A Robot Operating System

We at RobotBASIC are currently working on a RobotBASIC Robot Operating System (RROS).

The full RROS will manage almost any type of sensor allowing hobbyists
without an electronics background to build and program sophisticated
robots.  The RROS will probably be distributed Open-Source to allow
expansion and customization.  We will even allow users to share their
modifications through our web page.  The LIGHT version is requiring
sensitive coding that will not be appropriate for modification, so it will
probably be distributed as a pre-programmed IC to which users can connect
any of the supported sensors and motor options.  Many motors and sensors
can be directly connected without any support circuitry.  We are even
considering a robot kit based on the LIGHT version, that will make it easy
to build a RobotBASIC compatible robot.  If you are interested in any of
these products, please let us know.  Below is a summary of the work that is
taking place.

The idea of a RobotBASIC Robot Operating System (RROS) is simple.  Imagine
a controller that can be connected to a PC running RobotBASIC (either
through a wireless link, or wired if a netbook computer is embedded in the
robot itself).  Hobbyists will be able to connect a wide variety of motors
and sensors from different manufactures (Parallax, Pololu, Lynxmotion, etc)
to the controller and RobotBASIC will be able to control the motors and
read the sensory data using the SAME programs used to control the simulated
robot. No low-level programming will be required.

Hobbyists will be able to build anything from a small to a large man-sized
robot using this controller.  They will need minimal knowledge of
electroinics because the controller will handle all the interfacing tasks
(both hardware and software).  You simply choose the motors needed based on
your robot's size and weight, and the sensors needed for your application
and environment.  You will be able to choose anything from simple bumper
switches to to a GPS navigation system.  Additional sensors can monitor
beacons, measure distances to objects, and detect objects around your robot
using either IR or ultrasonic.  Connect your choices to the controller and
build your own base or use something already commercially available.  Just
mount the sensors appropriately and you are ready to go because the RROS
will transparently map all data to the RobotBASIC functions used for the
simulation. You can fully develop algorithms using the simulator, then
immediately let those SAME programs control a real robot.  We believe this
is the way robotic behaviors should be developed and has been our goal
since the beginning.

Using the RROS, hobbyists will finally be able to spend their time
developing intelligent algorithms instead of designing hardware and
debugging firmware.  This is a similar situation to the early 1970's when
it took so much time and knowledge to build a computer that hobbyists
seldom created significant applications.  When Apple and Radio Shack (among
others) finally produced ready to use computers the emphasis moved to
programming (where it belonged). Once that happened, the writing of
application software took off, building the huge industry we enjoy and
benefit from today.

Our goal is to make it easy for nearly anyone to build a robot that can be
totally controlled from the RobotBASIC environment.    Visit the HARDWARE
tab at www.RobotBASIC.com to see a few pictures of some of the prototypes
now under development.  (For those that don't know, RobotBASIC is FREE).