Surveyor Robotics Journal


Surveyor Corporation


August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
Februray 2006
January 2006

Fri, 25 Jun 2010

Surveyor SRV-1 Blackfin Robot on CNN

CNN news link:

Posted Fri, 25 Jun 2010 14:21 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 19 Jun 2010

BSM RoboCupRescue in Singapore

We are receiving daily reports from the Benilde-St Margaret's RoboCup team as they prepare for RoboCupJr Search competition at the 2010 RoboCup championships in Singapore.

Benilde-St Margaret's Advanced Competitive Science (BSM ACS) team has been one of the SRV-1 Blackfin's most active developers, originating the SRV-RCM expansion board, helping in development of labview-srv console for LabVIEW and extending the definition of robot functions supported in SRV-1 picoC.

BSM ACS is the sole US team competing against 26 other teams representing Japan, Germany, Thailand, Iran and others. The team is maintaining an active blog during their trip - make certain to follow their progress and wish them well at

Posted Sat, 19 Jun 2010 12:38 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 15 Jun 2010

First SRV1Console images from SRV-1 Blackfin Linux

We just captured first images from simple srv1 server application running on the Blackfin uclinux port. There's some corrupted frames due to character post-processing on the stdio console that we haven't been able to completely clear, but 50% of the frames are getting through intact. Here's a sample. Apologies for picture quality - lots of reflections from the afternoon sun:

Once the console issue is resolved, the next tasks are adding support for OV7725 (this was taken via OV9655), bumping the baud rate to work at full speed with the Matchport, and then porting various robot controls to our SRV_protocol, SRV_httpd and picoC interfaces. Lots to do, but this was an encouraging first step.

Posted Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:01 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sun, 13 Jun 2010

SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin Linux

We're making a push to bring our Linux support on the SRV-1 / SVS up to date. Details are found here -

The basic plan is to migrate all of the SRV_protocol, SRV_httpd, and picoC capabilities to run under uClinux, thereby maintaining compatibility with our various Java consoles, labview-srv, Roborealm, etc. The main issue will be adding 2500kbps communication via the Matchport, but we think we have a mechanism to handle this, as the kernel now supports hardware flow control that is required by the Matchport. This project is a top priority and we hope to make significant progress in the upcoming weeks.

Posted Sun, 13 Jun 2010 11:19 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Fri, 14 May 2010

Fun with planes, parafoils and robots

Snowflake is a collaboration between Naval Postgraduate School and University of Alabama in Huntsville to develop single and multiple autonomously guided parafoils. The project, described in detail here, uses an Arcturus T-20 UAV to launch the parafoils and a Surveyor SVS-based robot with Inertia Labs Renegade base to autonomously locate the parafoils after landing.

We had the opportunity last week to view Snowflake field tests at CIRPAS McMillan Airfield. The Arcturus launched a pair of Snowflake parafoils from 3500-ft, and upon touchdown, the Snowflake controller transmitted GPS coordinates that were relayed to the robot. The robot then autonomously moved to the transmitted coordinates using a script written in picoC. We witnessed 3 successful UAV launch and robot retrieval cycles. Future tests will include drop of a smaller version of the Surveyor robot by parafoil.

Arcturus ready to launch. Note underwing pod carrying the parafoil.

Parafoil approaching the ground

Robot receives parafoil GPS coordinates

Robot driving through the grass to reach parafoil

Arcturus approaching touchdown

Posted Fri, 14 May 2010 12:42 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Fri, 23 Apr 2010

"NAMO" - Mascot robot for Institute for Field Robotics with SRV-1 Blackfin

"NAMO" was built as a mascot robot for The Institute of FIeld roBOtics at KMUTT (FIBO) in Thailand. It sports a three-wheel omni-directional wheel system, two arms, and an SRV-1 Blackfin camera vision system.

More information is found here. Thanks to John Palmisano of Society of Robots for telling us about this project.

Posted Fri, 23 Apr 2010 12:16 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Wed, 21 Apr 2010

SRV-1q Mod for Surveillance

One of our robot users at University of Malaga has developed a very nice mod of the SRV-1q robot to support surveillance applications.

The casing which is positioned by tilt servo is made of PVC. The electronics have been inverted, as seen here:

A full description of the mod is found here.. Translation for the description from Spanish to English is found here.

