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Australia
Asked — Edited

Is Anyone Using Urbi Sdk ?

Is anyone using URBI and if so, what are the advantages ?

Thanks

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Synthiam
PRO
Synthiam
#1  
I'd suggest downloading both Urbi and ARC to try them out:)
Australia
#2  
Ok..we are onto that, I wasn't sure if it would work with your board.

BIG QUESTION: DJ, have you had a go at taking ARC to the next level and used your powerful script commands to form a GUI like Nxt-G. Now I'm not saying Nxt-G is the ultimate but it's intuitive in that has structural visual form and follows in block combinations.

A version of ARC in that format would just blow everything away. A massive undertaking - I'm not sure, your the programmer, but it would be super cool...What do you think ?
PRO
Synthiam
#3  
Nxt-g is limiting by only allowing single process execution and is not scalable. It does not possess the structure to be flexible. It's a great tool for children and beginners who want a line follower. It's not good for full features robots. Theres a reason ez robot is in discussions with very large industry corporations:) if you have trouble with ARC, Nxt or anything else isn't a solution for you. Patience and accepting that a learning curve is expected with any technology. Youll just have to choose which one. Chances are, you'll return to ez robot because we will always have more functionality than anything else:)

As for that sdk. There is a section on how to add it to your custom robot. I don't see a benefit for us to add direct support to it. It's a complicated and limited version of what ez robot has already created. If someone added ez-b support, that'd be neat.:)
Australia
#4  
I hear what you say. Please understand I'm not saying Nxt-G is better or even compares to your EB. As you say it is more for children playing with Lego to form simple Robots. I chose to go with EB with my son and my brother because of the scalability and reach of the software. All I'm saying is that the format of how information is conveyed in Nxt-G is appealing in structure and presentation of information and something you could think about for the masses. It's a bit like the old DOS days of computing. Not so many years ago I listened to radio shows with PC enthusiast saying they were frustrated users kept complaining about DOS. DOS can do so much, they would say - why don't people just embrace, learn and further develop it. This was all coming from the programmers blinded by their own enthusiasm of a system that was simple to them but difficult for the masses. Then came along Windows, people just point and click, it's visual, intuitive and in a very short time it empowers people that normally would have nothing to do with computers. All I'm saying is that if your going to set up something that can reach the masses through appeal and simplicity, as you have done, don't overlook the fact you can always go one better - and I think if you listen to people that are sending you signals for continuous improvement, you will be around a long time. It's not about large industry corporations because they pull in teams of programmers that deal with whatever it is they are trying to do with your system. I'ts about an old man or a young boy saying - hey, I get it, that's ezy...if we add this to that we get a Robot that dances.
PRO
Synthiam
#5  
Nxt is limited by its user interface as a single process. The ARC software has more potential but requires a different layout - which is why ARC is a multi threaded control layout:)

I don't think anyone would compare ARC to MS-DOS.:) I think Arduino is like DOS. ARC is more like Macintosh. NXT is like Pong. Haha
Australia
#6  
Take it easy DJ, Pong is a great game Haha... Your right about Arduino being like dos but I think comparing ARC to Macintosh is a massive stretch - I think Steve Jobs would have grin on that one. If it was that good I wouldn't be writing to you to try and get you to think more on the average user side to improve your EB interface. Let's face it, web developers like Google, Successful game developers and MS application teams all trend towards WSWIG and away from text to reach their mass audience. I'm not talking about capability and or scalability, I'm talking about how people like to join the dots. Clever people converted zero's and plus (positive/negative) into text that became code which run through boards like the EZ-B back to a computer and we have robot magic. But to be honest, I'm not interested in that, I want to be able open up windows and join the dots - blocks - cogs - images and see intuitively how they join and interact with each other to form an outcome. What you have done is simplify script and dropped it into a windows type environment and pounded your site with instructions and examples on how to use it. Thats fine but it's all in pieces here and there. Sifting through all that takes time, and I mean no disrespect to those out there that enjoy that. All I'm trying to get you to understand is that if your trying to get from A to B, most people go the simplest easy to understand route. Steve Jobs didn't just wiz up Macintosh Gui and WISWG over night with a bunch of programmers. He brought in people that were musicians, painters, trades people and asked for their insight and ideas on what they wanted to see in a Macintosh for them to use it. He cleverly stood back from his own developers chair and by taking in the views and ideas of others, came up with new take on communication developing the iphone. Anyway, that's enough from me. I'm off work today so it's the dishes, some home maintenance and kid pickups. Now if you had a system to develop a robot that could do all that Mr SJ would be laughing, not grinning. Cheers DJ
PRO
Synthiam
#7  
ARC is a multi threaded graphical interface based on controls. Each control performs a configurable task. The controls can be linked using EZ-Script to create customized tasks. The tutorials on the website are built to demonstrate users how to interface with controls. There are over 2,000 users in ARC's existence (Which is about a year old). It's great to hear your feedback, however connecting dots using an NXT type single process interface will not provide the flexability and scalability that EZ-Robot is known for. It was concerned during initial architecting phase, but dropped due to limitations.

