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Help For The Newest Of The New

Hello guys and girls!

My name is Adam and I am extremely new to robotics. Other than a general love for it I've had my whole life, I'm not sure why only now I have taken the plunge and decided to give it a go myself. It's my birthday on the 13th of June and I'm hoping to get a EZ Robot JD Humanoid.

Now I have a million and one questions I want to ask but regardless of the answers I'm fairly confident this is the robot I want and this is the robot I will get. So firstly, I would like to ask a fairly general question about the limitations people have come across with the EZ-B v4? it seems like a powerful controller but I would still like to hear about anything people have attempted to do and been unable to achieve, be it skill level or the EZ-B itself being the obstacle.

secondly I would like to ask, what kind of experience anyone has with Artificial intelligence and the EZ-B? I'm not talking about trying to build my own Chappie or my own Sunny (iRobot), but I would love to ultimately be able to add some kind of basic personality to this robot and have it be able to respond to some basic chit-chat (somewhat like Cleverbot or Smarterchild). Would this be possible? Would I have to code it all from scratch and could that even be done? and lastly, could I link my JD to my laptop and then have it feed me information from the internet? maybe using text-to-speech and a Third-party app like CleverBot itself?

I'll look forward to finding out JD's and my own limitations where all of this is concerned and any feedback, advice, help or just a hello would be appreciated!

Thanks guys,

Adam :)

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The only thing I have seen a problem is trying to keep him upright, and when he does fall down, getting him to stop. Without the orientation sensor added and a script written in ARC, JD will keep trying to do the action told even on his side.

David crochan is currently working on his ez-ai plugin for ARC, which carries many capabilities in AI.
ARC currently has a pandorabot control, which is like a chat bot.

I recommend downloading ARC and getting the JD project and explore it

First, welcome to the community. You will find that people are helpful and like helping others to see progress. You made the right first choice of what to use.

You are already well ahead of most people in that you realized that there is a lot of power in using your computer to access external information. This is the way that EZ-Robot products work. The PC is the brain and the EZ-B controls the devices in your robot. ARC is a powerful platform that allows you to do anything that you want to do.

As far as AI goes, yes you can develop plugins that are able to utilize external API's such as Google, Watson, Nuance, API.AI, Stanford NLP or any other API's to build an AI. This eliminates a lot of the work of developing an AI from scratch. Also, As MazeHorizonTech mentioned, I am working on EZ-AI. EZ-AI consists of a small single board computer that is placed on your network and acts as a gateway to many online API's. This little server handles the load of the AI functions on your network and is able to be shared by multiple robots at the same time. The server gets its API keys from an authentication server on the internet that we control, and passes the data it receives back to a variable in ARC through an EZ-AI Client plugin. That variable can either be spoken or you can do actions based on that variable. This process allows you to just use ARC and not worry about the AI. EZ-AI currently uses Wolfram|Alpha as its knowledge engine, Nuance for its speech recognition and API.AI to decide the meaning of the statement that you made. We are going to be developing our own API.AI engine in time. As new features are added, you simply use a webpage to download the new features. We will be working on adding Google and Amazon Alexa as additional services, and already have connections to Watson that are just turned off right now. This will allow you to use pieces from any of these services instead of just depending on one of them. There is a huge push toward AI right now with a lot of new possibilities becoming available from each of these vendors weekly. If any of these technologies dont work out and die, we just point you to a similar technology on a different platform. Depending on one technology causes you to miss out on some of the improvements being made by others, but EZ-AI solves this for you. Check out www.cochranrobotics.com and the discussion groups there. We are currently in Beta for our ARC skill plugin but expect to have it available for sale in a few months.

As far as limitations, it really just all depends on your abilities. There is not a microphone port on the EZ-B, so you will have to find a solution if you want to talk to the robot when you are away from your computer. This could be a lapel mic or many other things. EZ-AI uses pods that can be placed in different rooms of your house, which then allows you to communicate with either the robot or the AI. These pods all share the same EZ-AI server in your house.

Anyway, welcome to the community!
I came to use EZ-Robot products already being a life long robot builder having created robot controller by Commodore64 computers, PC's and micro controllers. My initial fear was that EZ-Robot would not be flexible enough but that fear could not have been more wrong. I truly don't see any limitations with the product and I don't feel constrained using it. For me, it removes obstacles and lets me create whatever I can dream up.

You will have to code some in the form of scripts, but there is script helper and a "Scratch" option for more a point and click style. There will be learning curve of course as with anything, but I think you'll find it an fun and easy path to learning what you can do and how you can do. There are many project examples to learn from as well and base your initial projects off of, especially if you buy a complete robot kit like JD.

Happy Roboting Adam!
Hi Adam, and welcome to the EZ-Robot Forums!

