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Asked — Edited

Well It Is Official. Cochran Robotics Inc Gp Is A Company

Spock wont be worked on in a while. I will be focusing on getting a few products to market by November of 2016.

I had a meeting with my investing partner last friday. He is willing to back the projects and has offered a very considerable amount of money to do so. His father owns a very large company in india who already has contracts with Chinese manufacturing houses and India based support firms. We will leverage this to help us get the ball rolling when we start production and after the products get to market. I should have funding for a prototype by the end of the week.

An artist friend, who I met because of EZ-AI is working on the concept artwork. I thank him deeply for his willingness to do the artwork as I can't draw for anything. Once complete I will pass this on to the mechanical engineer (a friend of my wifes). I will use his equipment that he has available to him (6 axis CNC, Really advanced CAD tools, fluid flow calculation software for Injection mold modeling, resistance calculating software based on the model and weight, Electrical engineering software for calculating current flow and resistance of electronics and extremely high end skills at product design and documentation necessary for taking a product to market). He works for a major company who makes a lot of industrial equipment so his expertise will be very valuable. He will make the 3D models and CAD drawings of every component from the artwork provided and from the list of items that I have chosen for this product. He also has the pull of the large company he works for to get CAD drawings and detailed schematics for everything that I will be using. This will help a huge deal.

The goal is to get the prototypes complete by December of this year, and get the parts being manufactured and ready for assembly by July. From there, we will hire in people to build the final products. The nice thing is that I don't have to rely on a kickstarter to get things going. Pieces are falling into place and it is very exciting.

My son will be finished with College in December of this year. He will be helping me to write the software for the robot through the next November to fine tune the software for release. There are quite a few things that are going to be added, which will eventually find their way into EZ-AI.

I have some questions out to other people/companies about using their products with my products. This will help to determine which way I take some things. Voice recognition will be a very important part of this project. I will be using a tablet or really light weight computers. Because of this, voice processing would be nice if it were done off the computer and this is where Watson or DNS Cloud will be a huge help. It is really amazing all of the tools that are available to make insane products now. It will only get better from here.

I will be making a trip to EZ-Robot in August or September. I will present the products concepts to them for a couple of reasons. DJ, I wont be asking for money so no worries there :). I want to build a business relationship with them because the products will be using the EZ-B V4 controllers and some other components. It is a good idea to share this with EZ-Robot because their products are driving mine, and for them to understand what I am doing is very important to me. I am not saying that this product would drive them in any direction, only that it is good for them to understand what someone is doing besides what can be stated on a public forum. Richard, I will let you know when I will be at EZ-Robot. I would love to meet you and anyone else on this community in the real world.

With all of that, poor Spock is going to take a break from development. Who knows, by the time I get back to him, they may have legs out for him.

I will be getting that Ultimaker 2 that I have been talking about shortly and will be able to tell if it lives up to the hype or not. I will be working on this project a lot in my spare time, so I wont be hanging out in the community as much. I will be dropping in from time to time to see what's going on with everyone else's projects. I always enjoy reading about other people's ideas.


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#2  
I wanted to add one very important thing...

I wanted to thank everyone in this community who helped me out. Some have helped me with project ideas and ideas of what I could use in some areas that would be very helpful. Your projects are great an I thank you for sharing them. I specifically want to thank toymaker. You have been very helpful on and off the community forum. Your ideas are always spot on and your willingness to help is awesome. There are so many others and naming names would take forever, but I have to name a few. Richard, Rich, Dave and so many others, I thank you. Also, watching nomad grow up with robots has been fun. There are a lot of projects that I studied a lot when I was learning about this platform. I really learned a lot by just observing how others did things with their robots. Also, EZ-Robot as a company and group of great people. Without all of you I would still be frustrated with making other platforms just blink lights.
#3  
David, I wish you much success with your business endeavor. Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.
PRO
Belgium
#4  
@D.COHRAN

i didn now you mention my name .thank you for that.
you are a naturel born teacher.

i dont have a clue what you going to do,but am sure it wil be stunning.
congrats.
#5  
Awesome David.... I am happy for you, man.... and yes I am still hoping to fly out to Calgary to meet you....:)
PRO
United Kingdom
#6  
Good luck David, I am sure your venture will be a great success!