Our relationship with Apple as EZ-Robot being the only MFI certified DIY robot platform helps defend my claim that ARC is still the most scalable robot control/development environment around. And yes, it's Macintosh comparison worthy according to over 2,000 other users.:)

It sounds like you would prefer a single process design interface? I would recommend Lego for that. There are a few others, but Lego has the most followers. Multithreaded control environments (such as ARC) are designed for scalability to encompass beginner and advanced users. Of course, expect a learning curve to grow to the latter:D
Australia
#8  
I really like the way Labview works... I wonder if EB could be incorporated into a Labview environment..
That would be cool.. In any-case we have invested quite some dollars into your system and offering feedback to further improve it - hopefully to get you from 2000 users to 2 million in the not too distant future. We will persist DJ...once again..cheers, you have done a great job.
PRO
Synthiam
#9  
We've been in communication with National Instruments for quite some time. It's on their project plan to support EZ-Robot Hardware.

EZ-Robot is 10 months old, as a company. We're a very rare company because, unlike most startups, we began with revenue on day 1. That revenue goes back into product development for you. The code statistics is astounding; you wouldn't comprehend the size of the application that we've developed in less than a year.

Read More of EZ-Robot's Business Model: http://www.ez-robot.com/About/Get-To-Know-Us.aspx?id=4

In order to bring a company from 2,000 units to 2 million units - a great deal of infrastructure is needed. We spend a great deal of time organizing the company to support our vision for the future of EZ-Robot. That comes with project plans, understanding the industry, and partnership programs. All of which takes a great deal of discussion. Talking to Microsoft, Apple, National Instruments, and more is a lengthy process, specifically when everyone has their own agenda.

Labview will be a great add-on for EZ-B, but it isn't for many people. And i'm surprised you'd want to use it, given your issues with EZ-Script. However, if you are comfortable with Labview, than you can already begin using EZ-B with it. There are a few users on here who use Labview daily with the EZ-B using the EZ-SDK as a plug-in. Download the EZ-SDK and follow the directions in Labview to load .Net assemblies.:)

The dollars you've invested in EZ-Robot has been spent within a few hours of your purchase on software development. For example, since the date of your purchase, there has been X number of ARC releases you have downloaded and installed. Each of those releases has hundreds of lines of additional code and new features. Every purchase pays for your new features, so you don't have to start from scratch with code for your robot. Can you imagine if you had to program vision tracking? Or obstacle avoidance? Or Joystick support? Or anything else? The purchase of your product goes towards a growing software/hardware environment.

Since the day you started using ARC, imagine what it'll be like in a year from now! It's exciting... It'll most likely do your laundry, or drive your car:)

Click here to view release notes: http://www.ez-robot.com/Community/Forum/threads.aspx?id=3

Some of the items we have on the go include custom robot chassis for EZ-Robot specifically - flying robot, 2 bipeds, and a tank type thing, and a few other goodies including sensor blocks. The EZ-Bit's are being developed full-time by a new hire.:) It's really exciting stuff. But, it's a lot of work.

A large part of my day is reading and watching all of you - including posts like this. I'm not sure if you notice, but some features in releases are influenced by user activity on the forum. It's probably easy to overlook - but it's a tough job to extract and prioritize features.

