Mechatronics robot and board teaches sensor programming

March 27, 2012 // By Julien Happich
Freescale Semiconductor announced significant enhancements to its Tower System mechatronics robot and board, a bipedal robot and development board that allows designers to write software for a variety of sensor applications.

The robot can walk and respond to touch, motion, vibration, tilt and other external stimuli. With a powerful new programming language based on StickOS, new wireless capabilities and the addition of Freescale's Xtrinsic magnetometer for more accurate compass heading information, designers of all experience levels can quickly and easily learn how to employ sensors in innovative design projects across a variety of applications.

“Freescale’s enhanced robot and development board prove you don’t have to be an engineer or have extensive design experience to learn programming skills,” said Kevin Anderle, field applications engineer manager at Freescale. “By exploring new ways to make the robot interact through balancing, dancing, or even programming it to walk through a maze, designers are acquiring valuable technical abilities that can be applied to sensor applications in a variety of markets, including consumer, industrial and medical.”

Freescale’s new Tower System mechatronics robot and Tower System mechatronics board come with four servos, a three-axis accelerometer, a 12-channel touch sensor and an Xtrinsic MAG3110 magnetometer, which works with the accelerometer to provide more accurate compass heading information to enable navigation functions. It is equipped with ready-to-use code that provides a programming starting point and features a new, integrated development environment with powerful language based on StickOS, an MCU-resident interactive programming environment using real-time BASIC language. StickOS is easy to learn and has a built-in editor for beginning programmers. The fully interactive interface also allows users to quickly change parameters based on instant sensor feedback and requires minimal software on the host PC.

The upgraded robot also has wireless capabilities enabled by Freescale’s MC13201 transceiver, which provides RF communication, improves speed and reliability, avoids interference and enables greater flexibility for devices to operate from greater distances. The Freescale Tower System mechatronics board is powered by a 32-bit ColdFire microcontroller with 64K of RAM and 512K of flash and is compatible with the full range of Freescale Tower System boards