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From: [email protected] (Kevin Dowling)
Date: 15 Feb 93 04:38:57 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.robotics,news.answers
Subject: comp.robotics Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) part 1/2

Archive-name: robotics-faq/part1
Last-modified: Sun Feb 14 23:26:39 1993

This is part 1 of 2 of the comp.robotics Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) list. This FAQ addresses commonly asked questions relating to

This FAQ was compiled and written by Kevin Dowling with numerous
contributions by readers of comp.robotics. Acknowledgements are listed
at end of part2 of this FAQ.

This post, as a collection of information, is Copyright 1993 Kevin
Dowling. Distribution through any means other than regular Usenet
channels must be by permission. The removal of this notice is

Changes, additions, comments, suggestions and questions to:
Kevin Dowlingphone:412.268.8830
Robotics Institutefax:412.682.1793
Carnegie Mellon Universityemail:[email protected]
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Part 1
+++Where to find this FAQ and comp.robotics archives

+++What is Robotics?
+++Professional organizations

+++Mobile robot companies
+++Manipulator companies
+++Small Inexpensive Robots

+++Organizations doing robotics
+++Graduate programs in robotics

Part 2
+++Wireless communication
+++Suppliers and sources for parts
+++Hero Robots
+++Puma Manipulators
+++Real-Time Operating Systems
+++Robot Controller Survey
+++What is the miniboard?


+++Where to find this FAQ and comp.robotics archives:

If you haven't done so, new users on the net should read
news.announce.newusers. In particular, the following posts are a good
A Primer on How to Work With The Usenet Community
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Usenet
Hints on Writing Style for Usenet

This FAQ is currently posted to news.answers and comp.robotics. All
posts to news.answers are archived and are available via anonymous
FTP, uucp and e-mail from the following locations:

FTP is a way of copying file between networked computers. If
you need help in using or getting started with FTP, send
e-mail to [email protected] with
send usenet/news.answers/ftp-list/faq
as the body of the message.

location: []
directory: /pub/usenet/news.answers/robotics-faq
filenames: part1, part2

location: []
directory: /archive/usenet/news.answers/robotics-faq
filenames: part1.Z, part2.Z [use uncompress]

location: []
directory: info_service/Usenet/periodic-postings
filenames: [Check info_service/Usenet/00index]

location: []
directory: /user/nivek/ftp/robotics-faq
filenames: part1, part2

location: uunet!/archive/usenet/news.answers/robotics-faq/
filenames: part1.Z, part2.Z

Send email to [email protected] containing these lines:
send usenet/news.answers/robotics-faq/part1
send usenet/news.answers/robotics-faq/part2

comp.robotics archives

You can find a dozen or more sites in the US, Europe and Japan that
store the FAQ and archives for comp.robotics by using the Internet
search programs, Archie or Wais.

One location is:
filenames: pub/comp.robotics/

+++What is Robotics?

There is a lengthy, committee-written definition from one of the
robotics organizations that defines robotics as preprogrammable,
electro-mechanical devices perform a variety of functions. It's rather
dry and, in the end, uninspiring.

Better ones might include:
Force through intelligence.
Where AI meet the real world.
I know it when I see it.

Webster says:
An automatic device that performs functions normally ascribed
to humans or a machine in the form of a human.

The word 'robot' was coined by the Czechloslovakian playwright Karel
Capek (pronounced "chop'ek") from the Czech word for worker or serf.
Capek was reportedly several times a candidate for the Nobel prize for
his works and very influential and prolific as a writer and
playwright. Mercifully, he died before the Gestapo got to him for his
anti-Nazi sympathies in 1938.

The use of the word Robot was introduced into his play R.U.R.
(Rossum's Universal Robots) which opened in Prague in Jan of 1921.
The play was an enormous success and productions soon opened
throughout Europe and the US. R.U.R's theme, in part, was the
dehumanization of man in a technological civilization.

There is some evidence that the word robot was actually coined by
Karl's brother Josef, a writer in his own right. But I cannot find
the article I once read on this subject. [I believe it was in SigART].

+++Robotics Related Organizations:

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Service Center
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854-4150
(201) 981-0060
A large organization with hundreds of publications including journals,
transactions, Spectrum, sponsoring conferences, workshops and meetings.

Society of Manufacturing Engineers, (SME)
One SME Drive
PO Box 930
Dearborn, MI 48121
(313) 271-1500

American Society of Mechanical Engineers, (ASME)
345 E. 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Mechanical Engineering magazine, like the IEEE's Spectrum, is an
excellent general publication on aspects of mechanical engineering.
There are often publications on robotics and the ASME sponsors a
number of other publications and conferences that are relevant to

National Service Robots Association (NSRA)
900 Victors Way
PO Box 3724
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
(313) 994-6088
An organization devoted to robots other than on the factory floor.

Robotics Industry Association (RIA)
(same address as NSRA)

SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering)
P.O.Box 10
Bellingham, Washington 98227-0010.
SPIE has publications, meetings and conferences in the
field of intelligent robots, mobile robots, teleoperation,
machine vision, etc.

Utility/Manufacturer Robot Users group (UMRUG)
Harry T. Roman
Principal Engineer - Research
MC: 16-H
Public Service Electric and Gas Company
80 Park Plaza
PO Box 570
Newark, NJ 07101
(201) 430-6646

Advanced Robot Technology Research Association (Japan)
Kikai-shinko Bldg
3-5-8 Shiba-Kohen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
(03) 434-0532
fax (03) 434-0217
Has joint research programs with member companies.
Members are 20 or so Japanese companies including:
Ishikawajima-Harima, Oki Electric, Kawasaki Heavy Industry, Kobe
Steel, Komatsu, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Toshiba, JGC, NEC,
Hitachi, Fanuc, Fujitsu, Fuji, Matshushita Research Institute, Mitsui,
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric, Yaskawa

Center for Autonomous and Man-controlled Robotic and Sensing Systems
Charles Jacobus, CAMRSS director
PO Box 8618
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
(313) 994-1200 X2457
Member companies include: Ball Aerospace, Coulter Electronics, ERIM,
Fairchild, Ford Aerospace, Geospectra, Grumman, Industrial Technology
Institute, KMS Fusion, Michigan State, UofM.

American Insitute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 646-7400
Technical Information Service (212) 247-6500
Conferences and publications, several cover automation technologies
for servicing on the ground and in space as well as exploration.


There are a wide variety and number of conferences related to robotics
and automation. Some are focused on industrial applications, many are
researchy in nature and most are a mixture of both. Proceedings
should be available in most good libraries or by interlibrary loan.

Annual Conference of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation (ICARA)
May 2-7, 1993 at the Atlanta Hilton and Towers, Atlanta, Georgia

Second International BEAM Robot Olympics Competition:
Ontario Science Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
April 22-25, 1993

"The BEAM Robot Olympics is not so much a series of technological
competitions as a chance for robot enthusiasts to present their
designs to each other, the press, and the public. It is also a open
forum for anyone who wants to get started in the field to compete and
compare. Any and every robot will be considered so long as it does
not come from a kit or store. Robots of similar ability will be
pitted against each other in simple competitions, but generally robots
will be judged on sophistication of behavior, novelty of design,
efficiency of power source, and quality of hardware."

Details will soon be posted. On-line rules soon available. There are
also two Robot Olympic Trial Games scheduled for this fall (in
Canada), but details will have to wait until September.
Contact: mwtild[email protected]

Annual Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Annual Symposium on Industrial Robots

Biannual Symposium International Symposium of Robotics Research

Biannual Autonomous Intelligent Systems

International Conference on Computer Vision

British Machine Vision Conference

IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Conference

IMAC/SICE International Symposium on Robotics, Mechatronics and
Manufacturing Systems.

American Association for Artificial Intellignece (AAAI)
Probably the largest and most prestigious conference
on AI. Is now sponsoring a robot competition at the annual
AAAI conference.

There are also specific conferences in application areas:


Int. Symposium on Mine Mechanization and Automation
(organized by the Colorado School of Mines)

Canadian Symposium on Mining Automation

Canadian Conference on Computer Applications in the Mineral Industry

+++Robotics Publications:

There are a number of academic journals and trade magazines devoted to
robotics. There are no magazines currently devoted to the hobbyist or
designer of robotic mechanisms. In the 1980's Robotics Engineering
(nee Robotics Age) lasted for 7-8 years but folded. The one difficulty
I noted as a subscriber was the problem of addressing the hobbyist,
the curious and those whose work was devoted to robotics.

This list of periodical covers the academic journals, the trade
magazines devoted to both robotics and relevant sub-areas, and the
lone newsletter for hobbyists.

The IEEE has a formidable array of journals, transactions and
magazines. Here are a few that are relevant to robotics work:

IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
IEEE Control Systems Magazine
IEEE Computer Magazine
IEEN Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Cost: Have to join IEEE and then subscribe. Student rates are
much less expensive than non-student rates.

