Monday, April 03, 2006

"ROBOTICS: Board grants autonomy to bots"

Analog Devices Inc. has teamed with robotics expert Fred Martin to create a single-board solution for autonomous robots. The Blackfin Handy Board contains all the electronics needed for sensing, processing and actuating robots. The original Handy Board was designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for its Autonomous Robot Design Competition. The HandyBoard's design was published as open source and has become the most popular vehicle to get a robot up and running quickly. The board itself has been widely copied around the world. The Blackfin Handy Board, the first complete redesign of the Handy Board, has also been published as open source. The redesigned board builds in Ethernet and digital video interfaces, a dc stepper motor controller, radio-controlled servo motor controllers and electronic speed controllers, an integrated battery and charger, a 4 x 16-character LCD screen and banks of I/Os for raw analog and digital signals. Analog Devices has also included its two-axis accelerometer and a Xilinx Spartan-3E FPGA. The Blackfin Handy Board comes with Interactive C, National Instruments LabView software, and a software library that includes software operators to manage all board resources.