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31 May 2012, 15:04

Open Recall: Open robots on land and under water

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Zoom The OpenROV submarine is relatively cheap to build and can explore depths up to 100 metres
Source: OpenROV project

Open Recall is a new space on The H for those things that are too small to package as news but are worth the linkage. Open Recall collates the interesting stories that didn't quite make the cut. This edition is all about open source robots.

  • Kickstart a six-legged robotArcBotics from Boston is raising funds for Hexy, a spider-like robot, on Kickstarter. So far, the company has raised over $56,000, far exceeding their $13,000 funding goal. The robot is Arduino-based, the design is completely open source and Hexy can even play electric guitar.

  • Open source mini submarine explores caves – to aid in underwater exploration, NASA engineer Eric Stackpole has designed a mini submarine, built from low-cost parts, that can dive to depths of up to 100 metres. OpenROV's hardware and software are open source and it links to a laptop, which can show the video feed from the submarine and is also used to control it. OpenROV was created to reach places and depths that human divers can't easily access and NASA is considering using it in its Aquarius reef base off the Florida Keys.

  • TurtleBot gives your applications wheelsWillow Garage has introduced the second version of their TurtleBot, a multi-purpose robotics platform. The design uses iRobot's Create platform, a gyroscope, a netbook, and, optionally, a Microsoft Kinect. Since the Create platform cannot be sold in Europe because it doesn't have FCC and CE certification, the company will replace it with a more expensive Roomba 521 for European customers. The idea behind the TurtleBot is to give interested hackers a mobile robotic platform that they can easily write applications for. The device itself runs the open source ROS operating system from Willow Garage.

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