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Does The Ezb Require A Connection To The Pc, Or Can It Operate Untethered? And A

Hi there! New to the EZB, trying to figure out if I want to buy one or not. I'm going to cram a few n00b-ish questions into this thread too.

1. Does the EZB get compiled code loaded into it like an arduino? Or does it run some kind of remote processing code on the board and the heavy lifting is done on the PC that runs the EZ Builder software?

1. b. Does the video processing change the answer to the above question?

1. c. How does that play out with the android app? is the android doing the remote processing? or just control?

2. I am interested in retro/turbo encabulating my RoboPhilo similar to how someone else did here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEzokeEspLk
Is there a shared code repository where people share their code? Or do I need to reinvent the wheel? or try to contact this person directly?

3. If the EZB 4 is wifi only, how do you use a hand held controller? For example a Sony PS3 bluetooth controller, or a 2.4ghz generic clone. Do you have to build the hardware and software from scratch, or are certain hardware and software elements already done and shared somewhere? For comparison, arduino libraries abound for bluetooth modules and the Sony PS3 bluetooth driver.

4. I saw the EZ Robot offers 0 warranty. What's that about? I can understand offering no live support if you're a small shop, but no warranty on a physical good seems kind of crazy. Am I not reading in between some lines correctly?

5. If I wanted an older version of the board, say the EZB 3, where can I get one? With 0 warranty, used is just as good as new, but I can't find product searching. Are there no authorized resellers? Robotshop.com only has the v4, which isn't shipping at the moment. Has the whole company not shipped anything in the last 25% of its existence? That seems strange. I think I'm missing a big chunk of a puzzle. is there a kickstarter or something I haven't found yet?

*confused*

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Synthiam
#1  
The EZ-B acts as a gateway between all of your sensors, motors, devices and so on, and your computer or phone. "Nothing" gets compiled onto the board, and all logic is run from the computer or iphone/android. You connect via IP wireless network for V4 or bluetooth for V3.
b. no
c. It is a cloud based application. Because things are running via IP, the computer can be anywhere in the world. The phone has a wifi connection to the robot to control the robot.

BTW, when you stop to think about the above, you will come to the conclusion that the robot will be able to do much more than you could ever imagine with the other devices on the market.

Code is shared on EZ-Cloud and you can access it from ARC. Some people share a lot. Some dont, but let me assure you that you wont be reinventing the wheel. This is the beauty of ARC. It makes the simple things really simple, and the complex things simple. The really complex things like facial recognition and such can be programmed through EZ-SDK if they dont already exist. BTW, facial recognition already exists.

you control the device from the computer and a hand held controller. Download ARC and start using it. you will be amazed and you dont have to have an EZ-B to start using the software. This will help you understand a lot more.

I am not an employee so I cant answer #4

BTW, the V4 will blow away the V3, which blows away everything else available.

Download the software and play a bit. Download some of the projects off the cloud and learn and you will be hooked.

BTW, shipping on the V4 started a few months back. Their robots started shipping this month. Dev kits started shipping last month...

100 V4's were shipped out a few months back. They got rave reviews. It is like anything else. When you have a new product, you have to decide if you are going to do one of the following.
1. sell off most of the company to investors who gain control of your company
2. sell the old product while finishing up the new product and have upset customers that got the old product instead of the new product.
3. sell only the new product and deal with the short term complaints of people not having their items yet.

I think they did it right. They do not sell the old product anymore. They only sell the new product. Once the products are received, people quit complaining and be happy that they have an amazing product. In any of these 3, there is pain. The 3rd is the least amount of pain and provides a far more stable company going forward.
United Kingdom
#2  
4. To be honest, I wouldn't worry about it. Check the forums, DJ and the EZ-Robot staff go above and beyond to help solve all problems and even have gone so far as to diagnose and send replacement components out for repairs to failed V3s (most, if not all failures have been due to user error).

I can't speak officially but I would be sure that should your EZ-B develop a fault EZ-Robot would be on hand to aid you diagnose the problem and fix the problem. There have been times where it's been said on the forum for the user to send the EZ-B to EZ-Robot and they will take a look at it and get it working again.

The V3 has been discontinued for around 12 months now. Any stock of them has since been bought. There may be some V3s for sale once the V4s are all shipped and in the hands of the customers, if you really wanted a V3 that is however the V4 is the better board of the two.
#3  
Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to the design of the board (remote processing). My only wish is that it is more clear, since I almost ordered the product before understanding that.

Of course, answering n00b questions only leads to more n00b questions:)

I asked HQ about the warranty and they said they need to update the page to change to a 90 day policy. Much more professional, but still kinda short. But given the hobby nature of this product line, I think that's good enough, if it's well documented, especially compared to "THERE SHALL BE NO SUCH THING AS A WARRANTY. wink wink".