I have a rule at EZ-Robot for the staff - Do not come to me with a problem unless you've included a solution.:)

I created this rule because my job is to find solutions 25 hours a day. And, to compromise between solutions to determine the most fitting - that's the hardest part. You ask for a single process graphical interface which already exists in plentiful quantities, but the world is missing a graphical multi-threaded interface... So guess what my compromise is? Lego NXT users who want simple line followers must resort to purchasing used NXT on eBay - meanwhile the rest of the world moves toward multithreaded robot control like ARC.

It's not an easy decision, because I'd love to make everyone happy. But it's important to progress robotics, it's my passion.:)

For many of us, learning is a satisfying feeling. To others, it's addicting. The entire reason behind EZ-Robot is to provide some useful pre-built configurable controls, while also providing a development environment. The development environment scales by using either EZ-Script to customize control behavior, or C#/VB to create your own controls.

This requires a learning curve. Much like how you learned to drive a car. Or put on pants:) . When you've accomplished learning - that feeling you get is pretty awesome. When you've accomplished learning EZ-Script, that feeling you'll get will be pretty awesome.

Why EZ-Robot logo is a smile: http://www.ez-robot.com/About/Get-To-Know-Us.aspx?id=5

:)
Australia
#10  
DJ - I am getting better with EZ script, you have done an incredible job and to be honest I'm certain I would not have taken it on to get my son inspired for doing electronics if I hadn't discovered your system. I think it's fabulous you are talking to some of the giants in robotics like National Instruments.

At the moment I'm struggling to get my son 14 year old Austin involved in the programming side of it. Even with Bob zooming around to our voice commands. I'll blame these computer games they play which are highly visual orientated. Please have a look at the site below, it's the best illustration of where I'm coming from. Currently you have ARC and EZ-SDK. I really like the way you provide the 2 formats and thats fantastic but for the many of us that are more visual orientated and block brained - you could some day add something like this below. It's open source and I'm sure you could adapt it to your EZ-Board. Your board has many advantages over those Aduino's and I'm sure you could make it multithreaded and all the things you say were missing in other programs.



Minibloq
#11  
Wow! What an interesting discussion. I almost enjoy the examination of the philosophy of programming techniques for robots as much as the building of them (but not quite).

I personally like using ARC because it allows me to quickly put together hardware and get immediate feedback on how my sensors and controls are working and at the same time, have fun working with a bit of logic, using scripts. The latest version is super, with the math enhancements!

I admire D.J. and the EZ robot staff for their Herculean achievement of answering the programming curiosity of both the beginner and the more advance user.

Hazbot: thanks for the link to Minibloq. I can see the value in this totally graphic "block-type" programming for many people. Windows 8 user interface resembles this.

What a great forum. Keep these fascinating discussions coming.
Belgium
#12  
Yes indeed ! DJ and staff did something remarkable. I think it is a milestone in robotics (for the masses). I thought DJ spent lots of time reading all of us over here. Pretty time consuming and sometimes I guess frustrating.
I think the EZ-B should get introduced in schools etc... to promote and stimulate robot building.
I'm talking to everybody about this awesome product. Btw, DJ, I can go on for hours like this.
Any change of getting a discount for the verbal advertising.....;) Just kiding.
At the same time a small question (allthough not in the right place). I've been digging into this forum but can't find it right away, what's the camera resolution?

Keep up the good work ! That's the spirit !

Phg
PRO
Synthiam
#13  
Thanks everyone:) I try to share as much as I can about what we're doing and focusing on. This whole EZ-Robot thing came out of no where. I never dreamed that it would be a full-time job.:)

I'm really happy that we finally have someone working on EZ-Bits also. Things are coming together nicely:D
Australia
#14  
DJ and everyone out there - I enjoy contributing to these discussions - probably not that much different from those the wright Brothers had perfecting their gliders - it's exciting and healthy development for all of us. It's kind of like when the helicopter idea came up with fixed wing and debates that followed. I'm still of the opinion that there are many,many, many more potential users that would hook in with a graphical inter-phase like julian da Silva Gilligs Miniboq. I work with teenagers every day and I know what they like and what they avoid (including my son). Now this guy created this for the Arduino's and similar boards (just like the EB). What I like about this gem of open source software (though not anywhere near as powerful as the EB) is that you it's both visually and intuitively appealing - that is to say at any time you can see the script code that makes up the square images he uses. That's fantastic.
He also has some additional things each square icon can do. Now it was Steve Jobs that said " Good Artists copy, Great Artists steal". This bit of software is a great opportunity for you DJ to examine something that you could amend into absolute brilliance. You took the first step by turning complex code groups into simple script commands and put those commands into a windows environment. Now you can take it to the next level using a visually appealing and intuitive gui like minibloq for those of us that are visually inclined. Come on DJ, don't miss this brilliant opportunity to expand EZ-B to the masses.