International Journal of Robotics & Automation
Published by:
ACTA Press
P.O. Box 2481
Anaheim, CA 92814
U. S. A.
Editor-in-chief: Professor T. C. Hsia
Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

International Journal of Robotics Research
MIT Press
28 Carleton Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Cost: $50/year to individuals

Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems
Three issues per volume, $58.50 per volume (individual)
Kluwer Academic Publishers Group
PO Box 322,
3300 AH Dordrecht,
The Netherlands
--in the US:
PO Box 358
Accord Station,
Hingham, MA 02018-0358

Journal of Robotic Systems
G. Beni and S. Hackwood, editors
College of Engineering
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521-0425
Interscience Division
Professional, Reference, and Trade Group
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
605 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10158

Robotics Today
Published by:
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
One SME Drive
PO Box 930
Dearborn, MI 48121
(313) 271-1500

Robotics World
"The end-user's magazine of flexible automation"
Published quarterly
Communication Channels
6255 Barfield Road
Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 256-9800
They also publish the Robotics World Directory $49.95

Robot (Japanese)
Industrial Robots and Application Systems
published bimonthly
Japan Industrial Robot Association (JIRA)
Kikai-Shinko Building
3-5-8, Shiba-Kohen,
Mina To-ku
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo (03) 3434-2919, fax (03) 3578-1404

International Journal of Information, Education and Research
in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Quarterly publication, US $179 per year!
Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building
Shaftesbury Road,
Cambridge CB2 2RU (UK)
in the US:
Cambridge University Press
Journals Department
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011-4211

Industrial Robot
Quarterly, $145/year
MCB University Press Ltd.
62 Toller Lane
Bradford, West Yorkshire
England, BD8 9BY
(44) 274 499821, fax (44) 274 547143
--in the US
MCB University Press Ltd.
PO Box 10812
Birmingham, AL 35201-0812
(800) 633-4931 (toll free US and Canada)

Automation in Construction
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publisher B. V., Amsterdam.
Desk Editor: Erik de Vries
The Editor of the journal is
Dr. T. Michael Knasel
10324 Lake Avenue
Cleveland, OH 441102-1239.
Fax. (216) 651-5136.

Don't have addresses for:
Advanced Robotics (in english)
published by
International Journal of the Robotics Society of Japan


Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing

Useful and relevant trade magazines:

Usually free, mostly ads or industry news. Many articles written by
advertisers. Great sources of product information. Our lab at
CMU receives 50-60 trade magazines and journals per month and while no
one reads all of the articles and pointers are passed
on to people around the lab. This keeps the group abreast of
new products and developments.

Helmers Publishing
174 Concord Street
PO Box 874
Peterborough, NH 03458-0874
(603) 924-9631
Trade magazine devoted to sensing devices. Publishes annual directory.
Cost: Free to qualified subscribers, $55/yr otherwise

Advanced Imaging
445 Broad Hollow Rd.
Melville, NY 11747
(516) 845-2700 voice
(516) 845-2797 FAX
Subscription free to qualified professionals, $50/yr otherwise.

Machine Design
Design News
Motion Control
GPS World
RF Design
Sea Technology
Laser Focus
POB (surveying profession)
Broadcast Engineering (TV and radio engineering)
Embedded Systems
EE Times (news of the electronics industry)

Other extremely useful resources that every laboratory or company
should have are the Thomas Register and the EEM. The Thomas Register
is $250 for a complete set and they issue new ones every year. A cheap
investment for finding companies and parts.
+++Mobile robot companies:

There are a small number of companies targeting the research community
for the mobile robot market. TRC, RWI, Cybermotion and Denning have
all sold and are selling mobile devices for research and real
applications. A number of Automatic Guided Vehicle companies sell
their machines but their primary applications are factory operations.

Bell and Howell
Mailmobile Company
81 Hartwell Avenue
Lexington, MA 02173-3127
(617) 674-1110
Mailmobiles were developed by Lear-Siegler in the mid-70's for the
industrial cleaning market. They left this market and
Bell & Howell, the audio-visual company, was refocusing on office
automation products and picked
up this product from Lear-Siegler. There are three models of
Mailmobile, the Packmobile, the Sprint and the Trailmobile. About 3000
systems sold and about 2000 probably in operation. They use a chemical
trail that floureseces under UV light. Payloads up to a couple of
hundred kg. Some systems have been operating for over 15 years.

5457 Jae Valley Road
Roanoke, VA 24014
(703) 982-2641
John Holland's company. Mobile K2 bases making use of ingenious
torque-tube synchronous drive system. Security markets and research
platforms, manipulators for base as well. Map building software too.

Denning Mobile Robotics Inc.
21 Concord Street
Wilmington, MA 01887
(508) 658-7800
Mobile robots - synchronous drive bases for research platforms.
Building automated camera platforms for newsrooms, working on
floor cleaning machines with an industrial partner.
Denning also has a number of products including a position scanner,
and IR beacons. A Denning floor scrubber is working in a post
office in Pittsburgh, Denver and Washington, and at a UPS site.

IS Robotics
4353 Park Terrace Drive
Westlake Village, CA 91361 USA
email: [email protected]
phone: (818) 597-1900
Associated with ISX Robotics of Cambridge.
T-1: tracked robot approx 50cm x 36cm. $5k
R-2: Wheeled machine. Gripper with 7.5cm opening, 18cm lift, 1kg
lift force. $7K
Ghengis II: Six-legged machine with whisker bump sensors and force
detection on legs. About $2k.
Use the ubiquitous MC68HC11E2 microcontrollers. Robots include IR
and bump sensing for obstacle detection. Pyro sensors and color
camera with pan-tilt are optional.

mecos Robotics AG
Gutstrasse 38
8400 Winterthur
tel: int (0)52 29 58 28
fax: int (0)52 29 96 53
email: [email protected]
Contact: S. J. Vestli
Company formed as a spin off of
the Institute of Robotics, ETH (Swiss Federal Institute
of Technology). "mecos Robotics" specialises in modular
and adaptive robot manipulators and robot vehicles (mobile
robots). All "mecos Robotics" systems uses the same type
of controller, a VME based computer. This system comes
with high level development tools, and for research
institutions the systems have the advantage of being
open. The overall goals of all "mecos Robotics" systems
are flexility and modularity.
The mobile robot program from "mecos Robotics" follows this
principle. The physical size and the mechanical configuration
can be altered. The standard configuration has three wheels
with air tyres and independant suspension. One wheel is
used for steering and propulsion (imagine a kids tricycle).
The overall size is 0.7 m (W) * 1.0 m (L) * 0.5 m (H). The
price depends on configuration and starts around the 70.000,-
Swiss Franks mark.

Nomadic Technologies
858 La Para Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(415) 493-7700
fax (415) 493-7064
Mobile base and sensors (IR, Laser ranging, touch, GUI software
development) $10K range.

Real World Interface (RWI)
P.O. Box 270
Dublin, NH 03444
(603) 563-8871
Small synchronous drive bases, primarily for research purposes. Approx $6K

114 Union Valley Road
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
tel: (615) 483-0228
fax: (615) 483-1426
The ANDROS line of teleoperated mobile robots. These were designed
to be useful in the nuclear industry and in other hazardous applications,
and are very rugged. You can hose them down. Available in a range of sizes,
with a variety of optional attachments, such as video cameras, arms, etc.

15 Great Pasture Road
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 798-8988
Labmate research platform - $7500, plus additional optional sensors
etc. Other prodcuts for hospital markets and floor cleaning machines.
(Helpmate and RoboKent respectively)

Yamazaki Construction Company, Tokyo Japan.
Intelligent Robot Lab
Kaika Building
2-7-1 Sotokanda
Chiyoda-ku 101 Tokyo
phone: 81-3-5256-0715
LR1 robot - small research robot, basically a VME cage on wheels with
some ultrasonic sensors and a nice constant force suspension. Has
shown up at IEEE R&A conferences $30K.

Robosoft, Asnieres, France

Anaheim, CA
Six-legged, (pantograph) Walking machine.

+++Robot manipulator companies:

Adept Technology
150 Rose Orchard Way
San Jose, CA 95134
(408) 432-0888
fax (408) 432-8707
High speed direct-drive and harmonic-drive SCARA style arms. 0.001"
(.025mm) repeatabiliy. Payloads from 4-25kg Can be used in clean room
and food applications as well. Adept sells vision systems and
controllers also.

Antenen Research
PO Box 95
Hamilton, OH 45012
(800) 323-9555
(513) 887-4700
fax (513) 887-4703
New and used robots for manufacturing, research and training.
Used at savings of 40% - 70%. Also lots of parts and accessories.

CRS Plus,
POox 163, Station A
830 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario
Canada L7R 3Y2
(416) 639-0086
fax (416) 639-4248
Sells several manipulators. 5-DOF around $25K, 6DOF around $33K.
Sell end-effectors as well (electric, vacuum and penumatic)
Wrist can be bought separately. Controllers use RAPL, a VAL-like
language. Fairly open architecture. 3Kg payloads +/- 0.05mm

Kraft Telerobotics
11667 W. 90th Street
Overland Park, KS 66214
tel: (913) 894-9022
fax: (913) 894-1363
Some nice telerobotic arms for underwater work.

Microbot was bought out by the British company UMI two years ago. In May, 1991
they moved from Silicon Valley to Detroit, MI
UMI Microbot
12665 Richfield Ct.
Livonia, MI 48150
Phone (313) 464-9500, -3276 (fax)

Motoman [Hobart/Yaskawa]
3160 MacArthur Boulevard
Northbrook, IL 60062-1917
(708) 291-2340, fax (708) 498-2430
Large industrial manipulators for welding, painting, palletizing,
dispensing, etc. Can be floor, ceiling or wall mount units. Payloads
for the 8 robots in the K-series range from 3kg to 100kg and
repeatability of 0.1 to 0.5 mm over that same range. They are vertical
jointed-arm type manipulators. (i.e. 4 bar linkage to reduce arm
intertias). 3 S-series robots are SCARA-type manipulators with
payloads of 50-60kg and varying workspace sizes

Yaskawa also has bought the rights to RobotWorld, Vic Schienman's unique
gantry design robot system. This system allow a number of mobile
modules in the same workspace to zip around at speeds up 80"/sec (3G
accel). RAIL and C can be used in a multilevel programming
environment. 0.002" Accuracy, 0.0005" repeatability. Neat stuff.