Are there any provisions for autonomy? For example, if I wanted to bolt the remote processing PC/android device to the robot, could it operate with little to no contact/control? Voice command would be useful for remote control like this, so that might be good enough.

Where are these rave reviews? On YouTube I can only find official vids. I'd like to read/watch them.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the SDKs. The SDKs lets you add more software on the PC, in other languages that you are presumably more familiar with, to do other things? What would be an example, in English, of something implemented in one of the SDKs?

Speaking of software: someone said cloud based. Does ARC only work when connected to the 'Net? Will it work in an isolated LAN?
Is the cloud component an optional feature to be taken advantage of, or is it a core component/requirement of the software?

If there are pages that go over these types/levels of questions, feel free to point me there. I couldn't find them when I was looking around over the weekend.
#4  
As for the autonomy you may be able to start an autonomous sketch from your device, if you know how to make our sketch autonomy. ARC does not require the internet, and I'm pretty sure the cloud thing is optional unless you want to transfer the sketch to the other device.
#5  
There are three primary options for autonomy

1. Have a on board x86 win 7 or win 8 pc. This can be a mini itx or even a tablet. Then link it to ezb V4

2. Have a stationary pc in your home and link it to your robot from wifi. This offers excellent range options. The pc does the heavy lifting and maintains voice control features.

3. Create a project , save to the cloud and load it onto a dual or quad core android 4.0 + device and run the mobile version of ARC. Certain things that are windows dependant like voice control won't be present on your mobile version right now.
#6  
To answer the question about shipping. The customers who starting investing in the V4 development in the form of pre-orders are obviously served first. Those pre-orders started around June of last year through the holidays then pricing jumped to a retail equivalent value.

It is a first order first ship situation. First are developer kits , then the six, Roli and JD kits will ship out to satisfy those orders. When you buy expect for your order to take 2 or 3 months to move forward while ez robot staff catches up on orders over the past few months.
#7  
The ez robot products have been featured in many publications and tv. Also there are educational shows for kids about robotics called scrapbot. This is on Gtv. Also see these other publications. The V4 is in limited hands as far as reviews. The few that showed up pre production were prototypes and it's not fair to review a preproduction prototype because development in software compatibility has substantially grown since the pre-order started.
User-inserted image
#8  
I watched the YouTube video of the Android Tutorial, and based on a comment above, it looks like the Android app requires The Cloud, not just a network, to get the file across. Did I get the message right?

I am starting to think that maybe I understand too much of the underlying technology for this to be a good fit for me:( This is going to drive me crazy!

I work for an electronics manufacturer doing ~3rd echelon tech support. I've built an RC lawnmower
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151287412450498.511478.720010497&type=1&l=472e912c7d

a little something I call my development robot (a roomba with an OWI arm and an android phone)
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151661868295498.1073741827.720010497&type=1&l=6c35cae267

and a heavily modified Printrbot LC
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152262642650498.1073741831.720010497&type=1&l=ec287e8726

though most of those projects aren't really finished :-/

I stumbled across EZ-B in the hopes of getting my RoboPhilo up and running kind of like I see here:
http://www.ez-robot.com/Community/Forum/posts.aspx?threadId=2095&page=2

I'm thinking that I might buy the board anyways, and learn what can be done, and ease into robotics software. I haven't found any other kind of a suite with a UI yet. The "shortcomings" that would normally be dealbreakers for a production system would be fine for an educational system, so since my plan is to get educated, I think I'll take the plunge.

As soon as I can convince my checkbook it's a good idea, hahahaha
#9  
again, Download the software and experiment with it.

The advantages to this archatecture include

1. The world of the internet now at the disposal (along with all of its RSS feed and websites) of your robot.

2. You can place a computer in the bot like an acer W3 if you would like to make a self contained bot.

3. The internet is everywhere, including your cell phone. If you setup your firewall correctly, it wouldnt matter where in the world your computer was as long as you and your robot are both attached to the internet.

4. You have the processing power of the PC. For example I7 with 32 GB ram and SSD drives on a fast internet connection. Much more powerful than an arduino or really anything else for processing data.

5. You have the ability to connect to 5 of these and have them work together to build what you want.

6. you have the ability to have many of these communicate with each other over the internet or via database storage and retrieval.

7. you have many of the things that you are going to do already developed in a very easy to use interface.

8. you can write applications using EZ-SDK and a .net language, Python, Perl or C for that matter.

9. you can come here and get information quickly and easily when facing an issue from others who have already faced the issue you see.

10. you can use digital, analog, serial, i2c and video that is very fast

11. the board that is controlling all of your devices is not bogged down with processing the data.making a much more versatile bot.