Tony
United Kingdom
#7  
Thais is great to hear David. Along with everyone else, I also wish you the very best of luck with the new venture.

You are clearly a very talented and valuable member of not just this community, but with everything else you do educating the kids. The help you have offered me personally in the past has been great and I am truly grateful. You deserve every success and I wish you well with the new project.

Steve.
#8  
Congrats David. I am anxious to see what you are planning.

Alan
#9  
Also from me Conratulation!

I think also you will have big success with yours plans!

Boris
PRO
Synthiam
#10  
Excellent, David. Looking forward to meeting you and hearing about your secret plans:) exciting times!
#11  
Thank you all for the kind words.

Ya know, the only issue with passing the work out to more qualified people is that I don't see each step of each and every process. I guess that is a good thing, but today I didn't feel like I made a lot of progress. Yesterday was crazy productive though and will remove months of work from the project. I will be redesigning the cochranrobotics.com website soon. I am really torn about putting too much on it though. Anyway, if you go there and see changes to make it look more business like and branded, you will know why.

Thanks again for the kind words and I look forward to meeting the EZ-Robot team and Richard too.
PRO
USA
#12  
Wonderful news and best of luck moving forward! Thanks for all your help along the way with Alan.
PRO
Canada
#13  
Looking forward to meeting you too David, Congrats on starting a new Company!
Canada
#14  
Very exciting news David! Congrats on the new venture. It'll be great to meet you when you make the journey to EZ-Robot HQ.
#15  
Congrats, David! Even though I'm only a newbie here, its easy to be excited about your potential success and I join everyone else in the community in wishing you "bon voyage".

Ron

ps please send postcards!
PRO
USA
#19  
I hear ya Dave, I'm working on Alan's site with Wordpress...as Dr Smith would say...."oh the pain the pain"
#20  
:) thanks guys. it is up now. Going for clean look that I can start adding art to soon.
United Kingdom
#21  
@David.

I'm loving the now look of the website. It certainly is much cleaner and easier to navigate. You are off to a great start and you do have a nice user friendly site to build on now. And I'm certainly looking forward to seeing more about Rafiki. Sounds intriguing.

Nicely done.:)
#22  
Thanks Steve. I did it myself:) I think it will be very useful to share information about the product as we make progress. I do like the clean look of it and the ease of Nav. It will go good with the look and feel of the products also.

Thanks for your feedback.
#23  
Dave, what web development tools/software did you use?

Ron
#26  
Best of Luck ! and Much Success..

Ron
PRO
United Kingdom
#28  
David, good to see the Rakifi information on your website, it is very impressive and should be a really nice product range. Looking at the spec you must be using the Omron B5T HVC Face Detection Sensor Module - this device looks very interesting and I am looking at using it myself, but it may be very difficult for me to source here in the UK, Mouser have 7 units in stock in the US. It will be exciting to see how your new robot works out.

Tony
#29  
Tony,

There are things in Europe that I might have issues sourcing also. We may have to work something out. If you would like for me to pick up one of these and send it your way, I would be happy to.
PRO
United Kingdom
#30  
David, I will take you up on this kind offer (and will obviously send you the payment for these components) and would always be happy to return the favor of helping you source any European components that you had trouble obtaining. I plan to produce a custom PIC to interface the B5T HVC to the v4. I am finding it hard to get comprehensive data on this module - enough for me to start writing code.

This module does stuff that most robot builders can only dream about!

Face recognition
Face detection
Facial pose estimation
Estimation of facial expressions
1) Satisfied
2) Unsatisfied
Five different emotion expressions:
1) Happiness
2) Surprise
3) Anger
4) Sadness
6) Neutral
Human body detection
Gender estimation
Age estimation
Gaze estimation
Hand detection
Blink estimation

Tony
#31  
Hi Toymaker,


i was speaking with mousser, because there sit in Germany,

What Modul you have?

