I am at a bit of a crossroad and I need to choose a path.
I started RoboNUC to learn slam. I still want to learn SLAM but along the journey to get there I made a few discoveries (as you should in a learning endeavor). RoboNUC was not physically all I hoped it would be with a few design flaws (first time with laser cutting etc). And I could not buy components that would do what I wanted. I had to design, wire and solder and program some electronics myself (no I DO NOT think this is what robot building should be about).
The second item lead me to explore making what I wanted for myself, in a form that I could offer others, thus the new products. I also designed a new chassis with some lessons learned. This has been a full time effort, but I like what is emerging from it.
So I need to decide, when the effort winds down, do I resume SLAM on RoboNUC, or do I move SLAM to the new robot? At the moment I am liking the potential on the new robot more. Its onboard computer will be a Pi with linux, which is not my favourite dev platform, but if all goes well, I mount a XBee shield on the Pilot and I can remote from my desktop or a laptop, which is a much better SLAM learning configuration, and switch between that and the Pi fairly easy. And the SLAM lessons are in python, so if I do use the Pi, I should already have a lot of the code. Pretty compelling.
With that RoboNUC will be donating parts to the new bots and I hope their story is just as informational (yes their, I have 3 sets going now, mine and 2 other people are planned so far). The BOM is also public (as was RoboNUC)
Bill of Materials
TL;DR RoboNUC $1000 with Intel I5. PiPlate $280 with Pi.
I really hope to kit the new one, and price will be a little higher (I’ve got to make something) but if you want to duplicate the effort yourself, under $300 for a serious robot platform I think is uber reasonable! Comparable to Arduino Robots I would think, and a lot more powerful. The intent is, for $280 + a pixy cam ($80), you have a RoboMagellan capable robot. You still need to add some coding, but a lot of the startup, hardware, electronics and plumbing software is done and ready to be used. Anyone who wants to try Seattle Magellan (or maybe anywhere) with one of these gets a free T-Shirt. email@example.com
yeah, I really did get some T-shirts