I will stop there but could go on for hours.

Other platform advantages if you want to call them that.

1. you can run without a computer or iphone/android connected via the internet or local area wifi network.

2. Broad acceptance which has more users and more websites.


The rave reviews were on this website in this community. There are others who have reviewed the V3 and were blown away by it that have posts on the internet. The specs on the V3 are far weaker than the V4 and the connection via wifi is much faster than bluetooth.

Ultimately it is your choice. I just let you know the facts. I have a very technical background and have had very technical jobs for over 25 years. I have been in the robot hobby for 15 years. I have seen many solutions and this solution breaks down all of the barriers that I had faced before. Infact, spend some time looking into the truly advanced robots that are out now and you will find that they follow this model. I am not talking about the hobby, but am talking about Toyota, NASA, many Japanese companies, and pretty much anyone doing anything powerful with robotics now. I guess if you are building a MARS rover or an underwater type bot, I could see why you wouldnt want to use a wifi connection, but other than that, I really dont see it. Even with those, I am sure that they have an onboard computer.

We welcome you into this community. It is full of some of the best robot builders that there are. The platform will let you get years ahead of anything else out there quickly. I personally think it would be worth your time to download the ARC software to see what is possible out of the box without any programming. I think your perception will change quickly about which platform is superior for robotics programming. I have used many different controllers over the past 15 years and this one is the first one that I viewed as a real game changer.

Think about how Apple changed the world of computers 30 years ago and then look at an ipad or iphone and you will start to realize what EZ-Robot means to the world of robotics. I am by no means an apple fanboy. They realized what Zerox execs didn't about how much a pointing device and windowed OS would change the world of computers. That is the type of change that EZ-Robots is and some people never realize that history repeats itself.
#10  
What I did was download the software as it is free. I then loaded up some of the projects off of the cloud which are free and started experimenting. you will be able to get a very good feel for what is possible without spending a dime. It will help you to decide if you want to take the plunge or not. If you are a programmer, you could also download EZ-SDK. It would allow you to experiment with writing your own apps for the EZ-B. There are a lot of tutorials with the EZ-SDK. Again, all of this is free to do. Once you are done with that and you are comfortable, I believe you will definitely want to take the plunge.
#11  
The general concept of ez robot ezb V4 is that it is completely scalable. The software ARC is for those who are not proficient in coding c+ , python , .net framework applications ect. Of course if someone has truly "outgrown" ARC which is not likely then they would prefer the sdk sandbox in which they can write code for all their own controls and modules. I have seen many who thought ARC wasn't much until they started using it. Then the next thing you know the excitement kicks in and they start asking questions learning about how to use all the controls. Since it scales up and you can 5 boards networked together under one ARC instance. That could literally be 250 servos or 100 sensors ect. It far out scales things like raspberry pi, galileo , arduino , netduino , basic stamp ect.
#12  
"I'm trying to wrap my head around the SDKs. The SDKs lets you add more software on the PC, in other languages that you are presumably more familiar with, to do other things? What would be an example, in English, of something implemented in one of the SDKs?

Speaking of software: someone said cloud based. Does ARC only work when connected to the 'Net? Will it work in an isolated LAN?
Is the cloud component an optional feature to be taken advantage of, or is it a core component/requirement of the software?"

In looking through what you had asked to make sure that all questions were answered, I realized that these were not.

I have used the SDK 2 times. One was to add the ability to grab a variable from ARC and store it in a MSSQL or MySQL database, or retrieve a value from a MSSQL or MySQL database and store it in ARC as a variable. This could be used in many ways including communications between robots. The other was at the request of a member here who wanted to get email notification through their robot. I build an app that checks a POP3 server and returns if there are new emails or not since the last time it checked. These were not a native part of the ARC software, so I made them with EZ-SDK and C#. Facial Recognition is another package that has been developed using the EZ-SDK, along with other things. These are posted on the forums for people to download and use for free.

ARC works without a connection to anything. To control a robot, you need to connect the robot to the ARC software. This is via WIFI IP network for the V4 controller. It was via Bluetooth for the V3. In order to access the cloud, you would need a network connection on the computer running ARC. The connection to the robot can be any type of IP network as long as there is a clear path between the computer and robot(s) that it is controlling for the ports it needs to communicate with the robot(s). If there is a firewall blocking port 23 for example, it wont work. As I am sure you know, firewalls can be on the PC, switch/router, cable modem, service provider or really anywhere along the chain of connections. This includes a direct connection between the computer and EZ-B's, local area network, wide area network or internet. The most limiting factor is the distance that you are able to reach with the wifi router you are using, but there are ways to extend this range to miles also.