The Demo Kit for 600

or the UART Kit for 170

because i thinking to buy also this modul, but i don´t really know how to send the signals from the Board to the EZB4.



Boris

It will be great if you can programm a connection between this board and the EZB4
PRO
United Kingdom
#32  
Hi Boris, I cannot get a module here in the UK, but David has offered to send one over from the States. I plan to produce a PIC microcontroller that interfaces the B52 HVC to the v4, but I obviously need to get the UART module first and get a comprehensive data sheet for the device.

Tony
#33  
Hi Toymaker

here is a datasheet for UART Board:

http://components.omron.eu/getattachment/96a1ca40-d68e-4a2b-9aca-80470a68edb2/HVC-datasheet.pdf.aspx

And here some Info what i get from Mousser:

L1: Sup said : If the customer requires the HVC to connect to a PC, they will need our evaluation kit, B5T-E-001-S(G). This comes with the HVC module, USB converter board, a USB cable, and the demo software. The B5T-001001(G) only comes with the module and the reccomended cable part numbers are provided in the data sheet. Also, if requested, the demo software is available from us separately. For the demo software, we require customer information (company, application, location, etc...) OKAO and HVC resource page: https://components.omron.com/components/web/webfiles.nsf$FILES/AOT_OKAO_H C.html

LINE 1+2: B5T-E-001-S(G) IS EVALUATION BOARD, WHICH INCLUDE HVC MODULE, USB CONVERTER BOARD, USB CABLE AND DEMO SOFTWARE. B5T-001001(G) IS JUST A MODULE, WHICH INCLUDE ONLY HVC MODULE (NO CONVERTER BOARD OR SOFTWARE).


Boris

Maybe i f i also get a board we can work together?

Because i am bulding a InMoov Robot and this features will be fantastic!
PRO
United Kingdom
#34  
Boris, I found that datasheet, but it does not give enough information on how the comms work for this module, the full data sheet for this product would be much bigger. I was not planning on using USB converter (evaluation board) as its expensive and also not in stock. If I can find out how it fully works then I would be able to do a PIC that does the interfacing so the USB converter would not be needed.

It may be that Omron are not letting the full data sheets out, if this is the case then it will be impossible to code for.

Tony
#35  
Hey Tony,
I have purchased your B5T HVC. I will contact you by email.
#36  
What exaxly you must know,

i am speaking in this moment with the service.


Boris
PRO
United Kingdom
#37  
Thanks David, can you see if they have the evaluation board in stock? I do not mind also paying the 800 bucks for this as this would allow for a very quick evaluation of the module that I could report back on.

Boris, I need the full data sheets that let me know what the make-up of the comms packets (and interactions with the host) that this module requires.

Tony
#38  
I have contacted Omron to get a programmer's reference for the B5T HVC.

The issue is that we know what the pinout is, and we know what the format of the serial communications is. What do you send to it to get it to do one of its functions. The functions are listed, but what is the string of characters that you would pass to it to run one of these functions?

Hopefully Omron will be able to provide the information.

Here is what we know
Outline: Receives the command controlling the module from the host and sends back the detection result info.
Transmission System: Full-Duplex bidirectional system
Transmission protocol: Non-procedure
Synchronization system : Asynchronous method
Data format: Start: 1 bit: Data: 8 bit Stop: 1 bit, no parity
Transmission code: NRZ. Logic Low: 0V Logic High: 3.3V
Transmission speed : 9600 bps to 921,600 bps - set by dip switches 2-4

The connection would be CN1 which is a SM05B-SRSS-TB connection from JST.
Pin 1: Vcc
Pin 2: UART RX
Pin 3: UART TX
Pin 4: GND
Pin 5: Reset - reset is active on 0V ( logic 0)



We know what functions are available, but how would you go about sending the function to the controller (what would your string look like)?

You can figure out the string that comes back but it would be nice if they provided what that was to look like.

