FIGURE 8. The 7.2V at 3,200 mAh
NiMH battery packs.
Finally, Figure 17 shows the
circuit board with the ATMEL ARM
processor taking center stage. The
layout is clean, solder joints bright,
and everything is connected by
cables with workable connectors. In
other words, if you plan to swap
out sensors or monitor signals with
a second processor, you won’t have
to pull out your soldering iron.
All in all, a pleasant teardown.
The NEATO is an example of a well-engineered device that lends itself
to repair and modification. Just
what the robotics enthusiast
Main blower and
According to a paper published
by the IEEE [ 2], the LIDAR used on
the NEATO is both impressive
functionally and affordable.
Obviously, the LIDAR is intended to
operate indoors – even an IR laser
would be washed out by direct
sunlight. Furthermore, put out on
an open patio without four walls,
the LIDAR wouldn’t receive the
reflections the onboard CPU needs
to define the space to traverse.
Range is listed at six meters,
with an angular resolution of one
degree. At 10 revolutions per
second, the LIDAR makes 4,000
readings per second. Power
consumption is a modest two
watts. Unlike my much more
expensive Hokuyo, there is no
spinning mirror involved. Instead,
the entire optical assembly rotates.
In addition, unlike the Hokuyo —
which measures the time required
for light to travel from the laser
diode to a structure or object and
back again — the NEATO LIDAR
uses simple triangulation.
The downside of triangulation
is that accuracy decreases with
distance from the unit. This is
because transmitted and reflected
beams are essentially parallel with
targets from five or six meters to
infinity. The engineers at NEATO
FIGURE 10. Wheel drive assembly.
SERVO 02.2012 43