Salisbury Robotics, Inc.
20 Pemberton St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 661-8847
Sell the three-fingered Salisbury hand and force sensing fingertips.
Contact: Ken Salisbury, email:


Sony Corporation of America
Factory Automation Division
542 Route 303
Orangeburg, NY 10962
(914) 365-6000
fax (914) 365-6087
Several SCARA type manipulators including a double armed manipulator.
This model is used for the assembly of 8mm camcorders!

Sarcos Research Corporation
261 East 300 South Suite 150
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Manufacturing is done by:
Animate Systems Inc.
1780 West 2300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119
Spinoff of University of Utah's Center for Engineering Design (CED).
Teleoperated systems, manipulators. Audio-animatronic work as well.
Beautiful force reflecting work and systems. High performance and
small hydraulic valves and actuators.

Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), Vesteraas, Sweden
ABB Robotics
2487 South Commerce Drive
New Berlin, WI 53151
(414) 789-9235
Now own Cinncinatti Milacron robotics group, Graco and Trallfa.

mecos Robotics AG
Gutstrasse 38
8400 Winterthur
tel: int (0)52 29 58 28
fax: int (0)52 29 96 53
E-mail: [email protected]
Contact: E. Nielsen

Spin-off of the Institute of Robotics, ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology). modular and adaptive robot manipulators and robot
vehicles (mobile robots). All "mecos Robotics" systems use a VME based
computer as controller. The system comes with high level development
tools, and are open systems. The manipulator's mechanical
configuration can be changed at will (number and type of joints,
length of links, etc.) Manipulators use linear aluminum extrusions
with integral motions for joints. The controller accounts for
configuration changes. With this principle of modularity and
flexibilty hybrid force / position controllers have been realised on
"mecos Robotics" arms. Price depending on configuration (50.000,-
Swiss Franks and upwards).

Robotics Research Corp.
P.O. Box 206
Amelia, OH 45102
phone: (513) 831-9570
fax : (513) 381-5802

RRC offers a variety of dexterous manipulators which can be operated
individually or in dual-arm mode. Their second generation, denoted
the "i-Series", is lighter and provides great dexterity. They are
currently building "spaceflight-qualified" manipulators for NASA
(GSFC) using this new generation of their product. They have also
been doing some work developing sensor-based automatic obstacle
detection and avoidance technology which uses a patented algorithm
with arm-mounted sensors. They have also built two massively-redundant
17-DOF Anthropomorphic systems for Grumman and JPL to serve as
testbeds for researching "man-equivalent" robots for space

USA Robot
PO Box 4018
Portland, ME 04101
tel: (207) 774-3822

Maxym production robots for business. Simple accurate 3D linear
motions coupled with power tooling. Workspaces up to 2x4x.5 feet.
IBMPC software for designing parts and production paths. 2 mil/foot
accuracy. Units come with 3.25HP Porter- Cable router and vacuum foot.
This is not a machine like the giant production turning and routing
machines used by large furniture makers but is a nice small machine
for small production shops.

Zebra Robotics
Jeff Kerr
Menlo Park
(415) 328-8884
Small manipulators with integral force control.

Zymark Corp
Hopkinton, MA
Robots for laboratory automation.

Western Space and Marine (WSM)
International Submarine Engineering (ISE)
Robotic Systems International (RSI)

+++Small Inexpensive Robots

Lego Dacta
555 Taylor Road
PO Box 1600
Enfield, CT 06083-1600
tel: (800) 527-8339
fax: (203) 763-2466
LEGO Dacta is the educational branch of the LEGO company. Dacta sells
the LEGO Technic product line. These are the geared and motorized
versions fo the LEGO system. Kits recommended for robotics include:

1038 Technical Universal Buggy - dual drive vehicle. $60
1032 Technic II w/ motorized transmission - $76
9605 Technic Resource Set - general parts kits - $200

Other places for Lego-to-Mac software:
Paradigm Software (617) 576-7675
Bots (415) 949-2126

MIT has papers on LEGO projects available via FTP from: Look in pub/el-memos for a number of files.
memo8.* is "LEGO/LOGO: Learning Through and About Design"

A small nitinol-based mobile robot is available from Indiana
Univeristy in a technical report and as a kit. Send your request for
the report with payment to:

Computer Science Department
215 Lindley Hall
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

To receive the technical report only send $5.00 PRE-PAID and add ATTN:
TR363A to the address To receive the technical report and a kit
containing all materials needed to construct Stiquito and its manual
controller send US$15.00 PRE-PAID and add ATTN: TR 363a Squito Kit

524 San Anselmo Ave.,
San Anselmo, CA 94960
tel: (415) 455-9330
(800) 374-5764
fax: (415) 455-9333
A number of muscle wire (nitinol) projects including a small walking
machine. Book and sample kit with 1m each of 50,100 and 150 um wire -
enough to build all 14 projects in book.

OWI (Movit robots)
tel: (310) 638-4732
fax: (310) 638-8347
Available from:
Kelvin Electronics (800) 645-9212
Pitsco (800) 835-0686
Edmund Scientific (See +++Robot Parts section for address)
These are small toy-like robots that reflexively respond to
obstacles, sounds or light depending on the model. They're cute and
show what can be done with a relatively small amount of hardware.

Angelus Research
6344 Sugar Pine Circle
Angelus Oaks, CA
tel: (714) 794-8325
A small differentially-steered mechanism (no casters!) utilizing a
68HC11 controller w/ 32K RAM and RS-232 interface. Four visible
collision sensors (range 3-12 inches depending on ambient light) and
two whiskers. On-board battery (Pb- acid and built in charger)
monitors current as well for stall current. Software included with
easy-to-use command set. A lot of features for a very affordable
device. $395, controller board available separately and basic kit
available for $325

Like Lego a european-developed construction kit but much more
comprehensive in scope. Electro-mechanical parts galore including a
wide variety of switches, relays, slip rings, contacts, etc. Many
types of building block units as well. More expensive than Lego though.

+++Other organizations doing robotics:

Most large aerospace companies have groups working in or looking
into robotics. Martin Marietta (Denver), Rockwell International
(Downey, CA), Boeing (Seattle) to name a few. Mitre Corporation of
McLean VA and Houston TX, is also doing quite a bit in robotics.

Redzone Robotics
2425 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4639
(412) 765-3064
A spin-off of CMU, Redzone has focused on hazwaste and nuke
manipulator applications but is branching out into mobile
applications. Primarily protoypes and not multiple unit manufacturing.

Advanced Robotics Research Centre
Salford, UK.
The Advanced. Robotics Research Ltd (incorporating the National
Advanced Robotics Research Centre, UK) is a joint UK Government and UK
Industries funded research organisation involved in the research of
enabling technologies for the advanced robotics systems.

Vision Applications
Small, low cost fovial camera systems. Development stages. Unique
integrated, super small camera/pan/tilt device. Miniature active
vision systems, video telephones.

Mechanical Engineering Lab (MEL)
Tsukuba City
Kazuo Tanie: Robotics and cybernetics

--NASA Centers
NASA Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL)
Pasadena, CA
Hazardous-environment robots, teloperation, control, space and
planetary missions.
Tony Bejczy, Chuck Weisbin, Brian Wilcox, Larry Mathies,
Henry Stone, David Miller

NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
Moffett Field, CA
Telepresence and virtual user interfaces, vision (optical and parallel
processing), free-flyers, task planning, agents.
Contact: Butler Hine III
Terry Fong

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Contact: Stepehn Leake
Since the cancellation of the Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS), the Robotics
Lab has been concentrating on work in the area of automated space craft
servicing. The goal is to replace or supplement Extra Vehicular Activity
(EVA) with teleoperated or semiautonomous robotic systems for external
vehicle maintenance. Current project includes a robot to assist in
second Hubble servicing mission.

NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Houston, TX
Contact: Charles Price
More of an operations house but lots of shuttle RMS work. Becoming
central site for Artemis (lunar explorer) work.

NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Robotics Group
Contact: Bill Jones
Like JSC, KSC is an operations house with responsibility to keep
shuttles flying and integrate payloads. There is a small but
growing robotics group that is emplacing ground support robotics
applications. Recent work includes filter inspector for launch pad
payload areas, shuttle radiator inspector and a mobile system for
thermal protection system tasks.

NASA Langley Research Center, (LaRC)
Contact: Jack Pennington - vision, inspection, 3-D sensors

Southwest Research Institute
San Antonio, TX
Robotics and Automation Department
Some large systems for servicing aircraft (painting, spraying,
deriveting etc)

Oak Ridge National Lab
PO Box 2008, MS-6364
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6364
(615) 574-6126
Contact: Alex L. Bangs
Center for Engineering Systems Advanced Research (CESAR)

Research in mobile and manipulator robotics, including redundant
and multiple manipulators, cooperating mobile robots, parallel
vision systems, sensor fusion, real-time quantitative reasoning
and behavior based control, and machine learning. Current
applications include robots for nuclear power stations,
environmental restoration and waste management, material
handling, and space exploration.
Researchers: Alex Bangs, Marty Beckerman, Judd Jones, Reinhold Mann,
Ed Oblow, Francois Pin, Michael Unseren

+++Graduate Program in Robotics:

Any good four-year school undoubtedly offers robotics courses within
engineering programs. Departments of mechanical and electrical
engineering and computer srcience are all good candidates for
coursework in Robotics. However, a number of schools have established
track records and a focus on robotics and those are listed here.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science both have strong
robotics efforts. Asada, Slotine, Brooks, Raibert and others
are known and respected for their work in direct-drive arm, control
techniques, architectures, running machines etc.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
The Robotics Institute is a 150 person organization that offers
a PhD in Robotics but students from other programs (engineering and
computer science mostly) do research in the Institute as well. Lots
of mobile robot work, computer integrated manufacturing, rapid
prototyping, sensors, vision, navigation, learning and architectures.
Program is taking taking qualifiers and a program of research leading to
a thesis and the degree.