How do you tell it to train a face?
#39  
Tony, they have 8 on order. I will monitor their site to see when they come in.

I have a feeling that this board is selling as quickly as it is being manufactured.
#40  
@toymaker

i asked also for this, we will see.

What is your opion?

Better is to take the expensive 600 Board with USB connection to the PC?
PRO
United Kingdom
#41  
Boris, with the USB board we can just plug and go (using their software) and we would instantly see how good the device is. Doing it the UART way means we have to build the interface first before we can evaluate anything. I am happy to pay for the USB (evaluation board) if we can find one in stock anywhere.

Tony
#42  
It depends on if you are going to be buying one or buying 1000. If you are buying one to use in a single project, I would say that there would be much less head scratching with the expensive board. It should be pretty easy to write some code in C# or some other PC based dev language to get the data from the usb.

If you are marketing a product like Tony and I are, it is much better to get the cheaper one and figure out how to make it work correctly with our particular devices.
#43  
Ok,

@david: so my problem is i can´t programmed in C#. I only can use stuff from other people.... ;-(

@toymaker: i see in mouser.de there are 8 in stock (with Converter Board)

Boris


PS: And i see 3 Board (without Converter) sold in the last hour ;-)

who bought them ;-)
#44  
Boris, It looks like there is a reason to learn a new and very valuable skill:) I don't know if their software will do much more than display the information from the board. I think that you will need to either wait until someone has interfaced with it for the EZ-B, Arduino or PIC and see if they will be willing to share what they have done. I wont know which path I will go down until I get the board in my hands and have some time to play with it.
PRO
United Kingdom
#45  
Boris, they have 8 on order which (I think) means they have no stock and are awaiting for them to come in. The UART boards are in stock though.

Tony
#46  
Hi Tony,

anything news from the B5T HVC Board.

Do you get one?


Boris
#47  
I have the production board and the documents necessary to write something to communicate to it. Tony had me pickup a dev board also. It looks like it is about 2 weeks out from delivery. We will be able to see how it works with this board to see if it is worth messing with or not. I dont want to plug up the prod board until the proof from the dev board is complete. After it has been proven that it is worth the work, I will start writing.

My project will be dependant on Windows 10 which is supposed to start releasing tomorrow. I haven't written any code or modified any code yet because of this.
#48  
Hi Dave!

Nice to hear from you again!

Yeahh Windows 10 comes in Germany tomorrow @ 6:00 in the morning.

So only 10 hours waiting.

I will install the new Version to my InMoov Notebook. I hope it will be better in Speech Reco.


I hope you are able to find out a connection between this Board and EZB4

And i hope also the board is usefull, because the features for face reco are really cool.

The Story with DNS, i think so, we can put on ice.

Maybe the Win 10 will solve the problem.


Boris
#49  
Yea, DNS with the extra cost per device is not very practical. The cloud seems to be the way to go. I will be experimenting with it soon enough.
#50  
I got the dev camera board in today. I won't have time to play with it until this evening. I will post a video when it is up and running.
#51  
I am not going to get to the video today. I do have to say that I am impressed with this little board. The facial recognition is as good as anything I have seen. Also human body recognition is cool. Being able to tell gender and age is really cool. Also, it does a pretty good job of estimation facial expressions. All of this is really good in a robot.

I do have to say that the board is much more responsive when not passing back video, but that is to be expected. Handling a little data over serial is much more preferable than handling a lot of data.

I am going to start messing with the code for this board tomorrow, to write an app that can retrieve the data from this board via serial.
PRO
United Kingdom
#52  
David, I am looking forward to seeing the video on this. This is a very exciting development for my ALTAIR robots, all these vision features coming from just a single embedded board! I not sure how I can add the board to the EZ:1 head as it is already crowded with sensors, but I will find a way!

Tony
PRO
United Kingdom
#54  
David, that is a great video, thanks for doing it! This is a serious addition to our robot builds (giving us vision features that are so advanced) I am looking forward to experimenting with it myself! Keep the units as long as you need them - it is good to have your take on the system.

