Willow Garage is the Silicon Valley-based company behind the open source robotic platform aka ROS (Robot Operating System). We heard about Willow Garage last year when the startup gave away 1 million dollar worth of robots to various research teams and scientific institutions, to increase the development of applications on its PR2 platform geared to experimentation and innovation.
Today, a new robot running ROS is born, TurtleBot is a personal, low-cost robot that can drive around the house, see in 3D and have enough horsepower to create fun applications. The integration of Kinect allows the Turtle robot to drive and explore the house on its own while building 3D pictures, taking panoramas and more. Check out Willow Garage’s 3D contest results to see some of the possibilities for the Kinect in robotics.
Just like when you buy furniture at IKEA, you have to assemble the TurtleBot, it only requires a single screwdriver that is included in the kit.
The main hardware includes:
- iRobot Create: programmable mobile robot sold by iRobot.
- Microsoft Kinect: camera and 3D sensor.
- Asus Eee PC 1215N dual-core Atom notebook – powerful enough to handle the demands of 3D data.
- Low-cost gyro: enhances the TurtleBot’s ability to navigate around the home.
Now it is time to work: TurtleBot comes with an open-source, ROS-based TurtleBot SDK, it integrates the hardware drivers with developer tools and high-level capabilities like autonomous navigation. The SDK gives access to computer vision libraries like OpenCV and PCL, and you will have access to thousands of libraries developed by the ROS community, sharing your code with the rest of the TurtleBot community is also recommended.
The TurtleBot is available for preorder, see the two pricing below:
If you already have an iRobot Create and a laptop, the TurtleBot Core kit costs $499.99, it includes:
- USB Communications Cable
- TurtleBot Power and Sensor Board
- TurtleBot Hardware
- Microsoft Kinect
- TurtleBot to Kinect Power Cable
- USB Stick TurtleBot Installer
- #10 Torx Allen Key
Otherwise you will have to buy the TurtleBot Complete kit for $1199.99, that includes:
- TurtleBot Core Kit
- iRobot Create Robot
- 3000 mAh Ni-MH Battery
- Fast Charger
- ASUS Eee PC 1215N