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.
Thanks to Travis over at Hizook for the tip!
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.