Posted Wed, 21 Apr 2010 11:13 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Thu, 01 Apr 2010

Surveyor programming interfaces (API's)

There are several control options for the SRV-1 / SVS, and it isn't always obvious what approach might be best. Here's a summary:
  • SRV_protocol: this is the control interface we have provided since the earliest of our SRV-1 robots, and while we continue to add new functions, the core functionality remains the same - mainly ASCII-based commands to access motors, sensors, on-board processing, and system configuration. Through this interface, we directly support four different console programs as well as a variety of third-party and user-developed consoles:

  • SRV HTTP: this uses the browser as the robot control console, and generally works with smart phones as well as full-sized computers. Almost all of the functions accessed via SRV_protocol are available through the HTTP interface.

  • picoC: this is the onboard C-interpreter that enables programming the SRV-1/SVS for fully autonomous behaviors. Most of the SRV_protocol functions are available under program control with ANSI-C syntax.
There is another option of extending the firmware functionality by modifying source code. The firmware is hosted as an open-source Google Code project -, with compiler toolchains found on our website - see

Posted Thu, 01 Apr 2010 18:11 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Wed, 24 Mar 2010

Building a remote controlled WALL-E robot

The author of AForge.NET C# framework for computer vision, neural nets and robotics has built a WALL-E !

Robot control is based on the Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system). The project is described at length here. Details of the build as well as the control software are provided.

Posted Wed, 24 Mar 2010 20:07 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 16 Mar 2010

"labview-srv" - a LabVIEW-based console for SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin

This is a first test version 0.1 of the labview-srv LabVIEW 2009 console for SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin, written by Dr Chris Rogers of Tufts University ( and Tim Jump of Benilde-St Margaret's School, using QT libraries by Christophe Salzmann of EPFL.

The code includes support for live video capture, motion control, firmware uploads, picoC editing and interaction, with many additional features planned. Feedback from testers will be greatly appreciated.

The project is hosted on Google Code - Please report any problems to

Posted Tue, 16 Mar 2010 19:23 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Fri, 12 Mar 2010

RoboCup Junior soccer team based on SRV-1 Blackfin headed to Singapore

This is a high school RoboCup Junior soccer team VELASRANDY from Slovakia using SRV-1 Blackfin camera and SRV-RCM expansion board for image processing and control. They just won their national competition and are headed to international competition in Singapore. Very impressive !!!

Original Video

More information here.

Posted Fri, 12 Mar 2010 15:00 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 13 Feb 2010

miniSVS - a reduced footprint version of the SVS Blackfin stereo vision system

In response to a request from the GMU RoboPatriots for a more compact version of the SVS to fit their RoboCup robots, we shrunk the original SVS layout from 6" x 2.5" to 4" x 2.5" (100mm x 63mm). The new camera spacing is 2.25" (55mm), though for the RoboPatriots, the spacing isn't an issue, as they are running ribbon cables from Blackfin to cameras mounted elsewhere on the robot.

We are calling the new board the "miniSVS". In shrinking the board, we removed some functionality that the soccerbots didn't need, including FAN8200 H-bridge, antenna mount, laser pointer drivers, and SPI interconnect. In place of the SPI interconnect, we are using a pair of GPIO lines with a soft UART driver.

The basic assumption was that this board would be used with other motor drivers with serial or servo interface, though perhaps this configuration would be attractive to existing SRV-1 robot users. If that turns out to be the case and there is sufficient interest, we can look at adding back the H-bridge and laser drivers.

As with the full-sized SVS, the miniSVS does include interfaces to 8 timers (4 on each Blackfin) with 5V power and servo headers, along with low battery detect circuit.

Those who are interested in the miniSVS or variations should send us
an email, and we will consider adding this to our standard product list.

Posted Sat, 13 Feb 2010 19:02 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 09 Feb 2010

SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin HTTP functionality extended to support most SRV_protocol robot control functions -

The latest version of SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin firmware adds most of the SRV_protocol functions to the HTTP interface, enabling more complete robot control via a standard or mobile web browser. Motor control functions are provided for the existing SRV-1q PWM, the new SRV-4WD controller, as well as RC ESC controllers such as Sabertooth and pan/tilt servo interfaces.

