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mindrobots
09-20-2011, 01:55 AM
From the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/take-me-to-your-metro-microsoft-releases-robotics-developer-studio-4-beta/2011/09/19/gIQAlH8cfK_story.html
"Like Micosoft’s .NET Gadget Toolkit (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/take-me-to-your-metro-microsoft-releases-robotics-developer-studio-4-beta/2011/09/19/gIQAlH8cfK_story.html), Eddie and the RDS let hackers and hobbyists cobble together powerful tools using Microsoft software, a move that I suspect Microsoft hopes will discourage the use of the traditionally open source software platforms used for many robotics projects. While it doesn’t matter if Windows ends up in some kid’s school project, it does matter if that same kid installs Windows 10 on the Mars Rover prototype she’s building for Grumman a decade or so later."

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-20-2011, 02:45 AM
<groan> That makes it sound as if Parallax has gone to the Dark Side. (Have they?)

-Phil

SRLM
09-20-2011, 02:49 AM
It would be nice if Parallax would make open source equivalents to whatever software they make for RDS. I'd image that there are preloadable Propeller EEPROM images that will poll sensors and control motors, and that there's some sort of PC side interface. I've been Windows free for over a year and three months now.

RossH
09-20-2011, 02:51 AM
<groan> That makes it sound as if Parallax has gone to the Dark Side. (Have they?)

-Phil

Hmmm. Perhaps not as far as the Dark Side. However, it does look distinctly shady around here these days.

Ross.

Ken Gracey
09-20-2011, 02:58 AM
The Parallax portion will be totally open: hardware, Propeller source code and anything else related to this project.

Ken Gracey

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
09-20-2011, 03:11 AM
Ken,

That's good to hear! Not that I was really worried, given Parallax's recent push for openness. But I'm glad you confirmed it! :)

-Phil

SRLM
09-20-2011, 08:10 AM
I think it would be fun to make a simple PC side program that can control the robot. Something with a GUI where you can semi-graphically build control, possibly something like Alice (http://www.alice.org/) with their GUI based psuedo programming (screenshot (http://childrenstech.com/files/2010/04/alice3.png)). Here at my University we use it to teach programming to non-CS people, and in the CS orientation class for freshman CS majors. An EDDIE robotics version of Alice might make an interesting Senior project, I'll have to think about it.

william chan
09-20-2011, 10:20 AM
Can Eddie work well without the notebook and without the Kinect?

Loopy Byteloose
09-20-2011, 10:35 AM
Ah yes, fear and loathing of M$ mindwash.'

My personal experience is that until I set Windows aside and learned Linux, I just wasn't able to progress very far with learning much about computers.

Why so?
1. Well, there is the 'buy something if you want to do something' approach to getting things done.
2. The lack of open source means that the best and brightest that share information have gone elsewhere.

We have evolved into a world that wants to 'money-tize' everything we do. I fear that this is not really a good way to go if we are to have a society that is based on peaceful, sociable interaction. At some point, learning about anything is based on an openness and willingness to share knowledge.

You can only 'money-tize' learning and play up to a certain point, then it gets onerous.

Parallax has excelled because they provided the IDE for free when everyone else was trying to money-tise it. So let the others listen to their Marketing Departments, the lawyers, and the accountants; business is still about knowing your customer and keeping the relationship - NOT always about the next best technological buzz

Jay B. Harlow
09-20-2011, 10:10 PM
.NET Gadgeteer toolkit is open source, its based on the .NET Micro Framework, which is also open source. A number of the .NET MF 4.2 additions were done by non-MS developers.

http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/

I haven't looked closely at the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio...

Jay

Matt Gilliland
09-20-2011, 10:45 PM
Can Eddie work well without the notebook and without the Kinect?
But...of course!
-Matt

Matt Gilliland
09-20-2011, 10:49 PM
I think it would be fun to make a simple PC side program that can control the robot. Something with a GUI where you can semi-graphically build control...
So...what's stopping you? :nerd:
-Matt

erco
09-20-2011, 11:16 PM
Truly cause for concern.

