News
Monday, November 4, 2013

EZ-B v4 and Revolution Update News

Hey everyone! I know it seems like I've been a bit absent - which is true. It doesn't mean that I'm not on the forum following your conversations. This is a very exciting time for EZ-Robot and the community. As the physical parts are being sent away for manufacturing, this leaves a bit of time for me to perfect the firmware and code.

It has been a really exciting few weeks - with great successes! The EZ-B v4 is absolutely amazing to work with. It has beautiful new functionality compared to the EZ-B v3, and is well over-the-top compared to anything else available. EZ-Robot is reshaping what the world thinks about robotics... And disrupting the industry while we're at it:)

Not only is the EZ-B v4 contained within a beautiful and stylish protective case - it is elegant and has a lot of thought put into how it works, how it connects, and how it can be used...

User-inserted image

The bottom of the EZ-B v4 has a male/female connector which docks to the body inserts of your Revolution robots. The little feet protect the power connector from being bent or scratching your workbench. The sides host heat vents to let the 2 internal 32-Bit Arm Processors breath. Including the camera, the EZ-B v4 has three 32-Bit Arm Cortex processors totaling a staggering 280mhz of combined processing power.
User-inserted image

The power connector mates with the power connector of your Revolution robot. The little holes let the EZ-B v4 fit securely in the body of your robot.
User-inserted image

Easy to insert, easy to remove and securely held in place.
User-inserted image

We have been exercising our creativity with more Clip'n'Play EZ-Bits. Including cubes, extenders and more!
User-inserted image

Our 4 MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers run 24 hours a day printing prototype designs to test. Once they are tested, the design files are sent to the manufacturing facility to be injection molded with durable ABS plastic.
User-inserted image

The new EZ-Robot Camera is specific to the EZ-B v4. It has a new style and shape to compliment our soon-to-be-announced new logo and branding. The EZ-Robot Camera connects directly to the Camera Port of the EZ-B v4.
User-inserted image

The top of the EZ-Robot Camera also includes a female EZ-Bit Clip'n'Play Connector. Your creativity doesn't stop at the camera, you can continue to connect more add-ons to the camera!
User-inserted image

The bottom of the EZ-Robot Camera hosts a male EZ-Bit Clip'n'Play Connector.
User-inserted image

The EZ-B v4 includes a Wi-Fi module for connectivity from your PC, Phone, or Tablet. Which means it has blow-you-mind features. First, it's an amazing thing to see the EZ-B v4 show up in your Wireless Network list.

User-inserted image

A built-in webserver allows you to configure the EZ-B v4 over any web client, including your iPhone, iPad, or Android device...

User-inserted image

The AP mode allows the EZ-B v4 to run as an access point. You can give it a unique wireless name and security settings.

User-inserted image

The Infrastructure mode means the EZ-B v4 can be connected to your network. By opening a port in your firewall/router, you can control your EZ-B v4 from anywhere in the world! Including from your phone, from anywhere!

User-inserted image

Finally, there is a basic diagnostics page. Which allows you to move a servo and trigger embedded audio files - simply for testing.

User-inserted image

Now, the real strength is in the new EZ-Builder - which now uses the EZ-B v4 as a speaker! Any sound files or speech will play out of the 2 EZ-B v4 speakers. There is one speaker in the EZ-B v4 case, and another in the camera.

User-inserted image

The new Soundboard for EZ-B v4 can now play files locally on your computer speaker, or through the EZ-B v4! This means full MP3/WAV audio streaming directly to the robot! Give it music to play as it dances. Or simply load the module with audio files for unique sound effects.

User-inserted image

There are new EZ-Script commands for streaming speech to the EZ-B v4 speakers. The new script commands also allow you to adjust the volume.

User-inserted image


And finally, the efficiency and speed of the new EZ-B v4 communication protocol is amazing. It operates over a two TCP connections. One connects to the EZ-B v4 for physical control of ports/servos/serial/i2c/etc, and the other streams the live camera feed - or other attachments that we will be announcing soon:D

The AutoPosition control takes advantage of the new network communication design to increase speed and efficiency. This means that behind the scenes, the servos and ports are controlled by single TCP packets that include the settings. So your behaviors are seamless, smooth and organic.

