View Full Version : New Prod Suggestion: Small NM Starter Bot
I posted this in the misc.robotics newsgroup, also:
Maybe a small robot kit that can be controlled by the most minimal form of TiniPod, TiniAVR, etc.? Offer a cheap upgrade option --- maybe in the form a RAM with more elaborate software --- such that the same gear can be repurposed when the hobbyist decides to spring for the more expensive stuff? Maybe collaborate with Gordon McComb and offer the electronics side for one of his great platforms? Budget Robotics + New Micros! Call it the "BR/NM RugBurner" ! Or the "NMBR One" ! :cool:
08-22-06, 03:38 PM
Hi jcd. Thanks for taking the time to share ideas with us.
In general we've avoided doing any robotics kits. What we hoped to do was have the very best possible robotics controller, and eventually every robotics manufacturer would use us.
We talked to Jim Frye at Lynxmotion when we first brought our 'Pod's out, and he was in a tiff about Parallax. Up til then, he had been using them almost exclusively. Suddenly they were bringing out their own robots, which were in direct competition with Jim as he saw it (rightly so). So we told Jim we wouldn't do that. We wanted to sell electronics, and he could sell robotics the electronics went into. Likewise, we'd like everybody making robotics turn to us for their electronics.
That said, we do have a special deal in the works. We've aquired several hundred of the very nice swiss made gear motors with encoders on them. They work very well with our new DDM (Differential Drive Module). This DDM consists of a PlugaPod(TM) sitting on top of a dual H-bridge module. Together, it will have all the drive electronics to control two medium current DC motors with feedback, and still a couple timer lines left over to do 2 RC Servos, or sonars, etc., and extra A/D inputs, and so on. The control of the DC motors will be beautifully controlled PID with profiling, with Steering and Odometry, and more.
So we are thinking of giving away a pair (2) of these ($160) motors with the DDM when we release it. We'd probably provide a laser pattern to attach the whole thing together, which some laser cutter would probably even keep a few already cut out to go. Which puts us dangerously close to making robot kits.
Yes, we really do like and respect Gordon and what he is trying to do there. Gordon and I have discussed several ideas, like a stepper controller sonar hear, but so far we haven't struck any working agreements. (Notice he is electronics free, sort of like we are robotic hardware free.)
Wow that sounds great! I'm looking forward to seeing the differential drive module!
Thanks also for explaining the non-compete thing with Lynxmotion --- something I had not considered at all. Shows a lot of integrity on your part to stick to that. Maybe you could offer a promotional kit comprised of one of Frye's or McComb's bases with your electronics & with full agreement with that company, thus promoting both companies' products ? Just an idea!
Hopefully I too can develop a working relationship with you guys when I feel like my robot kits are ready for release!
Anyway, thanks again and more power to ya --- you guys deserve it ! :)
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