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Marcus8675
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 09:35 Becareful when selecting a Core-Duo ITX board. As I was searching today, I thought I found a good one at a decent price but then after closer inspection I realised there was no firewire port. That would make the new USB expansion board useless. You need to look over all the specs closely to get a good fit. I wonder if a Core-solo with hyperthreading would be good for a video service running. Via makes great, low power processors for embedde dapplication but the math power of those processors are a bit lacking.
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jamesbruton
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 16:32 My personal thought for video processing (using RoboRealm), was to take it entirely off-board the Bot by using an IP webcam and processing the video remotely - then sending commands back to the Bot/BRIAN over IP.

Obviously it's nice to have everything running internally to the 914, but for a home based only setup, and if you have another decent spec PC anyway, then it's a low cost option to getting the 914 to do things without bogging down the CPU. You could run a speech app remotely too and just speak into a mic in a fixed place in your house - attached to anothehr PC (or a radio mic etc).

Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2007/02/23 09:08
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aldebaron
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 17:24 jamesbruton wrote:
My personal thought for video processing (using RoboRealm), was to take it entirely off-board the Bot by using an IP webcam and processing the video remotely - then sending commands back to the Bot/BRIAN over IP.

Obviously it's nice to have everything running internally to the 914, but for a home based only setup, and if you have another decent spec PC anyway, then it's a low cost option to getting the 914 to do things without bogging down the CPU. You could run a speech app remotely too and just speak into a mic in a fixed place in your house - attached to anothehr PC (or a radio mic etc).<br><br>Post edited by: jamesbruton, at: 2007/02/23 09:08

I've been giving ip webcam a great deal of thought also. Though i'm more oriented (currently) to home based setup, what you point out about CPU bog is the part that intrigues me.
Are those Dlink's on your bot ? love the look but wouldn't fit the skin head mount, don't think. How do you like the Dlink's ??
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jamesbruton
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 17:46 I put two DCS-900s on to demonstrate the point that you could keep adding IP devices to the bridged LAN connection. I don't have the plastics for mine yet but I don't expect a single cam to fit in the 'eye' part of the head without hacking the plastics.

I have another plan for mounting cams on a tall (telescopic pan/tilt) stick which will be better for vision anyway so this will be fine. You could probably place one in the front drive bays too.

The other option is to use the RoboRealm Distributor to feed the USB cam video off to another instance of RoboRealm running remotely that does the processing.
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motters
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 17:52 If you can stream the data fast enough, offboard image processing may be a good option. From an R&D point of view chances are that by the time you've developed a vision system for your robot an ITX board will be available to handle the processing requirements.

If anyone needs a camera calibration tool I recently wrote one which can be found here http://code.google.com/p/sentience/wiki/CameraCalibration and downloaded here http://code.google.com/p/sentience/downloads/list . It's primarily indended for stereo cameras, but also works just as well for a monocular vision system.
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edaniels
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Re:Mean And Fast: The Extreme Build 914 PC-BOT! - 2007/02/23 19:34 I agree with James regarding using other computers to share the workload. That's definitely how I plan to pursue the problem, if only because everyone who has a robot has at least one more PC, and more likely several. There are a lot of ways to solve the horsepower vs. battery life issues though, it's nice to have lots of options and definitely one of our advantages over a proprietary robot.

One issue that hasn't received a lot of attention is making sure your on-board applications are all "robot-friendly". Meaning, basically, that none of them can hog the CPU -- everyone has to share, and safety-critical sensor processing has to happen in "soft real time", every 50 - 100 ms. Some of the early video apps we experimented with do not meet this requirement, inasmuch as they noticeably affect the response time of BRIAN.

Does our basic VIA "Nehemiah" processor handle floating-point math? I was assuming it did, but I forget if I actually looked it up.

I'm only using 5% of my robot's CPU so far, and my aim is to make the off-the-shelf configuration go as far as possible.

-Ernie
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