Like yourself, I am relatively new here, but I can tell you from personal experience that you've arrived at the right place! I've found the EZ-Robot site to be highly informative and the forums to be an additional source of extremely valuable information.

I'd recommend going through the 'Learn' section of the EZ-Robot site, and work your way through the JD tutorials, these will answer many of your initial questions I'm sure. Make sure that you also download the ARC software which will allow you to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts and the overall layout even prior to your JD arriving! Performing searches in the user tutorials and within the forums is also a great way to mine for information on what is possible.

I'm a pretty accomplished programmer/scripter, but haven't ever been really great with hardware, so for me the EZ-Robot clip 'n play method has been a fantastic start to being able to build the robot of my dreams without having to spend countless frustrating hours soldering components together only to find they don't work.

I've only had my JD Humanoid robot for a week, but after assembling him, performing the initial battery charge, and calibrating the servo's (all of which took less than 2 hours tops) I had him doing simple things very quickly and I had an idiotic grin from ear to ear whilst doing it. No buyer remorse here!

As to capabilities... As far as JD is concerned they are (almost) limitless. Stock-Standard you'll be able to go a long way towards achieving a fairly intelligent robot buddy. In addition, the EZ-B v4 controller has ample room for expansion with other components and sensors, so you'll be able to expand your JD both with EZ-Robot and third party components quite substantially.

As for limitations, there are some of course, we're not quite to the level of achieving a Sunni quite yet:) JD can hold stuff in his grippers, but you'd probably struggle to make a stacker bot out of him. Since he does not have an ultrasonic distance sensor as standard it's hard for him to detect how far an object is away, so moving to an object, and picking it up from the ground is a challenge.

Being a humanoid style robot his gait is a little ungainly so getting him to autonomously move to a specific location is also somewhat difficult.

Voice recognition (for me) is one of my favourite features, and JD handles it well. Since it utilises the Microsoft Windows Speech Recognition technology, I was able to train it quickly to achieve a fairly high level of speech recognition and I have JD performing all sorts of things just by speaking to him. However, do please note that the ARC software does not use the 'dictation' mode of speech recognition, but rather you specify particular words or phrases which it will act upon when it hears those (it ignores anything else)

That being said, there are methods of overcoming most of these challenges. David Cochran's EZ-AI when available, will (I believe) allow speech to text in dictation mode that can be used within ARC.

And for a stacker robot or an explorer robot, one of EZ-Robots wheeled robots would probably serve the purpose better. Still, my recommendation is to start off with JD, he is so much fun! Eventually if you want to explore a stacking robot or an explorer robot you will probably want to supplement him with one or more of the wheeled varieties (as I will) or perhaps even branch off to coonstructing your own with the EZ-Robot Developers kit.

Either way, this is a purchase you won't regret!
@Aceboss @JustinRatliff @CochranRobotics @MazeHorizonTech (not sure if I needed to tag),

Yeah that all sounds pretty perfect for what I want it for. I'm more interested in the brain/thinking side of things at the moment and I already have a few plans to buy a more attractive (sorry JD!) body to mount all the insides to. depending on the robot I choose for that, I imagine it will eliminate any problems with movement or logistics, even if it does require a few additional components (like the sonar sensors and stuff).

I'll definitely look more into the AI side of things once I have one of these little badboys in my possession haha but still eagerly awaiting the AI created by David! Funnily enough I've actually been reading a few bits about that for the past couple of weeks. It sounds awesome and I want in as soon as possible!

Also, I was thinking of downloading the software and having a look but didn't want tick anything off on the learning side and then have it be removed and me forget it before I actually get a chance to utilize it but after reading on here and your comments about it, I'll download that tonight and start going through the basics in the morning!

With feedback and a welcome like this I think I have found my learning platform, parts store, software store and community all in one place! Thanks a lot guys, I'll be sure to post anything cool I come up with and any questions I need help with (I'll do my reading and tutorials first, don't worry aha :)) .

Thanks again and all the best. I'll look forward to following what you all achieve!
Welcome Adam! Happy birthday by the way! You've just given yourself the best present ever.

I cant really add to what was already said. However.... The EZ Robot platform is the fastest and easiest why to learn robotics. What's better yet is that as you grow in understanding and learn, you will discover new ways to use this tool and cooler things you can make your robots do.

The only limitation I've found is the Voice recognition. I'm not a fan of the MS engine. Dragon Naturally Speaking would be great to be able to use but EZ Robot does not support it. However as stated above Dave C. is about to make available a system that will blow us all away and give us a new way to use our robots. I'm petty sure he's using DNS for his Voice recognition. Also with EZ Robot and Voice recognition you can not mount the mic on the robot and get a good result. To much robot noise. The best way is to get a good quality Bluetooth head set or lapel mic.