Tony
#55  
Can all the info be sent back to the EZB?
Do you think that it would be possible to control the different function through the EZB.
example: Say with a script to turn on the expressions and once you get that info to be able to turn it off?

It would be nice to have this and when I get home and it sees I'm not in a good mood to tell my wife now is not a good time to bug him ... :D
United Kingdom
#56  
I'm with Herr Ball on this as well. It really would be fantastic if this could easily be intergrated in to ARC. It would of make such a great and really useful addition. Could it be possible? And thanks for taking the time to make and post the video David. Very nice demonstration.
#57  
The device communicates on a serial port. Features are turned on and off through the serial port. Data comes back through the serial port. The EZ-B has a serial port, so I would say yes.

The plan that I have is to use an arduino or PIC controller to be able to pass commands to the camera. For example, something like "Turn on Face Tracking" would be passed to the arduino or PIC. This device would then send the appropriate command to the camera to turn on Face Tracking. The result of the camera sensor would then be passed back through the Arduino or PIC which would then handle any business logic needed to make the values logical. It would then pass the information back to the V4 or to the PC for use in EZ-SDK, ARC or UniversalBot. The only reason that I could see that the V4 would have an issue with this is if it is flooding the bandwidth. Limiting the data that is going through the serial bus on the V4 or any other controller would probably be advisable. This is why I am going to put a subsystem in place to handle the business logic, but you could do a lot of it in a script. It is just all about knowing the commands to send to the sensor and what to expect back from the sensor.

There is an extensive programmer's manual which is really nice that is available from Omron but it is a bit of a pain to get your hands on. If you would like the document, I can sent it to you.
#58  
One more thing...
There are usable libraries available from Omron that are C/C++ objects. These can be referenced from C# or other languages pretty easily.
#59  
Dave, to duplicate the testing you did will require one to purchase the $750 kit from Mouser ?
#60  
Yes. I bought the dev version from Digikey. The reason this is required is that it has the the usb connection to for the computer. The usb connection converts USB to Serial for use with the board. The ~$211 after tax and shipping is the one that contains the actual sensor. This is what you would want but I would wait unless you want to do some development work to interface to the serial port.

I dont know when I am going to have time to do this work yet because of so much else that needs to be completed. I may have one of my devs do it for me but I dont know yet. I really am having to give away a lot of the dev work to others to make sure that everything else happens that needs to happen so ultimately this might be one of those things that is pushed to them. I hope not because it is an amazing sensor and I want to play with it badly.

Anyway, to duplicate what I did, the ~$825 after tax and shipping is needed right now.
#61  
Thanks for the info Dave, I'll certainly wait a bit to see what else may be possible by you and your development team. Like you, I think this combination sensor has just a bit of everything for visual reality.
PRO
USA
#62  
That is an amazing piece of hardware. As Tony said this could be quite an advancement in consolidation, if you will. Every robot and toy can benefit from this little guy!
PRO
United Kingdom
#63  
From what I am now finding out about the v4 UART link, I (personally) think it will be difficult to get this device to work reliably with a direct serial connection to the v4.

Any device (like this) sending continuous serial packets we probably have the same issues that I am seeing with the ALTAIR head PIC network with lost data and packets.

I think the only way to interface a sensor like this with the v4 is via a PIC or Arduino this way error correcting can be attempted by the interfacing microcontroller.

Tony
#64  
Hello Tony,

i hope somebody will find a way with a Arduino to connect the Omron Board to the EZB4!

Whats up with your Board, you got it?


Boris
PRO
United Kingdom
#65  
Boris, I will produce a PIC to interface this sensor. David kindly purchased the sensor and dev boards on my behalf - He will be sending these to me in a few days so I can start working on them.

This sensor looks to be a game changer in robotics and will add great new features to my ALTAIR robots.

Tony
PRO
United Kingdom
#67  
Hi Will, yes it is, I have done a lot more testing and am finding real problems with the v4 UART link and continuous serial transmission - I will post more information on my original thread in the next day or so.