Because I heard SHE a lot louder than I heard Micro$oft... :)

Forgive me, Helen & Maja !

GordonMcComb
09-21-2011, 12:26 AM
I think it would be fun to make a simple PC side program that can control the robot. Something with a GUI where you can semi-graphically build control, possibly something like Alice (http://www.alice.org/) with their GUI based psuedo programming (screenshot (http://childrenstech.com/files/2010/04/alice3.png)). Here at my University we use it to teach programming to non-CS people, and in the CS orientation class for freshman CS majors. An EDDIE robotics version of Alice might make an interesting Senior project, I'll have to think about it.

Sounds like a good plan. To give you an idea of the "world at your fingertips" possibilities here, I'll describe a little of what I've done, without an Eddie, RDS, or Kinect. I have a Madeusa, which is an Eddie without the top deck or Propeller board, but with 10 Pings instead of 2. I've added my own top deck, plus "sub" decks for other electronics. I've posted a pic or two in other threads, but my bot looks like Eddie, without the Kinect.

I've controlled it via USB from an XP laptop (so it won't even support the Kinect API), Bluetooth, XBee, and just a main microcontroller on board. For Windows, I've used Processing (with the Arduino and Firmata library), but I prefer my own brew using .Net -- it's easy enough to port to Mono for any OS that supports Mono. I haven't dived heavily into RoboRealm, but this sort of stuff is what it was made for, and the demo is free for trying. Most of my vision stuff is written in DirectShow, but I'm also learning AForge, which is a higher-level wrapper to Video for Windows. DirectShow programming requires a lot of patience, so anything to simplify that is always welcome.

The HB25 controllers on the Madeusa/Eddie take simple serial commands. For the processor I've used an Arduino Mega and a beta version of the PropBOE. Both work well, and the PropBOE provides built-in connections for XBee and an as-yet-undisclosed WiFi product. (Details on the PropBOE are available here on the forums, so I'm not spilling any beans.)

If I'm not processing video back to the PC, I prefer to use XBee for 2-way control communication rather than have the laptop riding the Madeusa. This isn't a Madeusa issue as much as it is a convenience for me. I use the same laptop for general programming while I'm watching TV, and I prefer not to always disconnect and reconnect it.

Even at 9600 wireless it's fast enough for most data transfers, and a pair of XBee transceivers are cheaper than Bluetooth. If I have video, I might broadcast it back, but the quality suffers, especially as I have a cheap 2.4 GHz transmitter (yep, same band as the XBee -- makes life interesting). I'm saving my lunch money for a 5.8 GHz video transmitter/receiver pair. Life may be very different using WiFi.

I've used the Propeller Backpack to superimpose environmental data over the video stream. Sensors on the robot collect such info as compass heading, GPS heading, temperature and humidity, light level, gas levels, and so on (all of these are Parallax sensors, BTW -- see where I'm going here?). It's fun to drive the Madeusa and watch the bird's eye view, and look at the data change in real-time as you go from one area to the next.

-- Gordon

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
09-21-2011, 02:28 AM
Any chance of getting some EDDIE video footage of it doing something cool?

OBC

Matt Gilliland
09-21-2011, 03:37 AM
Any chance of getting some EDDIE video footage of it doing something cool?
Absolutely!
We're currently testing the first batch of controller boards, and assembling the full systems for the first production run.
Pics of boards to come...as well as videos. We made them today :-)

-Matt

SRLM
09-21-2011, 04:15 AM
So...what's stopping you? :nerd:
-Matt

The standard hasn't been released yet and I don't have a EDDIE emulation program for a Stingray... And uni starts on Thursday.



...The HB25 controllers on the Madeusa/Eddie take simple serial commands. ...
-- Gordon

Doesn't the HB25 (http://www.parallax.com/tabid/768/ProductID/64/Default.aspx) use a standard servo pulse?

Anyway, I'd probably use Python or Java for the computer side activities. Both are cross platform, support GUIs, and have lots of handy features such as FTDI serial support. I'd probably also put a PostgreSQL server on the onboard laptop, and maybe some sort of HTML/javascript server. From there, it would be fun to make an inventory robot that will drive around and take inventory of a "warehouse".