Facilities include about 10 mobile systems with more under design and
construction. Many manipulator systems and lots of compute
The Institute will be starting an MS program as well.
Takeo Kanade - Vision and Autonomous Systems Center
Pradeep Khosla - Advanced Manipulator Laboartory
Matt Mason - Manipulation Laboratory
Tom Mitchell - Learning Robots Lab
Hans Moravec - Mobile Robots Lab
Mel Seigel - Sensors Laboratory (non vision)
Steve Shafer - Calibrated Imaging Laboratory
Red Whittaker - Field Robotics Center
and many others.....
Graduate program contact:
Graduate Admissions Coordinator
The Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

University of Pennsylvania.
UPenn offers Masters and PhD programs in Robotics and Robotics related
fields of study. These programs are offered through the Departments of
Computer and Information Science, Systems Engineering, and Mechanical
Engineering and Applied Mechanics. The bulk of the robotics research
is conducted in the inter-disciplinary General Robotics and Active
Sensory Perception (GRASP) laboratory. Active areas of research are
Telerobotics, Multiple Arm Control, Robotic Vision, Leanring Control,
Multi-agent Robotics and Mechanical Design. Leding Faculty members
are Drs. R. Bajcsy and R.P. Paul.

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Artificial Intelligence Lab (Elec. Eng. and CS) relevant to robotics
includes machine vision, systems and control, multiple cooperating
agents (arms and mobile), and application of SOAR to robots (arms and
mobile). (in conjunction with SOAR groups at CMU and elsewhere)

North Carolina State Univerisity
Raleigh, NC
Professor Ren Luo
(919) 515-5199

Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA
Mechanical Engineering:
Bernard Roth (kinematics of manipulators)
Mark Cutkosky: destrous manipulation and concurrent manufacturing
Larry Liefer (rehabilitation, user interfaces)
CS Department:
Nils Nilsson
Mike Genesereth
Jean-Claude Latombe (path planning and geometric reasoning)
Leo Guibas (geometric reasoning)
Tom Binford (vision)
Yoav Shoham (agents)
Oussama Khatib
Aerospace Robotics Laboratory:
Bob Cannon (teleoperation, free flyers, space robotics,
flexible manipulators)

University of Southern California (USC)
USC has a new MS Program called: Master of Science in Computer
Science with specialization in Robotics & Automation

Beginning in Fall, 1993, this new MS program seeks to prepare students
for a career in the application of Computer Science to design,
manufacturing, and robotics. It also serves as an introduction to this
area for students who wish to pursue advanced studies and research
leading to a Ph.D. A major goal is to produce a steady stream of
graduates who are qualified to tackle challenging problems in the
development of software for CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design and
Manufacturing) and robotics.

There is a strong focus on designing and building within the program
Exposure to the practical aspects (and difficulties) of robotics and
automation is strongly encouraged through laboratory work, and an
optional thesis, conducted in collaboration with industry and research

For additional information, a complete set of degree requirements, and
application materials, contact our Student Coordinator:
Ms. Amy Yung
Computer Science Department
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0781
Telephone: (213) 740-4499
Internet: [email protected]
Faculty include:
George Bekey : Assembly planning, design for assembly,
neural nets for robot control, autonomous robots.
Ken Goldberg : Motion planning, grasping, machine learning.
Sukhan Lee : Assembly planning, sensor-based manipulation.
Gerard Medioni: Computer vision.
Ramakant Nevatia: Computer vision.
Keith Price: Computer vision.
Aristides Requicha: Geometric modeling, geometric uncertainty,
planning for manufacture and inspection

About twenty other faculty member associated with the Institute for
Robotics and Intelligent Systems and many others associated with
USC's Information Sciences Institute (ISI).
Brochure can be obtained from:
Ken Goldberg, Asst Professor
IRIS, Dept of Computer Science
Powell Hall Room 204
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0273
Internet: [email protected]

University of Maryland
Space Systems Laboratory. Large Neutral Bouyancy Tank,
teleoperations research,
Dave Akin - director
Dave has flown shuttle experiments.

New York University (NYU)
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
Richard Wallace - vision

Yale University - Vision and Robotics Group
There is a broad spectrum of research activities in vision and robotics at
Yale. The members of this group include faculty from Computer Science,
Electrical Engineering, Psychology, Neuroscience, and the Yale Medical
School. Active areas of research include machine vision, human and computer
object recognition, geometric reasoning, mobile robotics, sensor-based
manipulation, control of highly dynamic nonlinear systems, planning, and
learning. There is also a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary work
integrating robotics and machine vision.
James S. Duncan: Geometric/physical models for analysing biomedical images.
Gregory D. Hager: Sensor-based/task-directed decision-making and planning.
David J. Kriegman: Model-based object recognition, mobile robot navigation.
Drew McDermott: Planning and scheduling reactive behavior, knowledge
representation, cognitive mapping.
Eric Mjolsness: Neural network approaches to vision and visual memory.
Dan Koditschek: Application of dynamical systems theory to machine dexterity.
Pat Sharpe: Computational models of hippocampal spatial learning.
Michael J. Tarr: Behavioral and computational approaches to visual cognition.
Kenneth Yip: Automated reasoning about complex dynamical systems.

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mechanical Engineering & Electrical Engineering:
Roland Chin - machine vision, pattern recognition
Neil Duffie - teleoperation, autonomous systems, sensors
Robert Lorenz - actuators and sensors, robot control algorithms
Vladimir Lumelsky - motion planning, real-time sensing and navigation
Computer Science:
Charles Dyer - machine vision
Wisconsin Center for Space Robotics and Automation (WCSAR) -
Interdepartmental NASA center: work is done on various applications
of robotic systems for space.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Pasadena, CA
Joel Burdick - serpentine manipulation, control

Rennsalear Polytechnic Institute (RPI)-?
Center for Intelligent Robotic Systems for Space Exploration (CIRSSE)
George Saridis
Arthur Sanderson
Jon Wenn
Appro. 20 PhD and 30 MS students working in the center. Path
planning and multi-arm control are current focus.

McGill University
Department of Biomedical Engineering
3775 University Street
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3A 2B4
Ian Hunter and John Hollerbach
Interests include: Master-slave manipulators for precise surgery

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
Steve Jacobsen
Center for Engineering Design
3176 MEB
Hands, manipulators, biomedical applications, teleoperation
Micro electro-mechanical systems design.

Avi Kak: Vision and mobile robots
Antti Koivo: Manipulation
Mirek Skibiniewski: Construction Robotics

University of Kentucky
Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Systems
(founded 1990)

University of Alberta
Center for Machine Intelligence and Robotics

University of Wisconsin
Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR)

University of Kansas
Space Technology Center (Telerobotics)

University of Paris
INRIA (Nice) just started a Phd program in Robotics.

University of California at Berkeley
Faculty in Robotics at UC Berkeley
Dept. of EE&CS:
Prof. J. Canny: motion planning
Prof. R. Fearing: tactile sensing, dextrous manipulation
Prof. J. Malik: computer vision
Prof. S. Sastry: multi-fingered hands, control

Dept. of Optometry/EE&CS:
Prof. L. Stark: telerobotics

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering:
Prof. R. Horowitz: control of robotic manipulators
Prof. H. Kazerooni: man-robotic systems
Prof. M. Tomizuka: control of robotic manipulators
Richard Muller - micro mechanisms

Roger Brockett

University of Oxford
Robotics Research Group
The Robotics Group currently comprises about seventy
academics, postdoctoral research staff, overseas visitors, and
graduate students. A broad range of topics in advanced robotics is
studied in collaboration with industry and government establishments
throughout Europe.
Robot Design and Control
A number of projects are concerned with the design and control of

compliant robot arms.
Parallel Architectures
Real-time sensor-based control of systems such as robot vehicles is a
topic of increasing interest. For low bandwidth sensors such as
sonar, the emphasis is on Transputer architectures. For high
bandwidth sensors such as vision, hybrid SIMD/MIMD architectures are
being developed. A rapidly growing effort is concerned with the
design, implementation, and application of neural networks. Digital
and hybrid digital/analog chips have been designed and are being
fabricated. Algorithms and TTL circuits have been constructed for
text-to-speech synthesis.
Vision and Active Vision
The theory and applications of vision accounts for approximately
one-third of the laboratory's effort. Current projects include edge
detection and texture segmentation and the computation of visual
motion by a parallel algorithm that estimates the optic flow field.
Sensors and Sensor Integration
Includes laser rangefinder development in addition to analog
and digital sonar sensors, as well as infrared rangers, have been
developed for the AGV project (below).
Autonomous Guided Vehicles
Work on a research prototype of a fielded industrial AGV cuts across
many of the separate themes of the laboratory's work. The goal of the
initial project is to equip the AGV with sonar, infrared, laser
ranging, trinocular stereo, and model-based vision sensors to enable
it to avoid unexpected obstacles and to locate pallets.

