Asked — Edited
Just curios when the V5 of EZ Robot is supposed to come out and what upgrades it might have?
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The v4.x/2 begins shipping May. With 400% speed increase, longer wifi range, new web server, tcp client, and increased connectivity/reliability. Mostly it's performance related.
since DJ said it is just conceptual now with a release date late next year, I think it is a good time to get your requests in.
The 4.x/2 has been described several times. Faster performance, an ability to have a USB connector add-on (replaces camera, but allows direct computer control instead of WiFi) and the ability to do over the air firmware updates are the three main features. DJ has also mentioned they are looking into an add-on board that could be programmed with a limited instruction set so that a robot could perform basic functions without a computer (like an Arduino but programmed from within ARC).
I could see that a V5 might have those add-on capabilities build in.
I would hope that some of the wish list items from this thread: http://www.ez-robot.com/Community/Forum/Thread?threadId=6984 which DJ said would not be done might be revisited if there have been any changes that make them possible (I think his answer about not adding more digital ports may change now that he has squeezed a 400% increase in WiFi i/o performance out of the V4.x/2).
Maybe time to revisit that thread or start a new wish-list thread.
+1, Like, Upvote, however we express our support here...
1. Wifi/USB -Connect to the wifi while still commanding it over USB, so that it can be connected to by multiple devices, such as a router would act. This would allow people to get adc and so on on multiple devices to that they can interact with each other.
2. On-board memory which can be programmed and triggered in preset states such as "Connection lost", "variable = true", "connection established", "Powered on", etc. This could allow start up sequences to occur without the device commanding it being connected, or allow emergency scripts to stop run away robots on an accidental disconnect. This could be configured through the web server.
3. Auto sensor or device recognition- this would allow the software to know exactly what you have plugged in and allow it to configure itself for what you have plugged in. This is an idea I am looking to pursue in the future.
4. More ADC ports- this way more sensors, switches, and buttons could be connected.
5. Multiple cameras/ stereo vision- because who said the kinect isn't cool beneficial useful? This would allow distance detection through the camera, which would allow better navigation and tracking.
6. No power base- integrate the inline fuse to the board to remove the need for the power base, which takes up way too much space.
7. Dedicated ports for RGB LEDs- plug in rgb leds right onto the board. This would allow lighting effects.
8. audio port/ external feed- Add a 3.5mm headphone jack to the ez-b, and make it an audio device in windows so no ARC is needed to send sound.
9. Better quality sound- because fuzzy crackly audio takes away from the overall epic-ness.
Just a few off the top of my head.
To put it simply, the ability to give the robot a command to go to a particular spot in a particular room based on its knowledge of the rooms, navigating on its own around obstacles.
The stuff that Richard R and Dave Cochran have been working on, but built in for those who don't have their skills.
Technology could be camera (or multiple camera) based, beacon and fence like a Roomba, QR codes or glyphs, or other things I haven't thought of. The goal though making it as easy as everything else EZ-Robot does, not requiring complex integration with 3rd party software or specialized hardware (although I would not be averse to requiring encoders and a motor driver that reads them if needed for precise position control).
to be effective it's necessary some kind of web tool where the ideas are submitted, validated, voted, commented, closed.
otherwise DJ will need vitamins to answer all the ideas and duplicates etc.
some ideas are software only or almost impossible to implement in the hardware or not commercially viable...
nevertheless everyone has a list
2) The v4.x/2 has onboard memory for some basic functions like that - which is planned for a future firmware update. It will be limited to disabling pins on disconnect, etc.. I don't have an ETA on this, but it's planned for a future firmware update
3) "Auto Sense" device recognition is a performance limiting impractical approach. Also, it would be a challenge for ez-robot to afford to create a sensor for every sensor in the world. No sensor is "Detectable" because they merely transmit signals. We'd have to create our own PCB's for every sensor... and they would all have to be i2c - and the scanning process of i2c requires a timeout per device.. this means the constant scan to "Detect" devices would be slow and affect other i2c peripherals, which would be 100 ms. So, in theory a scan of 127 i2c addresses at 100ms timeout would take 12,700 ms (12.7 seconds). That means you would only get one response from your i2c device every 12.7 seconds. Use the "Add control" menu option
4) More adc ports or analog ports will be challenging and most likely not possible. If you have ever looked at an ez-b v4 to see the number of traces, because power, gnd, audio, etc... there's absolutely no room for more ports. Even if we were to make it bigger, the traces for power and gnd would need to be even larger due to raising the power consumption. If you understood the amount of power consumption maths and planning to design the current ezb, you would not be asking for more ports :). Physics is your enemy at this point... We fit as much into the form factor as possible - use two ez-b's for more ports :D. Also bandwidth latency issues become a concern. Although, the v4.x/2 does have an approx 400% performance increase, that would compensate for the communication issues - but not the power traces.
5) We have thrown the idea around of having a wifi board that supports 2 cameras for stereo vision.... then we realized, anyone who wants it has an onboard computer. So, buy one of the hundred usb versions that already exist. There's quite a few usb stereo cameras out there - next step is for us or someone to create a control for it. RoboRealm i believe supports it, and they will have an ARC skill plugin pretty soon to make the transition easier.