An interesting application might be for a local Second Harvest food bank. I volunteered at one nearby a few weeks ago, and one of my jobs was sorting mouldy onions from ok onions. Perhaps a useful activity would be to have a robot wander around at night and take daily inventory with location information (this was a very large warehouse) so that employees can keep track food location and health.

RonP
09-21-2011, 05:05 AM
The specs for the Eddie Electronics say "Integrated high-current H-Bridges for 12V motor control" makes me think they Speed Controller's are part of the Eddie Board. Do you guys know if it is shipping with HB25's?

-Ron

GordonMcComb
09-21-2011, 05:31 AM
Doesn't the HB25 (http://www.parallax.com/tabid/768/ProductID/64/Default.aspx) use a standard servo pulse?


Technically yes, but on the Madeusa (not sure about Eddie, but I would have assumed it's similar) you control the HB-25's indirectly, through the position controller. The position controller is commanded serially by telling it how far you want to go, and in what direction. The controller then interfaces to the HB-25 and supplies the servo pulses.

You can, if you wish, directly operate the HB-25s by issuing pulses, bypassing the position controller.

@RonP, I'm not sure what "integrated" means in this case, but it does sound like it's all on one board, rather than separate, like it is on the Madeusa. Elsewhere they talk about position controllers for the wheels, so I'm not sure if these are the same as the wheel position kit modules, or something new.

-- Gordon

graffix
09-21-2011, 05:40 AM
Is an assembled Eddie with a laptop and kinect a plug play type platform.Or basically for experienced people?

william chan
09-21-2011, 12:24 PM
Can the Quadcopter land on Eddie's top if the notebook is not there?

Jay B. Harlow
09-21-2011, 01:01 PM
Can the Quadcopter land on Eddie's top if the notebook is not there?

Can you land 3 or 4 quadcopter's on Eddie's top if the notebook is not there?

An idea I had last weekend, that my son got a kick out of.

A support system of poles around the perimeter of Eddie's top where each set of 4 poles are staggered higher then the previous set of 4 poles. Each set of 4 poles would have "hooks" on them to hold the beams of a quadcopter; would solenoid powered latches be required on the "hooks"? The lowest set of 4 poles would be fixed, each set of progressively higher 4 poles would have solenoids on them to lower them outwards to allow the next quadcopter to be launched. The quadcopter on the tallest set of poles would launch first, the talest set of poles would then fold outwards out of the way. The next quadcopter would launch, and its poles would folder out of the way... Once all the quad copters have launched the Eddie would look like a flower with all the poles radiating outward like spokes...

Landing would be the reverse, the lowest one would land, the next set of poles would come up, the second lowest would land, the third set of poles would come up, etc...

It would be fun to see at least 4 quadcopters on the Eddie, but I'm not sure of what the practical limit would be, for both space for the poles & solenoids, and for center of gravity on the Eddie with a series of quadcopters stacked on top...

I can see major cool factor in groups to see this launch platform to navigate out to the launch area, and have a series of quadcopters to launch into a formation of sorts... Then to retrieve and land again...

Jay

william chan
10-04-2011, 12:37 AM
Is Visual Studio 2010 a requirement to start programming RDS and EDDIE?

Mike4421
10-10-2011, 12:29 AM
@ william chan...i dont thinks so... I think you just need C#2010 Express, most likely C#2008Express, then load the new RDS R4

JonnyBritish
10-18-2011, 05:07 AM
Hello

Although not claiming to be anything like Alice, Microsoft Robotics Studio does have a gui based programming system called VPL or Visual Programming Language. Using this you can create your robotic application without writing a single line of code. Instead you just drag / drop and link blocks on a design surface. Here is a link showig what it looks like - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb483088.aspx

In addition a book was published recently that focuses on VPL - http://www.amazon.com/Development-Microsoft-Robotics-Developer-Studio/dp/1439821658/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1318914315&sr=8-3

As you can imagine the system is extensible so you can create new blocks for VPL.

John O’Donnell
ISV Architect Evangelist
Microsoft Corporation
Twitter: @jodonnel