A Towering MechBot

May 24, 2011
Freescale highlights its Tower prototype boards with MechBot, a Coldfire-based robot with a built-in 3-axis accelerometer.

Freescale MechBot

TWR-MECH board

Freescale's MechBot (Fig. 1) is built around the Coldfire-based TWR-MECH: Tower System Mechatronics Board. The TWR-MECH board (Fig. 2) includes a 32-bit MCF52259 microcontroller with 64 Kbytse RAM and 512 Kbytes of flash. The robot kit is designed to provide an easy to use development environment for experimenting with robotics. It supports the Robot Vision Toolkit and the RobotSee programming language that is supposed to be "as simple as BASIC with the power of C."

The platform can also be programmed using Freescale's Eclipse-based CodeWarrior Development Studio. The TWR-MECH board is used as a standalone module with the MechBot but it is also compatible with the Tower prototype architecture from Freescale. This allows the board to be used in a stack like those available from C-Link Systems (see Towering Robots).

The robot uses four PWM controlled servos to drive its metal legs. The board can support four more PWM outputs. A capacitive touch sensing system is arrayed around the top of the robot. There are 7 status LEDs. The micro also supports I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO and has an 8-channel, 12-bit ADC. The 12-channel sensor is controlled by the micro and an MPR121 capacitive touch sensor. The board also has a MMA7455L 3-axis accelerometer. Optional plug in sensor daughter boards can add support for touch, accelerometer, magnetometer, and pressure sensors.

Hardware debugging support utilizes the integrated open-source BDM (8-bit 9S08JM60 USB enabled microcontroller). This is supported by CodeWarrior and the other software development tools.

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