Camera resolution and JPEG quality can now be set via HTTP. Also supported are the SRV-NAV gps, a/d, tilt and compass interfaces, generic I2C devices, SRV-1 vision processing functions, and laser pointer controls.

Using the SRV-1 HTTP interface is really simple. To test these, you can point your browser to
where ____ represents the SRV_protocol function, e.g.
will display the firmware version string

As before,
will capture a new JPEG frame. We have also provided a simple webcam script using this capability.

Surveyor Robot Forum discussion with additional details is found here - Example code for a simple webcam interface is provided.

The new firmware has been posted to

Posted Tue, 09 Feb 2010 14:27 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Thu, 28 Jan 2010

RoboPatriots humanoid soccer players for RoboCup using Surveyor SVS Blackfin -

The Autonomous Robotics Laboratory of George Mason University has fielded a team, RoboPatriots, for the RoboCup humanoid league, a prestigious international autonomous robotic soccer competition. RoboPatriots is one of only two teams from the USA that competed in the RoboCup humanoid league in 2009 (of 24 teams overall). The team is small and has never received any outside funding, so one of their goals is to present an inexpensive and robust robot platform that still competes well. In comparison, their competitor's robots generally cost 4-5 times as much.

As the team prepares for next year's competition in Singapore, they are developing tools for humanoid motion and path planning, vision-based localization, and multiple-robot coordination, as well as physical simulation software. The Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system) has proven to be a critical part of their robot architecture, acting as the brains and eyes of the robots.

2010 Robot Specs:
  • Team Name: RoboPatriots (Johnny 5, Newton, and Stephanie)
  • Height: 53 cm
  • Weight: 900 grams
  • DOF: 18 (5 DOF per leg, 3 DOF per arm, 2 DOF neck)
  • Motors: Arms and Legs (16): Kondo KRS-2555HV digital servos
  • Motors: Neck (2): Kondo KRS-788HV ICS Digital Servos
  • Computing Unit: RCB-4 from Kondo
  • Camera: Surveyor SVS stereo vision system, 640x480 resolution per camera, two 500 MHz Blackfin processors
  • Sensors: (1) RAS-2 dual-axis accelerometer from Kondo (2) KRG-3 single axis gyro from Kondo
  • Walking Speed: 25 cm/s

Posted Thu, 28 Jan 2010 14:40 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 18 Jan 2010

Inertia Labs introduces Renegade SRV all-terrain robot -

Our manufacturing partner Inertia Labs has just introduced an up-scale version of the original SRV-1 Blackfin robot, intended for larger payloads and outdoor operation, but still based on SRV-1 Blackfin and SVS control electronics. The Renegade SRV employs four high-quality planetary gear motors with encoders to directly drive the five inch rock crawling wheels. The chassis is laser cut and bent .125" 6061 aircraft aluminum with an ABS impact plastic lid. Surveyor has designed a custom speed controller for this chassis that also takes the input from each motor encoder and direct support for Sharp IR range sensors.

Technical details and order information are found here - Renegade SRV.

Posted Mon, 18 Jan 2010 17:25 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 16 Jan 2010

New blob tracking display feature added to SRV-1 Blackfin firmware -

Don't know why we didn't add this sooner, but latest version of SRV-1 firmware now includes a display function for blob tracking results. The console command 'g6#' enables display of boxes outlining the results of vblob() function, where '#' is the color bin for the blob search, e.g. g63 displays the blobs matching color bin #3. 'gx' turns off the blob overlay.

Forum discussion is found here.

Posted Sat, 16 Jan 2010 14:32 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 04 Jan 2010

Large treaded robot with SRV-1 Blackfin controller -

Inertia Labs has developed a upscale version of the SRV-1 Blackfin robot with a beautifully integrated camera tilt mechanism. Other than the larger motor controllers, this is basically a standard SRV-1 controller setup. For more information, contact Inertia Labs

Posted Mon, 04 Jan 2010 20:50 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 22 Dec 2009

Solution for Surveyor SRV-1 via iPhone (also EDGE) -

EWE Software has added SRV-1 robot control via iPhone or iPod Touch to their Befree4iPhone remote control program. The software is a freeware, downloaded from, and it requires no iPhone modification or iPhone market download.

