We saw some neat stuff at when we were in San Jose (see Electronic Design at Design West 2012) and we have the videos to prove it. You can check out all the Design West 2012 on Engineering TV. We also have a collection of the Top 5 Rides and Robots from Design West 2012 and you can check the highlights and individual videos out below.
Top 5 Rides and Robots from Design West 2012
These are the top five rides and robots in our list.
- E-Rex Three-Wheel Electric Vehicle from Nuvation
- Fun Applications for STMicroelectronics Products
- ProtoMat S103 PCB Prototyping from LPFK
- DaNI Robotics Starter Kit from National Instruments
- Intel's Atom-Based Robotic Concert
Nuvation's 3-wheel E-Rex is an electric car that bested Tesla Motor's Roadster on the track. The Sphero is a robot that looks like a cue ball but has a wireless link to an internal STM32 ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller from STmicroelectronics. Use a smartphone to control the roll.
LPFK's manufactures PCB prototyping equipment. The ProtoMat S103 is a desktop unit that can churn out one or more PCBs. National Instruments' was showing off its second generation DaNI Robotics Starter Kit. It adds a camera. Finally we saw a Rube Goldberg symphony coutesy of Intel.
Here is a quick look at all five. The full videos are below.
Nuvation is an engineering firm that can design solutions to fit your requirements. It can address everything from robots to electric vehicles like the E-Rex. The E-Rex was designed to highlight their battery management system based on a Microchip microcontroller. The challenge is not just delivering a battery management unit. It includes a control system that can live in a very noisy, high voltage environment common to electric vehicles.
We actually stopped by Nuvation where we also saw a flame throwing battle bot (watch Combat Robotics and the Garage Program at Nuvation). They also built a few robot arms that play air hockey (watch Air Hockey Bot 1000 at Nuvation). They are near impossible to beat.
During the visit and video I had a chance to ride shotgun on the E-Rex. It was a blast. And it's street legal.
Sphero's namesake is a robot. The trick is that it looks like a cue ball. It has a battery, motor and microcontroller inside. It also has a 3D accelerometer and Bluetooth transceiver. It rolls on its own or it an be controlled by a smartphone. Get more than one and they can play together. We also saw STmicroelectronic's latest STM32 with HDMI CEC support (see Cortex-M0 Has HDMI Consumer Electronics Control Support).
We gave LPFK's initial desktop PCB prototype system a Best of Electronic Design award (see Build Your Own PC Board: A Designer's Dream). We got to take a look at the latest ProtoMat S103.
I had my hands on the first DaNI robot from National Instruments (see Hands On A LabVIEW Robot). It was rugged and runs LabView code on a Single Board RIO (SB-RIO) platforms. I thought it was a great platform then.
This is the second incarnation of the Robotics Starter Kit. It adds a video camera and streamlines the robot. It now has 3 wheels. The rear wheel is special. Keep an eye out for it. It still uses an SB-RIO but it is lower to the ground and the battery is actually easy to charge now.