While i'm quite happy building my own microcontroller modules the main processor for this robot will have to be bought if i am to have the processor power i will need for mapping and navigation.
I deliberately made the chassis of this robot versatile enough to take a wide variety of processors.
Here are some of the requirements in an on board computer:
Here are some of the options i have found. They all have at least one USB host port ans run some version of Linux.
This is the only platform i have tested in the bot so far.
"The Linksys NSLU2 , a.k.a. the "Slug", is a small low cost network storage device from Linksys. Its main purpose is to serve as a network file server: on one side of the Slug, you connect one of two USB hard disks, on the other side your wired computer network at home or a small office. The disks can then be made available to that network, to computers running Linux, Mac OS or Microsoft Windows (and probably quite a few stranger platforms too).
The Slug can be flashed with a new firmware to make it what it essentially is: a small Linux computer. And from there, the sky seems to be the limit!"
As it runs Debian it is simple to install new packages on. With a 2G USB flash drive plugged in i never have to worry about limited disk space. Having USB host ports means i can plug in USB webcam and wireless network card.
I'm not going to go into detail here on how to set up an embedded Linux system. There are far better sites than this out there for that.
Picture above shows NSLU2, flash memory stick, USB hub, USB wireless card and USB webcam.
Picture above shows NSLU2 installed in chassis.
For testing purposes i run a web server on the NSLU2. I have a CGI written in Python that writes to the virtual serial port created by the USB driver.
This allows me to display a web page with buttons to control the bot.
Obviously this is far from the finished control interface but it does let me have fun driving it around....
So while at face value this robot appears to be very similar to my previous LMbot it has the fundamental difference that the web server is running on board the bot.