Bilibot Brings an Arm to the Affordable ROS Platform Party

Looks like all you budding ROS developers now have a tough choice to make: the Willow Garage TurtleBot, or the armed and dangerous Bilibot?

2 min read
Bilibot Brings an Arm to the Affordable ROS Platform Party

Hot on the heels of Willow Garage’s TurtleBot announcement comes news of the commercial availability of Garratt Gallagher’s Bilibot ROS development platform that we heard about back in February. We’ve got some details on the final specs, which include:

  • An iRobot Create

  • A Kinect, modified to run off of a battery

  • All the mounting hardware, wiring and electronics needed to put it all together

  • A fairly beastly computer with a 3.1 GHz Intel i3 processor and 4 gigs of RAM

  • Ubuntu and ROS pre-installed

The biggest news is, as you may have noticed from the picture, the addition of a functional, powered arm (!). It has a one foot reach, and thanks to the inclusion of some actual geared motors (not servos), it can lift three pounds 17" into the air. Just imagine the possibilities...

Well, okay, so you’ll have to imagine some possibilities besides grapes, but three pounds is an awful lot for such a little bot.

Now, you might think that TurtleBot and Bilibot are poised to duke it out in the affordable ROS platform arena, and while I for one would pay to see that actually happen, that’s not the way it’s going down. It’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t really a competition between the two robots, since ultimately, the goal is to make ROS and a physical, hackable ROS platform easily available to anyone who wants one to mess with. You can think of TurtleBot and Bilibot as different flavors of the same concept, and Garratt and Willow Garage have even been collaborating on some of the common software.

If you just can’t wait another second, you can order an armed Bilibot right now for $1,200, which includes your choice of five colors plus custom engraving. This first batch is being more or less hand-built, so some bulk discounts will hopefully be appearing in the near future that might help bring that price down a bit. Either way, I’d say it’s a pretty sweet deal, and we’re all looking forward to seeing what’s possible when clever people start doing clever things with this robot.

[ Bilibot Developer Edition ]

Thanks to Travis over at Hizook for the tip!

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
Horizontal
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

Keep Reading ↓Show less