Hazbot
#15  
Not to start an argument, but that mini-blog thing looks a little childish. I did not get the LEGO hardware because it just looks like it is made for children. But, the visual part of NAO and MSRoboticsStudio looks a little more adult.

My 2 cents.
Australia
#16  
Hey Moviemaker, thanks for your 2 cents. Miniblog certainly is childish looking - no doubt, the point I've tried to make is that the future will be script or huge chunks of code formed into intiative blocks or icons (not so different to how we built our robots. DJ has the chance to develop something like this into his own - and I hope he does because if he doesn't - someone else will and that will be a sad day, DJ has worked hard and helped people like myself and my son begin a great journey. To his full credit he has turned difficult code into script - that's an enormous task - but as users he needs to listen and think about feedback from customers. Whilst he has done wonders getting interest in turning toys into robots (the mechanical side) he needs now to concentrate on all of us that want to go further and help us to get our robots to DO THINGS. You know Moviemaker, I see lots of start up robots on this site, but how many are finished and DOING THINGS. Where's the ROBOT. I have enormous faith in DJ and it's terribly frastrating that not once has he acknowledged suggestions on this subject. I worked on developing and promoting CITY SEARCH in Melbourne Australia for Fairfax many years ago when web sites were virtually unheard of. To keep up with things and the pace of change we would at certain times (go green) and completely re-think and change our strategies and development and it was always 95 % based on customer feedback. DJ tells me there are 2000 users in under a year of the development of EZ-Robots. That's great but it can suddenly stagnate into a niche hobbies market that will not expand into places it should. To be honest, I'm over it this discussion, I know what is likely to happen, I will persist with ARC in it's current format..and can only hope a re-vamp will appear some day soon.:) :) :)
Australia
#17  
UPDATE: Alan from EZ-Robots has finally acknowledged the need for a format change on ARC and the team are currently working hard on developing EZ-Cloud into something that can really help us.
That is a big breakthrough.... :) :) :)
#18  
Hazbot,

You have a point on the start-up robots. They are all the same. They give you GREAT hardware specs for a Very Expensive price. When you ask, as everyone does, "What can it do?" They will tell you anything you want it to do. It is up to your imagination. Then, when you get it, if you are not a professional programmer, it will just sit there collecting dust. This world NEEDS a robot that is already programmed, affordable, and available with an Extreme amount of A.I. built in. We are not there yet, and I am getting older. There are CPUs now that run so cool, they do not need a heat-sink. They operate off of laser light instead of electrical current. There are dual core and quad core motherboards now available. But, did you know that there are also cpus that have a hundred cores. We are being fed leftovers. If we could use the technologies that are really available, our robots would be smarter and do more things. But, it all goes back to one thing. . . . Software. It is the most important element. And we are lacking. D.J. has done a Fantastic Job to push this envelope forward in a VERY short while. But, it takes time and time is money.

Well, I will get off of my soapbox.

Mel
Australia
#19  
Thanks for your input Moviemaker, the bottom line is someone out there is working on what we both recognize is a critical part of Robotics. The kind of Microsoft brains that rocked I.B.M are no doubt - right now - working on software that will rock the Robotics world. I'm talking about software that with a few flicks of your finger on an I-phone or tablet, can get a robot doing different things around your house. It's just a matter of who and when. Some people are closer than others. I'm hopeful that people like DJ can come up with it first but it requires a delicate combination of vision , knowledge and a developer that can look outside the box (pun). Minibloq is software that combines code and build in a way that is the direction of Robotics for both kids and people like me that do not want to be bogged down with script. I don't need to know everything under the hood of my car to get from a to b.

It's all very exciting to think about.

Cheers :) :) :)