Salford University, UK
Advanced Robotics Research Centre
Ultrasonic wrist sensor for collision avoidance
Controller design
Stereo Vision
Dr Francis Nagy
Speech Control of a Puma-560
Control of an 'Inverted Pendulum'
Miniature tactile sensors

Reading University, UK
Prof Kevin Warwick
Using Neural Nets in Robotics
Novel control algorithms

Bristol Polytechnic, UK
Mr Khodlebandelhoo
Bi arm research
Path planning for redundant robots
Wall climbing robots

Hull University, UK
Prof Alan Pugh
Garment Manufacturing
Arm/controller design

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
The Institute of Robotics
Postgrad diploma in Mechatronics
The Institute of Robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology (ETH) constitutes about 40 members of staff (including
Ph.D. students). The main research theme is Intelligent
Interactive Mechines. That is to say developing intelligent
robots that in cooperation with man solves difficult tasks.
The institute takes its students from the departments of
Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer
Science. Robotics lectures and project work is offered to
undergraduate students. In addition there is the "Nachdiplom"
in mechatronics (somewhere near a M.Sc.) where robotics is
a central theme. For further details on the "Nachdiplom" see
below. Finally there are about 30 Ph.D. students curently
registered working on a variety of themes and projects.
Institute facilities include: several different robot arms
including the in house developed modular robot arm (MODRO),
mobile vehicles including the in house developed modular
mobile robot, walking machines, supercomputing facilities,
dedicated vision and signal processing hardware, etc.

The head of the group is Professor G. Schweitzer.
Institute of Robotics
ETH-Center, LEO,
8092 Zurich
telephone: (01) 256 35 84 (secretary)
telefax: (01) 252 02 76.

The "Nachdiplom" in mechatronics runs over two semesters plus
three months project/thesis work. The lectures covers:
robotics, mobile robotics, micro robots, computer based
kinematics and dynamics of multibody systems, control
theory, magnetic bearings, real time software techniques,
information processing with neural networks, computer
vision, and artificial intelligence. The fees are 2400,-
Swiss Franks, founding is available. Contact:
H.-K. Scherrer
Mechatronics postgraduate course
ETH-Centre, LEO B3
8092 Zurich
email: [email protected]

Ithaca, NY
Mechanical Engineering
Sam Landsberger
Jeff Koechling
Bruce Donald

End of part1

aka: Kevin DowlingCarnegie Mellon University
tel: (412) 268-8830The Robotics Institute
adr: [email protected], PA 15213

aka: Kevin DowlingCarnegie Mellon University
tel: (412) 268-8830The Robotics Institute
adr: [email protected], PA 15213

From: [email protected] (Kevin Dowling)
Date: 15 Feb 93 04:39:34 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.robotics,news.answers
Subject: comp.robotics Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) part 2/2

Archive-name: robotics-faq/part2
Last-modified: Sun Feb 14 23:26:33 1993

This is part 2 of 2 of the comp.robotics Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.
This FAQ addresses commonly asked questions relating to robotics.

Part 2 [use the +++ to assist in searching]
+++Wireless Communication
+++Suppliers and sources for Parts
+++Hero Robots
+++Puma Manipulators
+++Real-Time Operating Systems
+++Robot Controller Survey

This post, as a collection of information, is Copyright 1993 Kevin
Dowling. Distribution through any means other than regular Usenet
channels must be by permission. The removal of this notice is

Changes, additions, comments, suggestions and questions to:
Kevin Dowlingphone:412.268.8830
Robotics Institutefax:412.682.1793
Carnegie Mellon Universityemail:[email protected]
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


This list covers only the most frequently requested types of
robot sensors. These include point-range sensors, cameras, and
acoustic devices. See Sensors magazine FAQ> directory for a large and comprehensive list. This list covers
the following: [use === to search]

===inertial measurement devices
===laser rangefinders
===force/torque sensors
===sonar sensors
===position determination devices
===pan/tilt mechanisms
===shape memory devices


There are a large number of cameras on the market and even many
consumer products such as the smaller camcorders are inexpensive and
suitable for imaging applications. I'll try to list some different and
unusual ones here.
Note that although some of these cameras are very small many
of them are appended to a large box of electronics via a cable that
supplies power and transmits video. For mobile applications DC power
inputs may be an isse as well.

Sony Component Products
15 Essex Road,
Paramus, NJ 07652
tel: (201) 368-5188
fax: (201) 368-3514
Sony XC/999/999P is a nice small color CCD camera the size of a
microphone. CCD resolution is 768Hx493V. The 999 is NTSC and the 999P
is the PAL format.
XC-75 has small camera head and separate electronics.

Toshiba IK-M40A -- head is 1.5" long, 5/8" diameter

Panasonic GP-KS152 -- head is 1 3/8" long, 15/32" diameter

CCTV Corporation
315 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
tel: (800) 221-2240
fax: (212) 463-9758
CCTV makes a number of small CCD surveillance cameras. Some as
small as a pack of cigarettes that sell for less than $300.

CIDTech has some really nice ones with CID instead of CCD, especially good for
machine vision, no blooming, fast image grabbing.

====Inertial measurement devices
This includes such devices as accelerometers such as
accelerometers, gyros, and inertial devices used for measuring
orientation or acceleration of moving vehicles. Accelerometers are
devices for measuring the rate of change in velocity and can provide
estimations of distance or be used to detect high forces.

KVH Industries
110 Enterprise Center
Middletown, RI 02840
(401) 847-3327
Nice small well-designed units that provide heading data. About $1K w/
RS232 adapter.

Lucas NovaSensor
1055 Mission Court
Fremont, CA 94539
(510) 490-9100
Lucas makes a 1"x1"x0.5" accelerometer for about $200. Good noise
immunity but fragile.


Wide variety of gyro and accelerometer devices.

BEI - Systron Donner
2700 Systron Drive,
Concord, CA 94518-1399
tel: (510) 682-6161
fax: (510) 671-6590
GyroChip - a very small solid state angular rate sensor. Based a
quartz tuning fork device - all support electronics are included. Max
range available: +/-10 deg/sec to +/-1000 deg/sec. Input +/- 5VDC
Output scale +/- 2.5VDC. Systron Donner also makes a variety of linear
accelerometers and inertial measurement products.

====Laser rangefinders
There are a variety of laser rangefinding devices that have
been built and used over the past 8 years or so for robotics. The 3D
devices are still large, power hungry and heavy but give very nice
images suitable for fast map building and navigation work. Expect to
pay over $80K for these time-of-flight devices. Most AM Lidars measure
phase shift between outgoing and reflected beams. A mirror system
rasters the beam forming a video-camera-like image. Some devices
supply the reflectance image as well as range which is nice for
corresponding the two. Comprehensive references include:

P. Besl, ``Active, Optical Range Imaging Sensors'', Machine Vision and
Applications, v. 1, p. 127-152, 1988.

A longer version of Besl's paper appears in ``Advances in Machine
Vision: Architectures and Applications'', J. Sanz (ed.),
Springer-Verlag, 1988.

Other good surveys are Ray Jarvis' article in IEEE TPAMI v5n2 and
Nitzan's article in IEEE PAMI v10n2.

A number of laboratory works have also demonstrated FM or chirp
systems which can be highly accurate (e.g. high resolution elevation
maps of coins) but these are very specialized and I don`t know of
commercial devices currently.

ERIM (Environmental Research Institute of Michigan)
ERIM has built a number of custom AM laser rangefinders
including those used in the ALV (Autonomous Land Vehicle) program. CMU
and Martin Marietta have both used this systems in extensive work.
Basic system was a 128x64 2fps 20m (ambiguity interval) system.

Odetics has made a number of smaller laser scanners. That is, smaller
than their larger ERIM and Perceptron brethren. I have not heard any
independent reviews of the product however.

A spin-off of ERIM, Perceptron has also built a number of
AM laser rangefinders. CMU and Caterpillar have used these for map
building and obstacle avoidance work in rough terrain navigation.
128x128 programmable up to 2048x2048 through tilt, 2fps, programmable
tilt on nodding mirror. About $90K

Schwarz Electro-Optics
3404 N. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32804
tel: (407) 298-1802
fax: (407) 297-1794
Schwarz makes some very nice point range laser ranging devices. These
devices are slightly bigger than a soda can. About $6K. CMU experience
for use in simulated unmanned air vehicle platform worked well. Their
MARS (marine angle range system) is a rotating laser device that
reflects off targets in the environment. Max range up to 1000meters
using corner prisms. Accuracy +/- 1m. Erebus (Dante) Scanner used
Schwarz device as base.

Origin Instruments
854 Greenview Drive
Grand Praire, TX 750750-2438
tel: (214) 606-8740
fax: (214) 606-8741
The Dynasight sensor is a 3-D optical radar that provides real-time
3-D measurements of passive targets with sub-millimeter resolution.
Automatic search and track is provided, eye-safe operation and no
adjustments or alignment required. Original application was head
tracking of computer users but end- effector tracking is also viable.
Operatin range depends on target size 0.1-1.5m for 7mm target, 0.3-4m
for 25mm target and 1 to 6m for 75mm targets. RS-232 interface.
Accuracies 1mm cross range and 4mm down range, resolutions 0.1mm cross
range and 0.4mm down range.

A number of labs have built light stripe devices using projected light
LCD shutters and laser line projectors determine distance through
geometry (as opposed to directly measuring distance through
time-of-flight means) One common need is that of generating the laser

Rochester, NY
Manufactures semiconductor laser diode packages and cylindrical
lenses. Packages and small and rugged.