6) It's impossible to add the fuse in the ez-b for certifications due to energy consumption, size and heat. There's so much physics to design what we already have designed - it cannot be improved very much, if at all. There is also very very very little money in diy hobby products, so any new products will always be clip'n'play and designed for the education/consumer product. The revolution product-line is what supports this forum and the diy builders like yourself. The best solution i recommend for that is to remove the power base by soldering power wires directly to the ez-b... like Dave has done with his b9. Of course, this is dangerous because you wouldn't want to break the ez-b
7) rgb led's - we actually have an rgb led ez-b which will be shipping with all the others soon as the v4.x/2 is online. This has nothing to do with the ez-b, but will exist as an accessory in May
8) There was no room to add an audio jack to the ez-b. The pins for soldering the audio output is your only option. New version will most likely not fit an audio jack either, due to size limitations and well, only 15 people on this forum will benefit from it, sadly.
9) Jeremie has been working hard on an audio filter for an upgraded v4.3/2. It's real hard to isolate the background static due to the very small foot print of the ez-b v4. The v4 is designed to the absolutely smallest size possible for providing the energy it does via power pins, and keeping the traces as close as possible. I think there's a huge overlook on this site regarding the impressive size of the v4 that jeremie took a whole year to engineer. It's probably a good idea to take your v4 out of the shell one day and give it a good look. Really lie down with a flash light and follow the traces and look at it... Seriously, look. It'll blow your mind. It's really really really really small for the amount of current that it is providing and the number of i/o. Every few weeks he thinks there's a breakthrough in removing some of the static - one day he'll get it!
10) "Indoor Navigation Capabilities" - this is not an ez-b related question. This is software related and/or hardware accessory.
I do have something very different planned for the v5 in 2017... But until we can find the technology which is small enough, i'm keeping it a secret :). It doesn't address the "more ports" or "audio jacks" or "internal fuse" questions. However, it does address something way more uhm... how do we say... self contained.
What i do think you are all asking for are more accessories which are clip'n'play and work out of the box - without needing to read datasheets and configurations etc.. That is what we have focused for 2016, so you will see a lot of new accessories starting May.. including:
- inverted pendulum (finally, but will require the v4.x/2)
- capacative touch
- rgb led
- 8x8 rgb led array
- usb adapter
- new 4-in-1 with an additional micro to "smooth" data
- digital servos
- and some more but i'm forgetting some of them
Lastly, it's probably a real good idea to try the v4.x/2. Trust me, it's a whole new experience. And the firmware upgrade aspect means new features and a variety of "firmwares" to choose from.
There have already been a few firmware updates distributed with ARC for the pre-release users of the v4.x/2
Also thanks for the honorable mention!
"i recommend for that is to remove the power base by soldering power wires directly to the ez-b... like Dave has done with his b9. Of course, this is dangerous"
LOL, Danger is my middle name! Of course the faint of heart robot builders can always place an inline fuse holder in the soldered on power pigtail to protect the EZB and keep the low profile. This will give you back your 20 amp fuse.
I second Techno's request for the 3.5 audio jack. However I truly understand the lack of space. The sound break out mod that allows the builder to channel the sound to an external amp really provides great sound. This lets us to tie into the EZB's audio circuit before the EZB's build in amp and use an external amplified sound system.
Even without my wish list items included, I cant wait to get my hands on the next new EZB!
I realize that indoor navigation is more software than hardware, although a couple of years ago when we were discussing this you had mentioned that you were working on a WiFi camera that would be able to be put in a room and used to track the location (or presence) of an EZ-B, so there could be a hardware component.
Have you thought about ptp's idea of having a web page feature for submission and tracking of feature requests, planned feature updates, and bug report status tracking? Advantage is that you don't get a lot of duplicate requests, and if you add voting capability you can get a feel for how important features and bugs are to your users. Disadvantage is that if it is publicly view-able, you lose some competitive advantage. When I was product manager for a large telecommunications software/hardware provider I struggled with this. I had a tool for tracking, but ultimately chose not to make it available to customers. We did put a place on our web site where customers could make requests and discuss them, and if I was absolutely not going to fulfill a request I would comment on the thread, but would only comment on things we were going to do when we publicly announced a release that incorporated the feature. On the other hand, I was able to use this forum to determine which customers I wanted to solicit for Beta testing.
Anyway, I think we have hijacked this thread enough.
As for the indoor navigation with the wifi - that's actually still on the list. I've had it for a while semi-working. The only challenge has been lighting conditions - which i think we have a solution for using a filter and dual cameras. Since 2016 is the year of accessories, i'm confident that you will see the navigation camera soon
I sure don't mind mentioning why we are unable to perform some of the suggestions. It's very educational and that's my motive... to educate. I still do recommend taking a real good look at the ez-b circuitry. It will surprise you how smart the routing is vs. it's size - and consider how many amps it will deliver given it's size!