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Subscribe to for robotics usability  2 posts, 2 voices

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Jan 21, 2008 6:30pm
Img_missing_medium dudenz 5 posts


I am a robotic enthusiast and therefore quite excited about the bug development. Also, that i read requests about some servo connector module made me think a bit.

It would be really cool to get some robots going without the need do develope all the hardware (in terms of computational hardware) by oneself. One might say: Isn’t that what LEGO Mindstorms is all about? But besides being a nice robot toy, it has some severe limitations. And I think BUG has the ability to overcome all sorts of restrictions just because it is so open to change.

So why did I put this up in "Suggestion Box" and not somewhere offtopic?
Well, because in the end I have some ideas which might be if nothing else some food for thought.

So far I have seen the BUG with only one camera module connected at a time. If not allready the case, it would be cool to get two camera modules working in order to enable stereoscopic vision. I imagine that this would require some serious amount of cpu power, therefore there are a couple of things to think of.
One would be, to connect two BUGs and let one do the stereo vision and environment modelling, and the other to do the planning and overall thinking.
On the other hand, maybe there could be specialized modules that have some sort of geometic and vision centered computing units (with special CPUs and memory). Those could do the modelling and picture analysis in order to leave the BUG mainly busy with the plentiful tasks of a robotic life. (Here I must say, I have now idea about what the connectors are capable in matters of bandwith from one module to another. It would be a shame it that would become the bottleneck.)

As mentioned the servo module above, I think it would be good to have besides such a dedicated module also some connector module which could be more software definable – to use besides PWM also Voltage outcome to regulate actuators. (If you want to use Nitinol for example.)
And in case a robot uses motors which draws some ampere, it might be goog to be able to have those powered by extra bateries. Actually, it might generally be a good idea to have all actuators be fed (or feedable) by an external source.

Also to take up an idea allready mentioned by someone else, the connection cables would be of quite some use. (The camera modules could be placed somewhere meaningfull on the robot without putting the whole BUG and its connection at the same place.) With such a cable it might even be a good idea to incorporate two cameras into one module which then would not be compliant with the sizes of other modules … well, maybe.

One last thing I can think of being important, is a way to have sensor input. By that I mean mainly sensors like incremental encoders. Those are for detecting the position of joints and actuators. So a module for connecting those would make it all complete. (at least i cant think of anything new so far ;-) )

Oh hold on. There is something I almost forgot. A module to have fieldbusses like PROFIbus, CANbus etc. would be sweet as well.

Well, all those good ideas of modules for "general purpose" sensory, like a compass, accelerometer, radios for wireless connectivity and alike, I won’t mention. But those are important too.

Wow, that became quite a long story. So if you made it down here: Thanks for reading. ;-)


Jan 23, 2008 2:55pm
Medium Bug Labs team kgilmer 215 posts

Hi Stephan!

Great story :). I do know that 2 camera modules can be connected at a time to a BUG. Also we should have extender cables at some point to allow the off-base leverage you are looking for. I do not know what fieldbusses are unfortunately… I think the Von Hippel module will be of use for at least some of what you are looking for…

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