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The Alex platform is a small robot composed of the following parts:
iRobot Create base
2 arms made of Bioloid parts
2 eyes on pan tilt mounts made of Nexus One phones and Bioloid parts
A PandaBoard for central control
Alex is part of a larger project to advance artificial intelligence through embodied ai. Check out the project website for details.
Why Alex is awesome:
Willow Garage had the right idea with the PR2, but the wrong pricepoint. Alex will be the PR2 for the rest of us. We're targeting a pricepoint just north of 1k, as opposed to 400k + for the PR2.
There are thousands of robotics research labs reinventing robots that can move, see, hear, pick up things, make noise, and generally interact with their environment in useful ways. With Alex we plan to stop that cycle of reinvention, and start a cycle of innovation in software.
Why Alex will get done:
Over the last three months, I quit my job, completed an robotics internship at Anybots, and landed a new job in Artificial Intelligence powerhouse. I'm committed to spending significant personal resources on seeing Alex get to production quality and beyond. I've already committed thousands of dollars to support similar projects like the bilibot (bilibot.com). Eventually the Alex project will be a large consumer of PandaBoards, unfortunately you just can't buy one right now!
Alex and Panda:
The mobile robotics space is constrained by space, power, weight, and cpu. We can make use of the significant power available in mobile phones (see the cellbots project) but to provide a powerful central processing system that has room to grow you need a board with the feature set and efficiency of the PandaBoard. If we want to achieve untethered operation there's no better solution than Panda.