Recent power tools such as miter saws and radial arm saws are using
laser line projection - these may be available cheaply as spare parts.

===Force and Torque Sensors:

California Cybernetics
10322 Sherman Grove
Sunland, CA 91040
(818) 353-5991
(818) 951-3889 (fax)
Six DOF F-T devices.

22 Harter Avenue
Woodland, CA 95695
(916) 661-3677
6-DOF force-torque sensors. Strain gage technology. Newer packages
have all electronics built into the sensor. Make some high-force
devices as well. CMU's Ambler used JR3's on all the feet.

Assurance Technologies (ATI)
(formerly Lord Industrial Automation)
503D Highway 70 East
Garner, North Carolina 27529
tel: (919) 772-0115
fax: (919) 772-8259
Largest supplier of muli-axis force sensors. Use silicon rather than
foil strain gages for lower strain levels and increased life. F/T
sensor ratings from +/- 15lbs to +/- 150lbs (+/- 15 in-lbs to +/- 600
in-lbs) weights are 0.4 and 2.2 lbs for the 4 available sensors.
Serial or parallel digital interface or analog interface. ATI also
makes robotic tool-changers and an RCC device for assembly operations.
An ATI sensor is also incorporated in the Hughes SMARTee end-effector.

Hughes STX
4400 Forbes Blvd
Lanham, MD 20706
tel: (301) 794-5016
fax: (301) 306-0963
A 6-dof end-effector with automatic load sensing and compensation.
Control modes include position control (cartesian with user spec-ed
poses and frames), impedence and force control modes. Programmable
behaviors (sliding, hinge, move-to-touch, guarded move, follow etc),
open architecture (VxWorks, VME, user-linakable libraries) and a lot
more. Interfaces available included RS-232, ethernet, RS-422 and SCSI.
Pretty amazing end-effector!

1919 Green Road
Suite B-101
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
tel: (313) 668-2567
fax: (313) 668-8780
PER-force - A 6dof compact force-reflecting controller. Can be used
for teleoperationor interactive graphics applications.

===Sonar sensors
Acoustic time-of-flight devices have been around for awhile
now. The ubiquitous Polaroid device is cheap and easily integrated and
has has found wide use in robotic devices. Other companies have
developed nice complete turnkey sonar devices though and Polaroid is
no longer the only choice.

119 Windsor St,
Cambridge, MA 02139
(800) 225-1000 ordering
(800) 225-1618 technical assistance
Polariod Ultrasonic Components Group offers two ultrasonic ranging kits:
Specs are:
Distance range: 0.26 to 10.7 meters
Resolution: Nominal +- 3mm to 3m, +-1% over entire range
Sonar acceptance angle: approx. 20 degrees
Power Requirement: 6VDC, 2.5 Amps (1 mS pulse), 150mA quiescent
Weight: Transducer, 8.2gm
Ranging module, 18.4 gm
Designer's Kit:
1 transducer, 1 ranging module, electronics display
accurate to 1/10th meter. Cost is $169
NEW Piezotransducer kit
1"-50' +/- 1%
RS-232 port and analog output
breadboard real estate
OEM kit:
2 transducers, 2 ranging modules. Cost is $99.

Siemans - nice complete sensor package, 5 degree cone angle

Massa - components

Texas Instruments
Type SN28827 Sonar Ranging Module
See TI Applications Notes D2780
Under $50, needs only 5VDC
Not sure if these units are still manufactured but they are often in
surplus catalogs.

===Position determination
Noncontact, cabled measurement of 6DOF's. Virtual reality
applications. System ranges can be as small as a tabletop and can
extend for kilometers. All measurements are given in metric unless
spec sheets appear in English units only. All pricing is in $US.

Polhemus Inc
(802) 655-3139
(802) 655-1439 (fax)
Burlington, VT
3Space, Isotrak, FasTrak:
Electromagnetic devices for sensing xyz and rotations remotely.
Limited to 1m or so radius. Sensitive to metallic objects in vicinity.
Approx $3k

Ascension Technology
(802) 655-7879
(802) 655-5904
The Bird. A 6d0f measuring device much like the Pohlhemus device.

Denning Mobile Robots
21 Concord Street
Wilmington, MA 01887
tel: (508) 658-7800
fax: (508) 658-2492
LaserNav 2: rotating laser (Class 1 eyesafe) scans barcode targets in
area and returns target angle. This is combined with target location
to provide vehicle position and heading. RS-232 interface.

Caterpillar also has a rotating laser device for it's SGV products
for factory Automation. They license the Cedeglec (nee GEC) developed

Video systems
Selspot - used for biomechanical applications.

===Pan/Tilt devices
A common robotic need. Most pan-tilts sold today by companies such as
Pelco and Vicon are for CCTV applications for continuous scanning or
remote operation. At most these will have pots for feedback.

Directed Perception
1451 Capuchino Avenue,
Burlingame, CA 94010
(415) 342-9399
Computer controlled pan-tilt unit Model PTU-33-17.5
Weighs 1kg and can support ~1.5kg camera payload.
Very nice specs: 200 deg/sec slew, 3-4arc-min accuracy,
RS-232 interface, About $1200.

CCTV Corporation
315 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
tel: (800) 221-2240
fax: (212) 463-9758
Standard CCTV pan-tilt devices like those from Vicon and
others. Inexpensive but no computer control. $557 - $1400

CameraMan is a pan/tilt device built to support any camcorder
and has a wireless interface to an external remote control. 360 deg
pan and 50 deg of tilt. The unit is made by ParkerVision and sold
through Columbia AudioVideo (and probably other suppliers)

TeleRobotics International, Inc.
7325 Oak Ridge Hwy Suite 104
Knoxville, TN 37931
tel: (615) 690-5600
fax: (615) 690-2913
An all-electronic pan/tilt/zoom resampler. That is, they put a box
behind a camera with a fish-eye lens. The box has digital inputs for
pan, tilt, zoom, rotation. The box resamples the video signal and
produces an output as though the image were acquired by a camera with
those parameters. Used as an alternative to pan/tilt devices.

A number of undersea companies make pan-tilt devices as well.

Remote Ocean Systems
5111-L Santa Fe Street
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 483-3902
Underwater P/T systems, expensive $6K but very nicely packaged

RSI Research
Sidney, BC
(604) 656-0101
Underwater pan-tilts

6377 Nancy Ridge Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
(619) 452-8903
underwater pan-tilts including Cobra, very small design.

Hawthorne, NJ
(201) 423-0347
Computer controlled P/T devices - fairly large though.

Zebra Kinesis
(spin-off of Zebra Robotics)
Jeff Kerr
(415) 328-8884
Small Pan/tilt head.

===Shape memory materials:

Nickel-titanium alloys were first discovered by the Naval Ordinance
Laboratory decades ago and the material was termed NiTinOL. These
materials have the intriguing property that they provide actuation
through cycling of current through the materials. It undergoes a
'phase change' exhibited as force and motion in the wire.

524 San Anselmo Ave.,
San Anselmo, CA 94960
tel: (415) 455-9330
(800) 374-5764
fax: (415) 455-9333
A number of muscle wire (nitinol) projects including a small walking
machine. Book and sample kit with 1m each of 50,100 and 150 um wire -
enough to build all 14 projects in book.

Memry Technologies
57 Commerce Drive
Brookfield, CT 06804
tel: (203) 740-7311
fax (203) 775-2359
Memry sell a Mitsubishi developed polyurethane based Shape Memory
Polymer. The material undergoes property changes in hardness,
flexibility, elastic modulus and vapor permeability under temperature
change. Medical applications are one series of applications for this
+++Wireless Communication
Tethers are sometimes impractical and at best an annoyance.
Digital communication via RF and IR links is becoming cheaper and a
variety of companies are providing solutions. For basic serial line
communication a wide variety of radio modems are available that use
fixed frequencies or spread spectrum techniques. In many cases they
are also transparent. That is, you plug them directly into serial
ports on the robot and off-board computing directly. Higher
bandwidths such as Ethernet or high speed synchronous serial require
different hardware. With high speed serial you may even be able to
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocal) instead of LANs.

For regular frame rate video over relatively short distances
it's hard to beat the price and availability of several consumer
products in the $100 range. Check local stores or place like the
Sharper Image (Rabbit is one of the companies making these units)

There are some related articles in the Feb/93 Byte Magazine.

Proxim Inc.
295 North Barnardo Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043
tel: (415) 960-1630
fax: (415) 964-5181

A product announcement for wireless LAN board on p.68 in May/92 Byte Magazine
Price: $495
Range: 800 ft.
Data Rate: 242 Kbps
Channels: 3

Telesystems SLW
85 Scarsdale Road, Suite 201
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada
We've used ARLAN with the Ambler work and probably will
continue to use it. It's an ethernet bridge and it smart about routing
traffic across the repeater. The 620 is about $5K. Can be used without
a license in the US. (spread spectrum) 6 miles.

Motorola Radio-Telephone Systems Group, Arlington Heights, ILL

18GHz-based system design for wireless, indoors networking. The boxes
are fairly large, about the size of a shoebox, and are relocatable but
not portable. Problem is that is really isn't for mobile applications.
Area is really like swiss cheese. Not a problem for fine adjustment
for the non-portable applications but a big problem for mobile devices.

NCR sells the WaveLAN, which has about a 1Mbit/sec data rate. Not
exactly "ethernet", but interfaceable to most networks using MS-DOS
boxes as routers.

Tetherlink in California is experimenting with a 2Mbit/sec cellular
system that is designed for roving portables.

