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Eduro

mobile robotic platform for education

Eduro is a modular mid-size mobile robotic platform suitable for high school and university classes as well as for serious robotics research. In this article we describe in more detail basic configuration with two driven wheels and one caster wheel. This model was already demonstrated on several competitions (Eurobot, RobotChallenge and Robotour).



Keywords: education robot, mobile platform, CANopen

Abstract

Eduro is a modular mid-size mobile robotic platform suitable for high school and university classes as well as for serious robotics research. In this paper we describe in more detail basic configuration with two driven wheels and one caster wheel. This model was already demonstrated on several competitions (Eurobot, RobotChallenge and Robotour). The system is very durable due to used gearless SMAC drives. Integrated motor controllers and other sensors and actuators communicate via CAN bus. As communication protocol industrial standard CANopen is used for maximum compatibility with third-party modules. Eduro comes with on board x86 computer with low power consumption. It runs embedded real-time extension of linux, provides software interface to CAN network and thanks to 3 Ethernet connectors, it allows integration of other sensors like IP camera or SICK laser range-finder. USB port and wifi access then provide simple wireless control via joystick or remote computer. The robot can drive with speed up to 2.5m/s and can perform for several hours without need of battery charge.

Introduction

The first Eduro prototype was created in 2007 for competitive tendering for robots used for education on Charles University. The goal was to present construction kit similar to Lego Mindstorm, where the students could create various robotics platforms. Instead of plastics bricks a durable aluminium profiles were used.
The original platform was later slightly modified for contest Eurobot 2008 and collected tests with students competitiors. The test and presentation was sucessful and compact three-wheel Eduro with minor changes related to Eurobot theme participated also to Eurobot 2009 and Eurobot 2010.
Besides a mid size indoor robot there was a demand for larger outdoor platform. In 2009 were first test of Eduro Maxi, 3-weel robot with larger inflatable wheels. In operation it was first presented on robotics contest "Robotem rovne" in Pisek, May 2010.

Hardware

The concept is construction kit on all levels: mechanical, electronical and software.

Mechanics

The mechanical construction is based on standard aluminium profiles plus aluminium plates for covering. The recommended set of wheels then differs in size as types from hard rubber for indoor contest to soft inflatable wheels for outdoor navigation.
The base can quite vary as can be demonstrated on robotics advertisement holder used on CeBIT 2008 and CeBIT 2009. Over the years it looks that there should be some fixed set of tested bases and the variability can be in rather attachments.

Electronics

To reach maximal level configurability a CAN bus with CAN-Open protocol was used. CAN is a standard in automotive industry and various modules can be attached even when the system is powered and running.

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