had a mind of it's own. Then I found EZ Robot and they made my childhood dreams come true. I now have a full sized TV/Movie exact replica robot that acts and looks just like the one I remember when I was a kid and so badly wanted one for my own.

Without EZ Robot, sure, I could have had a replica robot that just stood there and blinked and reacted like a puppet. I was discouraged thinking I would have to spend years learning the skills of writing code just to have him do simple things like blink lights and move his waist back and forth. When the hell was I going to have the time to do that? Like most responsible people in the world today I work my butt off for many hours a week keeping a roof over my family's head and food on the table. I was discouraged knowing I would be an old man before I was able to get this accomplished if at all. I'm not getting any older ya know. ;) I was so relieved and overjoyed when I found EZ Robot that I didn't have to spend my time left to me learning something I'd rarely use again after I made my dream robot. I was relieved beyond words knowing I didn't have to keep learning more coding languages just to make my robot do more things. I was relieved to know I didn't have to settle on a full sized puppet that just randomly recited phrases and stood there and blinked because I didn't have the time to learn how to code. I was relieved to know I could spend my time doing what I do best; Build things, bring my dreams to life and earn a living to take care of my family. ;) Thank you EZ Robot Team! :D

@Techno, go ahead and make your vid. However I don't think it's needed to help sell the EZB. It will sell itself to people who are attracted to it and need it. LIke DJ said that will be about 99% of all people (like me). The vid will be more helpful teaching people what the two platforms are so they can better understand what EZ Robot is and what Adorno is not.

People that think Adorino is the next step "AFTER" EZB have skin in the game and an agenda. They have spent a lot of time and expense (in more ways than money) learning these complicated languages. It's hard to walk away from all that. We can't really blame them because before EZB there were no other options other than a few GUI programs that attempted to assist in visually writing code. Then there the people that just like to spend time learning. Nothing wrong with that but most people just don't have that kind of time or energy.

Cheers! What a great thread! :P
#33  
As someone who is perhaps the most recent noob confused about just how EZ-robot works, perhaps my input would be helpful (or not).

Specifically regarding the video: for it to be truly helpful it would have to be highly available to us noobs. I CANNOT say there is any shortage of information on the site already that would help people understand the EZ-robot architecture. Despite my reading of various information I just did not 'get' it. For me I dove into specs and whatnot at did not look at a lot of introductory stuff that might have clued me in. There is probably plenty but I just missed it. If EZ-Robot is as unique as it appears to be then there will be a regular flow of people that don't notice the difference initially.

I think it part of the battle is because it is just common for the average person to think of robots as self-contained. Frankly a lot of people probably think of Hollywood robots and those are pretty much self-contained..right? Likewise, for those of us that are semi-technical and we have some knowledge or experience we are familiar with (in my case lego mindstorms mostly) the simple robot platforms that are also self-contained. My understanding on most of these is you program on a PC typically and download to the robot. As you know there are a plethora of arduino, raspbery PI and other kits that work this way. Also consumer robots like roomba or robots like toy like dogs and what not are pretty much always self-contained. In the back of my mind I guess I had a tecnical bias that just made me think that sending commands to a bunch of servos and all remotely just didn't even seem possible.

To me the type of device 'robot controller' versus 'micro controller' alone did not call out a difference. Also, with servo ports and I2C and this the ezb appears a lot like a beefed up arduino to us noobs. I did see that the program interface looked really good, but the lego mindstorms seemed on the the surface similar so that did not clue me in to the difference in architecture. I presumed the wifi connection was mainly for interaction not actual all processing. My particular initial application doesn't call for much of that anyway so was not a focus.

I now greatly appreciate the power and logic of the EZB architecture (although I have yet to power mine up!). To be honest though, most of my robotic project ideas are REALLY simplistic and don't require an EZB at all. So being a cheapskate and wanting to be efficient also really arduino is a better fit for most. Having said that, I am looking forward to using the EZB because I *do* have one project that is beyond arduino and the built in wifi/customizable controls is a huge bonus to about any project.

So that was in fact how I ended up coming upon EZ robot in the first place. I was looking at how do I remote control arduino through a mobile device using wifi. Not sure if this would be a common entry point for other likely to be confused noobs.

Maybe this already exists, but just some (more?) prominent points on a FAQ.... like "how is EZrobot architecure different than...x,y and z?"

I hope my perspective was in some small way helpful.
#34  
Wow, well said Kennard. Out of the mouth of babes (if you'll forgive me ). I'm right there with you.

Some of these guys here are so far ahead of the curve on the uniqueness of ezb and robotics in general then us common folks (the proclaimed target customers) that I think they forget how confusing this stuff can be. I think you're suggestion of more simple explanation of the uniqueness of ezb and how that sets it apart from x,y,z in several parts of this Web site is a great idea. It may be all that's needed.
#35  
Ken/Dave. yup, you have precisely captured the issue. The information is here in the forums, and if you watch some of the tutorials, it becomes obvious. But for someone new, who hasn't read through dozens of topics, watched videos or take tutorials, it isn't clear that EZ-B is different from everything else out there, and what is so good about it.

This page does a good job of explaining the benefits: http://www.ez-robot.com/About/Default.aspx and a careful reading of the page does explain how it works, but it doesn't jump off the page. Maybe just some edits there to really highlight that you are using all the processing power of your PC along with the rich features of the software combined with the powerful i/o of the EZ-B to go an (r)evolutionary step beyond anything previously available in consumer robotics is what is needed.

Then a mention of the various SDKs for those students or hobbyists who want the excitement of writing all of their code from scratch, and some examples of combining. i.e. Let ARC do all the heavy lifting, and write custom functions as plugins or with the SDK.

Alan
#36  
@kennard42 and @Dave_Schulpuis That is my goal. I don't want to "sell" ez-b's, but give a resource for people who may not understand or people who don't feel like explaining it for the 13th time.