O'Neil and GRE America provide bidirectional 19.2Kps RS-232 links that
you can run a terminal emulator or SLIP over, range about 100 ft.

310 N. Mary Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
tel: (408) 735-5800
fax: (408) 735-6643
AirLink - series of highspeed synch or async modems to 256kb/s.
Interfaces include V.11, RS-232, EIA-530. Spread spectrum device
operating in 902-928Mhz range.

A handful of other companies have units in the 250Kbps range that are
designed to plug into the parallel port of a PC or laptop and emulate
a Dlink-like ethernet adapter. You still need to use an MS-DOS box to
interface it to an existing network.

+++Robot parts: Suppliers of useful mechanical and electrical components.

Allied Devices
2365 Milburn Avenue,
PO Box 502
Bladwin, NY 11510
(516) 223-9100
(516) 223-9172 (fax)
Standard precision mechanical components

American Science and Surplus
(708) 475-8440

Winfred M. Berg
499 Ocean Ave.,
East Rockaway, LI, NY 11518
(516) 599-5010
Precision Mechanical Components

C&H Sales
Pasadena, CA
(818) 796-2628
(800) 325-9465
Surplus parts. Motors etc.

McMaster-Carr Supply Company
PO box 440
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0440
tel: (908) 329-3200
fax: (908) 329-3772
An amazing catalog of 100's of thousands of parts. Lots of mechanical
things not much for electronics, computingbut almost everything else.

Mendelson Electronics Co., Inc
(800) 422-3525

Small Parts Inc.
6891 NE Third Ave
PO Box 381966
Miami, FL 33238-1966
(305) 557-8222
fax (305) 751-6217
Lots of neat small supplies including: materials, metal stock, fasteners,
tools etc.

Servo Systems
115 Main Road
PO Box 97
Montville, NJ 07045-9299
(201) 335-1007
fax (201) 335-1661
Surplus pieces and prices, motors, actuators, geardrives, controllers,
robots, encoders, transducers, amplifiers.

Herbach and Rademan
401 E. Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19134
(215) 426-1708
Lots of surplus stuff including AC and DC motors.

50 Newton Road
Danbury, CT 06810-6216
Gears, cams, universals etc.

Box 1398
Torrington, CT 06790
(203) 243-5115
drive components, gears etc.

Stock Drive Products
2101 Jericho Turnpike
Bobx 5416
New Hyde Park, NY 11042-5416
(516) 328-3300
(516) 326-8827 (fax)
Great set of handbooks of thousands of components.

Edmund Scientific
101 E. Gloucester Pike
Barrington, NJ 08007-1380
(609) 573-6250 order
(609) 573-6260 customer service
Lots of optics, science and educational items. A little high priced, but
nice selection.

PIC Design
PO Box 1004
Benson Road
Middlebury, CT 06762-1004
(800) 243-6125 (except CT)
(203) 758-8272
Bearings, clutches, brakes, couplings, tools, belts, pulleys, gears etc.

Any technical library should have catalogs from the larger
distributors. These include McMaster-Carr, Grainger, Allied, Newark,

+++Hero robots:

Heros are no longer being made but Heath (Zenith) still offers some
replacement parts. They had about 8 years of sales: 4,000 Hero Jr's,
3,000 Hero 2000's, 14,000 assembled Hero 1's. Ones with less
capability didn't do as well but higher priced ones did ok in the
market. Service and maintainability are a problem due to the sheer
number of bolts, pulleys, boards, sensors, cables etc. Used ones can
be picked up cheap - caveat emptor.

Heathkit [has gone out of business]
Benton Harbor, MI
order line (800) 253-0570
tech line (616) 982-3980
+++Puma manipulators:

Pumas are probably the most common robot in university laboratories
and one of the most common assembly robots. Designed by Vic Schienman
many years ago, the Puma (Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly)
was produced for many years by Unimation (later purchased by
Westinghouse and sold at a loss later to Staubli, a Swiss company)
Found in many university labs as well.

PUMA singularities:

The PUMA has three singularities: the ``alignment'' singularity (wrist
is as close to the axis of joint 1 as it can get), the ``elbow''
singularity (elbow is fully extended or folded up; the latter is not
possible because of joint limits), and the wrist singularity (the axes
of joints 4 and 6 are aligned).

The angles corresponding to these depend on the Denavit-Hartenburg
(DH) parameter assignment. For the PUMA, the definitions given in [1]
are perhaps the most commonly used Using these, and letting A2, A3,
D3, and D4 denote the translational DH offsets, the singularities
occur when the following are true:

Alignment:D4*sin(ang2+ang3) + A2*cos(ang2) - A3*cos(ang2+ang3) == 0

Elbow:sin(ang3 - atan2(A3,D4)) == 0

Wrist:sin(ang5) == 0

Typical offset values for the PUMA 560 are

A2 = 431.80
D3 = 149.09
A3 = 20.32
D4 = 433.070

[information provided by John Lloyd ]

Trident Robotics and Research, Inc.
2516 Matterhorn Drive
Wexford, PA 15090-7962
(412) 934-8348
Trident makes boards for replacing the VAL computer inside a PUMA
with the computer of your choice. There is an interface for VMEbus,
Multibus, and PC-AT bus. (An IndustryPack interface is in
development.) This board set allows memory-mapped access to the
motors and sensors of the standard PUMA 560, 260 and 760 series. It's
an interface board with 6 encoder counters, 8 D/A's, 8 A/D's and some
digital I/O.

Useful references:

[1] Richard Paul, Brian Shimano, and Gordon Mayer, ``Kinematic Control
Equations for Simple Manipulators''. IEEE Transactions on Systems,
Man, and Cybernetics, Vol SMC-11, No. 6, June 1981.

[2] B Armstrong, O Khatib, and J. Burdick
The Explicit Dynamic Model and Inertial Parameters of the PUMA 560 Arm
Proceedings IEEE Int. Conference on Robotics and Automation, April 1986
San Francisco, CA pp510-518

Simulation allows researchers, designers and users to construct robots
and task environments for a fraction of the cost and time of real
systems. They differ significantly from traditional CAD tools in that
they allow study of geometries, kinematics, dynamics and motion
planning. This list is NOT a comparative analysis of the different
systems but rather a list of systems that are available.

Ars Magna:

The ARS MAGNA robot simulator provides an abstract world in which a
planner controls a mobile robot. The simulator also includes a simple
graphical user-interface which uses the CLX interface to the X window
system. Version 1.0 of the ARS MAGNA simulator is documented in Yale
Technical Report YALEU/DCS/RR #928, "ARS MAGNA: The Abstract Robot
Simulator". This report is available in the distribution as a
Postscript(tm) file, as well as from
Paula Murano
Yale University
Department of Computer Science
P.O. Box 2158 Yale Station
New Haven, CT 06520-2158
Comments to Sean Engelson:
ARS MAGNA is available by anonymous ftp:
directory: pub/nisp
filenames: *****

PO Box 203
Oakdale, IA 52319
(800) 383-1322
(319) 337-8968
DADS - kinematics and dynamics package. Have ProEngineer to CADSI
interface. Supports rigid and flexible body analysis. Animation and
interfaces to FEA/FEM and CAD programs.

Deneb Robotics, Inc.
3285 Lapeer Road West
PO Box 214687
(313) 377-6900
Platforms:SPARCs, (SGI's?)
Allows offline programming, dynamics capability etc.

Mechanical Dynamics Inc.
2301 Commonwealth Blvd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
(313) 944-3800
ADAMS dynamics package

1601 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road
Cupertino, California 95014
(408) 725 8908
Platforms:SGI-4D, SUN SparcStation, Apollo, Intergraph,
Computervision, HP, IBM Risc6000 and DEC.
Cost:Base system around $55K (commercial license)
They also have a University Partnership
Program to enable universities to purchase CimStation
for around $20K US and $25K International.

Provides: Basic CAD Tools: 2D and 3D solid & wireframe, IGES
interface, Robot Modelling: generate the required governing equations
(iterative or closed form) automatically for "many" classes of robots
Path Generation Kinematic Simulation with Collision Detection Dynamic
Simulation (CimStation only at this point) I/O Operations

John Craig of "Introduction to Robotics" fame is head of Silma's R&D.
Silma has a programming environment called SIL complete with its own
PASCAL-like iterative language with graphics and robotics extensions.
CimStation is built out of this language. This allows you to add your
own functionality. E.g. your own path planner. You can also write
C-code, compile it, and add it to the system.

1223 Peoples Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
tel: (518) 276 2817
fax: 518 276 638
contact: Vinay Joshi
Products: Work-Out
Cost: Around $25000.

Tecnomatix Technologies/Robcad
39750 Grand River Avenue
Suite A-3
Novi, MI 48375
tel: (313) 471-6140
fax: (313) 471-6147
Platforms: HP, Silicon Graphics, IBM and Sun
Tecnomatix makes several packages for simulation including ones for
Spot welding, Arc welding, Painting, Teleoperation (Martel), CMM and
Drilling. They also have an open systems environment, ROSE, that
allows user customization and interface design. ROBCAD itself allows
robot modeling (library of 100 robots is supplied), collision free
path generation, importation of IGES, VDAFS and SET files and direct
interface with Catia and ComputerVision.

[GMF - the entry that used to be here, no longer supports OLPW-200,
instead they are a Robcad reseller]

Auto Simulations, Inc.
655 Medical Drive
Bountiful, UT 84010
ph# 801 298 1398
telex 801 298 8186
contact: Teresa Francis, ext 330
Products: AutoMod II
Platforms: ?
Cost: ?
+++Real-Time Operating Systems

This is an abridged list of Dave Stewart's FAQ on RTOS'. See
comp.real-time and news.answers for that FAQ.

