Software

JKhepera: Java Class for Khepera Robots

Posted 27 Sep 2005 at 18:30 UTC by steve Share This

According to a freshmeat.net announcement developers have released version 1.1 of the JKhepera Java Class Library for Khepera mini robots. The library simplifies serial communication between a host computer and the Khepera robot, allowing easy manual or autonomous control of the robot. The library provides motor control and sensor reading capabilities. JKhepera is Free Software licensed under the GNU GPL. The K-Team Khepera robots are popular small robots used in University and educational projects around the world.


Expensive little dudes!, posted 28 Sep 2005 at 13:49 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

I don't know how much Kheperas cost now, but I remember writing the European supplier (Postal mail - this was before I had internet access - very early 90's, maybe?) and sadly learning that the cute little robots cost around $1,000 apiece!

Anyone game for creating something similar? I'll volunteer the electrical design, PCB layout, and mechanical design. I'll pay for part of the development supplies. Someone else has to write the firmware and PC-based software, though.

(Yes, I'm serious.)

expensive robots, posted 28 Sep 2005 at 14:39 UTC by steve » (Master)

Yep, I think they're still about $1k. If you look at the specs though most robots with those capabilities seems to be that much are higher unless you build them yourself. We did a story about some folks at George Mason University who have design a sort of open hardware robot with similar specs that can be put together for about $800 from off-the-shelf parts.

It looks like the big costs come from the need to use new parts instead of the surplus that homebrew robot builder use. You can pick up a decent gearmotor with encoders for a few bucks at a surplus place but try to find one new for under $100. The George Mason folks used a cheap gearmotor with an add-on encorder but the cost was still about $45 per motor, I believe.

I proposed a robot contest in a recent Servo column in which the goal would be to create a robot that met a set of common specifications for the least amount money using only new, off-the-shelf parts. No surplus. Right now, the George Mason folks would probably win first prize. The Khepera might be second. Not sure about third - maybe Arrick Robotics' Trilobot (about $2k)?.

If somebody could come up with one they could sell for, say $500, and still make a profit. They could do a booming business with the academic and research world.

e-puck robot, posted 11 Jul 2006 at 05:04 UTC by mondada » (Master)

At EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where the Khepera was developed 14 years ago) we have developed a new robot, with modern technology, which should answer to your request. It is the e-puck robot (www.e-puck.org), it is fully open-hardware, has the size of the Khepera but much more features and a much lower price. It includes sensors like a camera, 3 microphones, a 3D accelerometer, 8 proximity sensors. It can communicate with a serial port, a IR remote control and a bluetooth connection. It has also a speaker, 8 leds around the body and can move using very accurate stepper motors. The core is a dsPIC processor with 15 MIPS. The price will depend on the manufacturer (being open hardware), but it seems that it could be available for 700 swiss francs (570 USD).

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