On the topic of organic, the servos now have 180 positions and increased speed ramping! This gives your robot life-like motions with amazing accuracy. The new servos we chose for Revolution can support up to 15kgs at 7.4v from the lipo batteries in our store.

We'll be creating many videos and a whole new tutorial section starting next week - when I return back home from some more traveling this week. The tutorial section is going to blow your mind also! I can barely hold back my excitement.

Last and not least, for all you hackers out there! The EZ-B v4 and Camera cases can be removed to expose their tiny beautiful PCBs. As you can tell by the camera next to the Canadian Coin, it is very tiny to fit in small places. We didn't forget about you hackers, so everything is designed to be taken apart and modified for your custom robots!
User-inserted image

There is truly nothing else in the world that competes with the EZ-B v4 and EZ-Robot Revolution. And we owe it to all of you! I know you'll love it too... Oh and yes, the iOS version of EZ-Builder will be released soon! (Android will be coming right after)


"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day..."
What is my ultimate plan, you ask? I see a world full of creative-minded individuals, like yourself, with ideas for robotics. Some of your ideas may be new products - however, creating a product from scratch is very difficult. By building and prototyping new product ideas with EZ-Robot, you can focus on the creativity, execution and completion. We provide the style of Apple, the technical ability of Intel and the productivity of Microsoft... We've given purpose to robotics. There is no reason why new robot products should not contain an EZ-Robot Brain:)

Think of all the new robot products being released each day. Now picture those robots in your home... Doesn't work, does it? They lack elegance, design and functionality. Products built with EZ-Robot do not need excuses for their lack of functionality or lifestyle integration. Spend less time fiddling with electronics and programming... Spend more time on creativity, function and design!

Over the past year, EZ-Robot has been supporting new products designed by community members, just like you! When we are introduced to an idea that we like, we help make it a reality. That, is the future of EZ-Robot. Supporting your dreams of a science-fiction tomorrow!
December 8 2013
Just to point out that EZ-Robot isn't only about entry level, it is suitable for entry level all the way up to advanced.

By having the Android version of EZ-Builder running the robot and controlling that EZ-Builder via another instance running on a PC you should easily be able to achieve most of what you want to do. The PC isn't just a remote desktop share, you can use every single control in EZ-Builder on the PC even if it's not on the project running on the tablet.

So in other words, you have the tablet with the emergency code running on board the robot, you have it monitor for connection to the other instance of EZ-Builder running on the PC, which is doing the more involved tasks. If it fails to find the connection it runs the emergency code until connection is re-established.

Not really sure where you see a problem in your last paragraph. The Dagu 4 channel motor controller is easily used with the EZ-B. Many of us run multiple motors from one EZ-B.
December 8 2013
Rich, thanks for taking the time to post. Maybe I can just pose you a challenge that may help you understand why EZ-Builder or EZ-SDK isn't always the answer.

Think about implementing an inverted pendulum on top of a platform like the Roli using EZ-Builder or the EZ-SDK.

Here's the first video result that came up on a web search
http://vimeo.com/2952236#


No swing up, assume you start almost balanced.

So we add an inverted pendulum on top with an encoder or pot to measure the angle of the pendulum. You balance it by moving the the Roli back and forth.

There is simply too much lag and nondeterminism in the transport and the host OS (windows / android are general purpose operating systems w/no latency bound guarantees). You would want to close the control loop locally on the EZ-B.

Why would anyone ever want to do an inverted pendulum? Rockets, segways, etc aside from just cool fun:)
December 8 2013
does the ezb provide connections excample to connect a led on?
or is there another board for it. *blush*
December 9 2013
Well, the pre-order credit had what I am sure was the desired effect. $50 credit, $97 order. But now I can stop trying to mess with an H-bridge, hobby motors, and scripting to add an arm to track-bot and just bought the 3 servo arm with gripper, a spare LiPo battery, and a few other bits and pieces.

Alan
December 9 2013
@nomad , you can connect a single led to each signal pin or you can utilize a switching transistor to control groups at a time.

@ncostes , looks like you want to do a balance bot ! I know Rich is perfectly capable but I wanted to assure you EZB is up to the task. One of the advantages of have 3 , 32 bit processors on board the ezb is the increase in response to accelerometers used for feedback on a balance robot. I'm not saying it's easy , as you said smoothly running a balance bot is a challenge but hardware will not be the hold up. I would love to do a balance bot but they can be impractical so maybe next year:)