Below is a list of both commercial and research Real-Time Operating
Systems (RTOS) which are being used around the world for implementing
robotic systems. Only the names and addresses of the distributors are
included. Since the available features of each are constantly
changing, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are greatly a
matter of opinion and target application, no such descriptions are

Commercial RTOS:

Runs on Intel 80X86-based computers
Intel Corporation
3065 Bowers Avenue
Santa Clara, California 95051
tel (408) 987-8080
* LynxOS
Runs on wide variety of platforms, including Motorola,
Intel, Sun, and Hewlett Packard.

Lynx Real-Time Systems, Inc
16780 Lark
Los Gatos, CA 95030
tel (408) 354-7770
fax (408) 354-7085

* OS-9
Runs on Motorola MC680X0-based single board computers.

Microware System Corporation
1900 N.W. 114th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50322
tel (515) 224-1929
* pSOS+
Runs on a variety of Motorola 680X0 and 88100, and
Intel 80386 computers. Requires a host workstation or
personal computer if pASSPORT+ real-time programming
environment is to be used.

Software Components Group, Inc.
1731 Technology Drive
San Jose, CA 95110
tel (408) 437-0700
fax (408) 437-0711

Runs on a wide variety of processors, including Motorola 680X0,
Intel 80X86 and 80960, National Semiconductor series 3200.

Ready Systems
470 Potrero Avenue
P.O.Box 60217
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(800) 228-1249
fax (214) 991-8775

* VxWorks
Runs on a wide variety of MC680X0 and SPARC-based single
board computers. Requires a workstation for program
developments. Widely used in Unix environments for realtime work.

Wind River Systems Inc.
1000 Atlantic Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(800) 545-9463
fax (415) 814-2010

Research RTOS that are distributed:

* Chimera II
Runs on MC680X0-based single board computers.
Requires a Sun workstation for program development
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
ATTN: David B. Stewart
tel (412) 268-7120
fax (412) 268-3890
email: [email protected]

* Harmony
Runs on MC680X0-based single board computers
Division of Electrical Engineering
National Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0R6
ref: NRCC Tech Report No. 30081

Robot Control C Library (RCCL)
A robot programming environment embedded in C/UNIX. A graphics
simulator is provided which supports the PUMA, Stanford, and ``Elbow''
manipulators. The system can be compiled on SGIs (so the Indigo should
be fine), and the graphics runs under either X or GL. You can get the
system from RCIM for a small fee to cover copying and shipping. If you
are interested send mail to:
John LloydResearch Center for Intelligent Machines
[email protected] McGill University, Montreal
(514) 398-8281Fax: (514) 398-7348

+++Survey of Robot Development Environments

Willie Lim has compiled an list of many robotics groups and their
respective hardware and software development environments. This list
is the synopsis of the information that Willie received. See Willie's
post for more details.

Please send updates, additions, corrections, etc. to:

Updated: Wed Jan 6 17:07:09 1993

Organization RobotDevelopmentLanguages &
TypeHW EnvironmentSW Enviroment
============= ===============================
Alcatel Alsthom Indoor robotSPARC II, VME procVxWorks, MOTIF
Recherche (AAR) Outdoorrobot

Brown U. Mobile robotsSPARC I & II,OS/9, GNU Emacs, Xlib,
VME 68030MOTIF, Forth, C, C++

CMU a) SM^2(walker)VME 68020 & 68030,Chimera II RTOS, C,
SunSun tools

b) AMBLERVME 68020 & 68030,MOTIF, VxWorks,
SPARC II, IrisX windows, C
c) Mobile Mani-Z8088s, Sun IPC & ELC,X Window, Lisp, C, Hero

d) Mobile robotSPARC, Iris, Mac,X windows, Openwindows,
VME, Maspar, TitanVxWorks, Chimera RTOS,
e) NavlabSun-4X windows, C

Colorado Sch. Denning MRV-3Sparc IIs, IPXs,C, X11, Khoros,
of Mines IBM RS/6000spotential fields
X11 visualization tool

Colorado St. 6-legged robot68HC11EVM, ATC

Cornell U.2 mobile robotsGespak 68000, IntelScheme, Lucid Lisp
(robot with80c196, Sun(?)
base coming)

Cray Research(?)Mobile robotMC68HC16EBV, 386Assembler

Georgia TechDenningDRV-1SUN IPC, Decstation,X windows, C,
& MRV-IIMicrovax IILisp

Grumman CRC SmartyCatMac II's/IIci's,C, CLOS, LISP, SAL
(CybermotionuExplorer, SGI(soon)VxWorks(soon)
K2A)68030 VME board(soon)

IBM TJ WatsonTJ, TJ2Symbolics, RS/6000,LISP, CLOS, CLIM,
(1989?-1992) 286, 386, SunsC, X-windows, MOTIF,
GNU Emacs

ISX Corp SubsumptionMac II cx's/ci'sC(?)

JPL 7 robotsSuns to 6811RCCL, ALFA

McGill UMobile robotSparcs, mc68hc11, PCGNU, X, Small-C
C, C++

MIT20 robotsMac II & IIsi, HC6811Behavior Language
PollyVME, 6811, MacSenselisp(Scheme)

MITRE Denning MRV-1MacQuadra, uExplorerLisp, REX/GAPPS, C, C++

NRC of CanadaEAVEMac II's, 68020'sC, HARMONY OS, MacAPP

NC State Mobile robotVME 68020 & 68040,OS/9, P/NET

Purdue U.PETERSun4, 68030C, VxWorks

Stanford Landmark basedMac IIciC, LISP

Swiss FIT Mobile robotMacMacMETH, Modula-2

U of Central a) 6-leg walkerCommodore 64SuperC,C
b) 6-leg walker Amiga 500C

U of Edinburgha) ALDER8052, SUN, PCBasic

U of Mass.,DenningDECstation 5000,C, LISP

U of NewUnderwaterSparcstation,VxWorks, C(?)
HampshirerobotsCMOS VME boards

U Wash.DenningHP 9000 series 300's,Gensym G2, OS/9
68000LLAMA (Forth), Lisp, C

VTT (TechnicalAkseliHP-1100, 386MS-DOS, LynxOS (soon)
Research CenterC
of Finland)

+++What is the miniboard?

The miniboard is an outgrowth of the MIT 6.270 robot course and design
project. It is a small and inexpensive design for a controller board
based on the ubiquitous (yet hard to find) 68HC11 micro-controller.

There is now a mailing list for discussing the board. The purpose of
the mailing list is to discuss robot controller boards, and robot
control in general. In particular, the list will be used to support
the Miniboard 2.0 and 6.270 board design by Fred Martin and Randy
Sargent of MIT. However, any and all traffic related to robot
controllers is welcome.

Administrative address:[email protected]
Mailing list address:[email protected]
Please DO NOT send administrative things to the main mailing list
address, as then everyone will get annoyed.


The readership of this group ranges from the naive user to experienced
robot designers and users. Accordingly, this list covers the gamut as

The Robot Builder's Bonanza: 99 Inexpensive Robotics Projects
Gordon McComb
TAB Books

Interfacing Test Circuits With Single-Board Computers
Robert H. Luetzow
TAB Books

Build Your Own Universal Computer Interface
Bruce Chubb
TAB Books

Peter Marsh
Crescent (Crown) Publishers, NY 1985
Marsh edited the volume and the book is made up of several
contributions from robotics researchers. A very well illustrated book
that covers the general topic of robots. Excellent source materials
and graphics.

Microprocessor Based Robotics
Mark J. Robillard
Howard Sams & Co. 1983

Advanced Robot Systems
Mark J. Robillard
Howard Sams & Co. 1984

The 6.270 Robot Builder's Guide
Fred Martin
Server: (
File : ~ftp/pub/6270/docs/README
This directory contains "The 6.270 Robot Builder's Guide", the
course notes to the 1992 MIT LEGO Robot Design Competition.
Hardcopy also available for $15 from:
E&L Memo Requests
MIT Media Laboratory
20 Ames Street Room E15-309
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
Check made out to 'MIT Epistemology and Learning'
Contact: Fred Martin at [email protected]

Minimalist Mobile Robotics
Jonathan H Connel
ISBN 0-12-185230-X
Brooks subsumption architecture robots. Shows
complex behaviors are possible with little of the massive
architectures done in other programs.

Machines That Walk
Shin-Min Song and Kenneth J Waldron
ISBN 0-262-19274-8
Like it says: legged locomotion. Focus is on the OSU Adaptive
Suspension Vehicle.

Thanks to those who responded with updates, new material,
corrections, suggestions etc. Some of the names are indirect; that is,
they replied to queries on the newsgroup:

Hans Moravec, Maki Habib, Ken Goldberg, David Stanton,
John Nagle, Sean Graves, Sjur Vestli, Mark Yim, Rich Wallace
Dan Hudson, Sanjiv Singh, Matt Stein, Dave Stewart, Ed Cheung, Ron
Fearing, Klaus Biggers, Lisa Rendleman, Nobuhiko Mukai, Paul Sharkey,
Fred Martin, Willie Lim, Allen Brown.

aka: Kevin DowlingCarnegie Mellon University
tel: (412) 268-8830The Robotics Institute
adr: [email protected], PA 15213

aka: Kevin DowlingCarnegie Mellon University
tel: (412) 268-8830The Robotics Institute
adr: [email protected], PA 15213

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