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Some Questions Before Buying

Hello all, and good evening. Before buying one of your Revolution robots, I have a few questions.

1. Do the actual instructions for the robot belong on the computer or the robot? e.g. Is the code being run on the computer, then transferred over using bluetooth, or do you upload the code to the robot and is then executed locally?

2. I consider myself more inclined to use C++. I know that there is some sort of an API, but is there documentation? Adding to that, can I choose not to use the ARC if preferred?

I came into the robot market, seeking sort of a "blank canvas", where I'm just looking for the necessary hardware/kit, and a API to use with it. Because this is one of my first robots, and I'm looking towards this as more of a learning experience than trying to create a fully-functioning end product.

For example, even if you do have a personality generator built in, I'd rather create my own decision trees, even if just to learn and be able to say I did it myself. I'm the type of guy who wants to understand how almost everything in my own creation/build works. If I don't, how can I even call it my own?

Do you think the Revolution robots(specifically JD) are right for me, or should I explore other options?


Thanks for your time, and sorry for the (kinda)long post.

AI Support Bot
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Synthiam
#1  
1) Computer does all the work... all instructions/control/reading ports, etc is streamed to and from the EZB4 (over wifi) in real time... No code is downloaded to the ezb4. In a sense the EZB4 is a puppet being controlled by ARC running on your PC or Handheld.... That's what makes the EZB4 so powerful and an arduino killer...:P

You can't get voice rec, camera tracking and other advanced features without the power of a PC... The Arduino is a basic microcontroller... The EZB4 is a full blown robot controller... big difference...

2) Yes, there are sdk's if your so inclined to do it the hard way...:D

3) You can program anything you want... ARC has a seriously powerful built in "scripting" language that can pretty much do anything you want to do... No need to crunch C++ to get results now...:)
#2  
1. Well, the ezb4 has instuctions on it (which is not changeable by the customer - it's not like an arduino), but the primary control source comes from the computer with running the EZ-Robot software and is transmitted via a wifi connection from the computer (or your network) to the ezb4. A linked computer is always required.

2. Yes and Yes. You can download the API now and see all the included examples. The examples are broken down in a way that make it easy to see how different functions work. If you are an experienced coder I don't think you'll have many problems. If you are learning you'll find it frustrating more than likely. The documentation for the API is not as robust as say the online learn section for building a revolution robot or using ARC. The code in the API sort of speaks for its self. Start with the most basic examples and if you run into problems search the message boards to find solutions to questions already asked and answered and ask new questions for new problems you encounter.

Honestly, I think if you give ARC a shot, you'll find it is more robust then you may envision. The built in scripting options will probably provide you the tools to create what you want. Most people that use the API, like myself use ARC as the primary control method and build out additional software as needed.

If you want to take advantage of what EZ-Robot offers I think a JD robot would be a great investment.
#3  
Thanks for the quick replies.

I am an experienced coder, so good examples should be sufficient, and well-written code speaks for itself.

I'm really used to programming the controller itself rather than the computer, which then controls the robot. It's interesting, but I can already start to see the benefits.

I'll download the SDK, and let you guys know if I have any more questions.
#4  
>>I'm really used to programming the controller itself rather than the computer, which then controls the robot.

Yes indeed! Many of use came from that way of thinking too, I know I did. It was the only way for a long time. EZ-Robot is different and at first I thought, "No way...I want control of the EZB and have control code over it"....but after seeing what others were doing and using the product, I got it....the customization and controls are all in the software running on the PC. The EZb has been optimized for ARC software controls and/or SDK controls that are sent to the EZb. It removes many headaches and design challenges and makes it easy to build a robot and create your own vision.

Before using the product I feared it might be too "locked down", but that is not the case at all. Don't be shy about asking questions!
#5  
The phrase "too locked down" is honestly the perfect one to describe most of my fears about pre-built robot kits. Great to hear that it's not so!
PRO
Synthiam
#6  
Don't start too complicated. C++ is a blue collar language that is very rarely used and is incredibly restricting. I would highly recommend starting in ARC to learn the capabilities and limitations of robotics as an industry before diving into C++. If you're concerned about "locked down", then use the UniversalBot which is entirely open-source. This website is incredibly vast with an absolutely incredible amount of information. Take your time to learn in steps.

Start with ARC, because I guarantee that you're requirements are much less than NASA and we have customers there who use ARC...
#7  
lol, I bet my requirements are quite a few steps down from anything NASA's doing.

I'm already fairly familiar with the language, so I'm not really diving down into it. But I think I'm in good company here, and it looks like you guys have a great set of tools to go along with the kit.

Appreciate the response DJ, and can't wait until I start developing with the robots. Browsing through some of the older threads, it looks like you guys have a really awesome community here.
PRO
Synthiam
#8  
Thanks for recognizing that! Means a lot:) We don't have customers - only community

If you're heart is set on C++, the UniversalBot sourcecode can easily be ported to C++. We didn't create it in C++ because our general census is C# and .Net is the most prevalent in education and our enterprise licensees. We do have C++ clients, and they write their own libraries from scratch for their unique application. Sadly, you will never see their code - neither will we:D
#9  
Any time, that's really a great way to think about your supporters.:)

By no means am I a die-hard C++ programmer, and I'm fine with using a combination of C# and ARC. Honestly I'm fine with any way, as long as it gives me the freedom I want(after seeing what people have done with your Ez robots, I'm sure it will).

I'm was pretty set on Ez, but after the comment about customers/community I'm cemented. A great community is always a good sign, no matter where one is going.
PRO
Synthiam
#10  
you'll fit right in:D

If you visit your profile settings, there's a checkbox to join our evangelist team. It's an idea I came up with 2 weeks ago about getting our community to help and share comments, etc on other blogs. I haven't actually used it yet because I had to take a last minute trip to shanghai last week and only returned to Canada this weekend.

Brookstone is carrying our product - and I notice they default sort products on customer reviews... so i'd like to get all evangelists together soon to comment on brookstone's JD to get the rating up higher:D
#11  
Sure thing man. I support great products when I see them.
#12  
@youcant_just - please keep in mind their are kids that reads these forums, mine included, and prefer not to see the fowl language. Can you post a video of one of your robots that is fully functional, and not in design stage? Keep in mind Richard_R helps us all out here in this community and has built at least 2-3 fully functional robots.