20 SERVO 10.2017
MY FAVORITE MARTIAN
When Yoichi Masuda set out to design a new legged robot, he found inspiration in the Martian Tripods from the classic sci-fi novel, The
War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. A three-legged configuration seems to
offer some advantages when it comes to walking and balancing, and
Masuda became curious about the absence of three-legged animals in
nature. Are there evolutionary factors that explain why we haven’t seen
any? If three-legged creatures existed, could there be a universal principle
of walking locomotion common for bipeds, tripeds, and quadrupeds? To
explore those questions, Masuda and his colleagues at Osaka University
built a three-legged robot named Martian.
TIME FOR A TURTLEBOT UPGRADE
Clearpath Robotics (in partnership with Intel and iRobot) is announcing the newest member of the TurtleBot family: the TurtleBot Euclid. The TB
Euclid (TBe) features an iRobot Create 2 mobile base, along with a shiny new
Intel Euclid sensing and computing module. It’s designed to be both easier to
use and cheaper than the original Turtlebot 2.
The first thing you’ll notice is the swap-out of the TB2’s Kobuki mobile
base for the Create 2. You may recall that Kobuki was specifically designed to
be the perfect mobile base for the Turtlebot 2, and as such comes with all
kinds of switches and buttons and ports. For many users (especially new
folks), however, all that stuff seems like overkill that just adds to the cost of
The Create 2 is cheaper than Kobuki, and (according to Clearpath) is
also more robust, which does make some amount of sense since Create 2s
are made from remanufactured Roombas — which are some of
the beefiest robots out there. You also get built-in automatic
docking (another Roomba feature) and better battery options.
The second thing you’ll notice is that the TBe uses the Intel
Euclid to replace the TB2’s netbook and Kinect, making the robot
much cleaner and simpler without a wild tangle of cables.
Euclid integrates a calibrated RealSense ZR300 depth camera
with a computer built around a quad core Atom processor and
Ubuntu 16.04 (with ROS Kinetic Kame pre-installed). The
RealSense camera is IR-based, with a 3. 5 meter texture projector-enhanced
outdoors. Plus, it provides robust 3D spatial perception for object
detection and mapping.
Turtlebot Euclid is expected to retail for around $1,440, with
shipping included. For comparison, a Turtlebot 2 is $1,925, and a
Turtlebot 3 (Burger model) is $550. Of the cost of the Turtlebot Euclid,
$400 is in Euclid itself; a Create 2 will run you $200.
Clearpath has added a custom low-level microcontroller between
the two. You also get all of the mechanical parts. A portion of the cost
goes towards supporting the Open Source Robotics Foundation.