Eddie: RDS4 Meets Kinect Meets Parallax
user can add GPS, a compass, and accelerometers for
The Parallax Eddie
The Eddie robot is the new kid on the block for Parallax
and is fairly powerful. According to Microsoft, RDS4
includes a simulation of — and full support for — an
affordable and capable hardware reference platform known
as Eddie (Expandable Development Disks for Innovation and
Experimentation). It is available only as a kit and is priced at
$1,249. Created by Parallax, this device is a robot that can
roam autonomously, see in 3D using Kinect, and be driven
remotely using a wireless controller. As with TurtleBot,
Eddie was developed around Kinect’s camera sensor which
was developed for the Xbox 360 and is a turnkey robot
system that allows advanced experimenters to develop a
sophisticated robot using their own laptop computer for
processing power and Kinect.
Figure 11 is from the quora.com website and depicts
how Kinect works for both robots. (You can read more
about Kinect in last month’s TurtleBot article, or go on-line
for hundreds of hacker sites and thousands of articles.)
Unlike TurtleBot, Eddie uses RDS4.
FIGURE 9. A pair of Parallax Sumo robots.
You might wonder just
how Parallax and Microsoft
got Kinected. (Sorry for the
pun.) I spoke with Ken
“They told us that they chose Parallax because we have
our own in-house manufacturing (CNC mills, routers, laser
cutters, P&P machines) and because we produce good
quality robot parts. To my knowledge, there were no other
suppliers under consideration. We agreed to meet their
request and proceeded with a design. First, we had to give
them the hardware with hand made PCBs — wire-wrapped
and soldered. Then, we produced the Eddie Control Board,
along with a second revision to fix some power supply
issues. About 90 days into the effort, we were able to
provide exactly what they wanted,” Gracey continued.
“At this point, Parallax is the key reference platform.
Other companies can produce an RDS-capable robot as
long as they use the protocol we produced with Microsoft.
It could be any microcontroller, but the Propeller really
shines in this application because of the multicore design.
Parallax had worked with Microsoft in the past on the
MSRS system with our Boe-Bot, so we also had some
experience working within their system. It’s been a
rewarding process,” he concluded.
In response to Microsoft's needs for a robotics platform
and Parallax's own future product line growth, Gracey
FIGURE 8. Stingray robot.
FIGURE 10. Parallax QuadRover.
76 SERVO 02.2012