Robonova still in the dark ages?

Hitec robotics including ROBONOVA humanoid, HSR-8498HB servos, MR C-3024 Controllers and RoboBasic
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3 postsPage 1 of 1

Robonova still in the dark ages?

Post by denodan » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:09 am

Post by denodan
Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:09 am

I am still waiting on my Robonova to come in the post. It's late, so hope it's not lost?

I am amazed at how very old the techology is, using basic which was used when the TRS-80 was out, and comeon only 64k of memory, which is a joke today.

Also still using serial when USB is now used. Seems Robonova is still stuck in the stoneage as far as techology goes.

Even the Mindstorms NXT is a lot more advanced, and uses USB and a simplier language then basic, but of course you can use other lanuages. Memory is so cheap now, why so little in robots. Even the RS media seems a lot more advanced, yet much cheaper, why is Robonova so very expensive, yet seems really old fashioned.

Mind you, looking forward to getting mine. I like how you can upgrade it, and will go for the voice recognition module.

Just seems Rovonova will have a steep learning curve, but in the long run better, but basic, is it not very old fashioned? Went out with the TRS-80, Commandor 64, spectrum, etc.

Why is basic still used for Robots?
I am still waiting on my Robonova to come in the post. It's late, so hope it's not lost?

I am amazed at how very old the techology is, using basic which was used when the TRS-80 was out, and comeon only 64k of memory, which is a joke today.

Also still using serial when USB is now used. Seems Robonova is still stuck in the stoneage as far as techology goes.

Even the Mindstorms NXT is a lot more advanced, and uses USB and a simplier language then basic, but of course you can use other lanuages. Memory is so cheap now, why so little in robots. Even the RS media seems a lot more advanced, yet much cheaper, why is Robonova so very expensive, yet seems really old fashioned.

Mind you, looking forward to getting mine. I like how you can upgrade it, and will go for the voice recognition module.

Just seems Rovonova will have a steep learning curve, but in the long run better, but basic, is it not very old fashioned? Went out with the TRS-80, Commandor 64, spectrum, etc.

Why is basic still used for Robots?
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Post by Fritzoid » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:39 pm

Post by Fritzoid
Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:39 pm

That's a lot of questions for one post, let's see...

RoboBasic and TRS-80 basic are similar in that they are both interpreted rather than compiled languages. This means they both read a simple token stream and intrepret the symbols on-the-fly. But that's pretty much where the similarity ends. RoboBasic is a proprietary language that is highly specific to the Robonova hardware environment. The fact that the engineers at Hitec employed this tried-and-true technology in their latest controller is more of a statement about the robustness of the original design of Basic than anything else.

Of course you can always write you own operating system in micro-C or AVR assembler and download it to the robot. The software can be completely replaced if you have something better to use. I think you'll start to appreciate what Hitec has done once you look into this challenge.

As far as memory goes, the system doesn't use all the memory it has now. Remember, your working with an embedded controller not a PC. Embedded processors use short efficient programs, so 64K is more than enough to get the job done. The software is designed to do one thing only, move servos.

About costs. Each one of those digital servos goes for about $50 (US). Multiply by 16 and that's 80% of the retail price. Everything else is more of less free.

As far as the USB vs. serial, I agree the 9-pin serial connection is old fashioned. And who has a PC that can run the Hitec software but also has a real serial port? Not me. But they should use a mini-USB like my cell phone, the NXT brick uses a huge plug like my printer and it weighs a ton.

Until then you will need a good USB to serial dongle. Beware that not all dongles work with Robonova so be careful which one you choose. I use a Keyspan adapter and it works well. I tried a Belkin first and it would not connect. Other users on this forum have experience with different adapters so check around before you buy.
That's a lot of questions for one post, let's see...

RoboBasic and TRS-80 basic are similar in that they are both interpreted rather than compiled languages. This means they both read a simple token stream and intrepret the symbols on-the-fly. But that's pretty much where the similarity ends. RoboBasic is a proprietary language that is highly specific to the Robonova hardware environment. The fact that the engineers at Hitec employed this tried-and-true technology in their latest controller is more of a statement about the robustness of the original design of Basic than anything else.

Of course you can always write you own operating system in micro-C or AVR assembler and download it to the robot. The software can be completely replaced if you have something better to use. I think you'll start to appreciate what Hitec has done once you look into this challenge.

As far as memory goes, the system doesn't use all the memory it has now. Remember, your working with an embedded controller not a PC. Embedded processors use short efficient programs, so 64K is more than enough to get the job done. The software is designed to do one thing only, move servos.

About costs. Each one of those digital servos goes for about $50 (US). Multiply by 16 and that's 80% of the retail price. Everything else is more of less free.

As far as the USB vs. serial, I agree the 9-pin serial connection is old fashioned. And who has a PC that can run the Hitec software but also has a real serial port? Not me. But they should use a mini-USB like my cell phone, the NXT brick uses a huge plug like my printer and it weighs a ton.

Until then you will need a good USB to serial dongle. Beware that not all dongles work with Robonova so be careful which one you choose. I use a Keyspan adapter and it works well. I tried a Belkin first and it would not connect. Other users on this forum have experience with different adapters so check around before you buy.
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Post by roboTT » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:04 pm

Post by roboTT
Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:04 pm

Naah, our's MRC3024 boards are not that bad as you might think.

My Robonova has been dissasembled about half a year ago, and guess what - i've used the MOBO in many other projects, one of them is a autonomous rover.

I used the MRC3024 board as the controller, connected it via bluetooth to my PocketPC - and wrote an application that utilises my PPC GPS, VIDEOCAM, SOUND and storage card. I can define a waypoint on the map, and click start on my pocketpc - so the rover will go by using GPS to that position, take a videoshot and return back to a place which was marked as a 'return point'.

Also i have wrote my own windows (C/C++) based application, with a help from robosavvy i am now able to fully control the MRC3024 via serial / wireless /bluetooth/... I can do almost any type of robot now with this board - really..

When i think of "ROBONOVA" i think of the RN-1 mainboard,
it's great, really - it might be applied to many other projects - i can even risk to say, you can build a small 'UAV" with this board.

When it comes to ROBONOVA as a ROBOT,
well - since first day i knew that 'walking' will always be a problem..
This is why i decided to get the board out, order all possible sensors and make totally new robot - which is today a ROBONOVA_ROVER ;)
Naah, our's MRC3024 boards are not that bad as you might think.

My Robonova has been dissasembled about half a year ago, and guess what - i've used the MOBO in many other projects, one of them is a autonomous rover.

I used the MRC3024 board as the controller, connected it via bluetooth to my PocketPC - and wrote an application that utilises my PPC GPS, VIDEOCAM, SOUND and storage card. I can define a waypoint on the map, and click start on my pocketpc - so the rover will go by using GPS to that position, take a videoshot and return back to a place which was marked as a 'return point'.

Also i have wrote my own windows (C/C++) based application, with a help from robosavvy i am now able to fully control the MRC3024 via serial / wireless /bluetooth/... I can do almost any type of robot now with this board - really..

When i think of "ROBONOVA" i think of the RN-1 mainboard,
it's great, really - it might be applied to many other projects - i can even risk to say, you can build a small 'UAV" with this board.

When it comes to ROBONOVA as a ROBOT,
well - since first day i knew that 'walking' will always be a problem..
This is why i decided to get the board out, order all possible sensors and make totally new robot - which is today a ROBONOVA_ROVER ;)
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