Tony
#68  
Hello Tony,

if you are producing a PIC and it works, i need also a PIC.

It´s possible to get one from you?


Boris
#69  
@Toymaker

I got my cameras today. I will send yours out this weekend.

@Rentaprinta

Tony and I are using this for commercially available robots. The issue that we both have is that we don't want to give away something that we create and load onto a PIC or arduino. It kindof kills the sellability of our robots if everyone else can do the exact same thing. Tony has been kind enough to show some of the technology that he has put into his robots and I am doing the same. It's not good business to then give away the secret sauce that allows either of us to make money. While we have worked together and helped each other out, I dont have any of Tony's secret sauce in my robots, and Tony doesn't have any of mine in his. We do use similar or the same components in some areas, but what makes these components work is unique to each of our platforms.

I would be willing to pass along anything that has been given to me from the vendor, but I cant (and I suspect it is the same for Tony) give away what makes my product sellable. I will be happy to give away early versions of my software, but no longer share the the code.
#70  
I say all of this, but I am sure if you wait for a bit, someone will interface an arduino with one of these, and then it is just a matter of exporting the received serial data back to the V4.
#71  
Hi,


So i was thinking this is a "Community"

I understand also bussiness!

But now i bought a Omron Board for nothing!

I was thinking, that we (sorry i can´t programm in C+) find a solution to use this board with the EZB4.

But i know: not to much thinking!
#72  
It is community. It is sharing of ideas. It is someone getting a piece of new technology and showing what it can do so that others don't have to go spend the time and money to do so. If someone is interested, sure buy it and go to town. Its not "Make my robot work for me". There are plenty of people willing to give away what they have done and I am one of those. I wont give away my code for driving the motors that I will be driving unless I do that inside of ARC. Once in ARC I will give away everything I do. What I can't do is give away something that I program or pay someone to program that is proprietary to my company. That hurts my investor and my employees. I hope you understand.

Edited to convey the idea correctly.
PRO
Canada
#73  
@rentarprinta don't worry the community will likely help you either way, it looks like a lot of people are interested in the Omron B5T

I will help look into the serial communication issues that @Toymaker is experiencing. I have had great luck with the hardware UARTs on the ez-bv4 so I am a bit confused. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with WiFi signal strength.

@Toymaker are you connecting via AP mode or Client mode?
#74  
@jeremie

i hope you are right!

It´s not that i want to have a finish solution, i also offer my help and time to get a good solution! Is there a chinese work, no prob i can do it!
#75  
I would be happy to help you figure out how to make it work. At this point I can't offer much help other than the programmers reference though. I haven't tried to connect to it outside of the software that they provided which wont be of much help.

I need time to see what I can do, and then if you would like help, I can help you. I just can't give away a completed solution like you asked Tony to do with his PIC. Knowing Tony, he would probably help also.
PRO
United Kingdom
#76  
Hi Jeremie, I am using (default) AP mode, and the wifi channel is not busy during these tests. From what I am finding sending/receiving small amounts of data via the UART is no problem. Its the receiving of continuous data is where there is an issue, so not to hijack David's thread I will post more info on my original thread.

Boris, I totally agree with David, we are both working very hard to build commercial robots that we both want to sell one day on the open market. To do this we have to have some advantage, USP (unique selling points) over any possible competitor else we will not be in this fledgling business long. I have produced a number of custom PICs so I can hugely enhance what the v4 (and ARC) can do. These devices only cost around a pound each, so for the end product they have a very low prime cost overhead impact, but someone has to produce the firmware for the PICs and this is the expensive part and it is also with this unique code where the commercial advantage is. Many people do not understand this and get upset when I will not just give away the microcontrollers or code - if I just did this then I would soon be seeing my tech in competitors robots without any credit or remuneration and my USP advantage would be no longer there.

If I was just a robotics hobbyist it would be different, I would have no problem in sharing everything. Also like David I am happy to help others where ever I can, its just the custom PICs that are the issue.

Tony