Further discussion of the Befree4iPhone is found on the Surveyor Robotics Forum.

Posted Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:53 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 08 Dec 2009

Excellent tutorial on the Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system)

AForge.NET is an open source C# framework with SRV-1 and SVS Blackfin support that was designed for developers and researchers in the fields of computer vision and artificial intelligence - image processing, neural networks, genetic algorithms, machine learning, robotics, etc. We first described AForge.NET SRV-1 and SVS support here -

Since that post, the AForge.NET developers have written an excellent introduction to SVS, describing system setup along with a guide and sample code to create C# applications which control the board remotely, interface to servos, ultrasonic ranging, I2C devices and motor control. The tutorial is found here -

Posted Tue, 08 Dec 2009 13:02 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Thu, 03 Dec 2009

Bat-tek Project

Bat-teK is a Carnegie Mellon + Lockheed Martin project that uses a lot of Surveyor's robotic technologies, including the YARB blimp, SVS, and SRV-1 robot, along with CMU's console applications and mapping technology. CMU produced this very cool promotional video for the project.

Posted Thu, 03 Dec 2009 13:35 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 30 Nov 2009

First production SRV-4WD motor controllers shipped to test sites

We have sorted out the assembly issues with our first batch of production SRV-4WD motor controllers, so we shipped a couple of boards to test sites today.

Most of the first boards have been committed to new robots being built by Inertia Labs -

but we will be building another batch of boards before the end of December and will soon set pricing / availability. If interested, drop an email to

Posted Mon, 30 Nov 2009 19:43 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 16 Nov 2009

TUlip humanoid soccer robot with Surveyor SVS Blackfin (stereo vision system)

We just received these videos from Team EINDroid Humanoid Robotics of the 3TU, a cooperation of the Netherlands technical universities of Eindhoven, Delft & Twente.

The team is using the Surveyor SVS for color tracking via blob detection with one of their humanoid soccer robots. This is a very interesting and challenging problem, and we look forward to their continued progress.

Posted Mon, 16 Nov 2009 09:58 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 14 Nov 2009

Web-based "Admin" interface for SRV-1 Blackfin & SVS robot controllers

Extending the direct web interface to SRV-1 Blackfin and SVS we recently introduced, we have added direct support of HTTP POST methods for uploads of firmware, html pages, picoC scripts, etc, to the SRV-1 / SVS firmware. Those familiar with our existing firmware & file upload mechanism using XMODEM with Teraterm, lsz, etc, will recognize this as a significant enhancement.

Here is an example of the browser interface after selecting the srv1.ldr firmware image to upload:

and the browser display after upload has completed:

As with the web-based interface to the robot controls, no special console software is required - only a browser. Thus far, we have successfully tested with Firefox, Internet Explorer 8, Chrome and Safari, including iPhone and Google Android phone browsers. This capability is included in the latest version of SRV-1 / SVS firmware posted to

Beyond the file upload capability, we will be looking at ways to employ HTTP POST functionality for other functions such as robot configuration (selection of sensors, motor drive mechanism), image calibration (lens rectification, color range selection), neural net specification, etc. We have just started to explore the possibilities.

Posted Sat, 14 Nov 2009 11:46 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Thu, 05 Nov 2009

New C# framework for machine vision and robotics adds support for Surveyor SRV-1 and SVS Blackfin systems

AForge.NET is a C# framework designed for developers and researchers in the fields of Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence - image processing, neural networks, genetic algorithms, fuzzy systems, machine learning, robotics, etc. The latest release, version 2.1.0, has introduced support for the SRV-1 Blackfin and SVS (stereo vision system).

Several sample applications are provided for the SRV-1 and SVS. The following screenshot demonstrates usage of AForge.Robotics.Surveyor namespace to control Surveyor's SRV-1 Blackfin robot. The application allows receiving video feed from the robot and manipulate it by driving the robot using predefined commands or using direct motor control.

The following demonstrates AForge.Robotics.Surveyor for control Surveyor's Stereo Vision System. The application allows receiving video feeds from both cameras, show stereo anaglyph images and manipulate robot by driving it using predefined commands or using direct motor control.

AForge.NET is extensively documented and well worth investigating.

Posted Thu, 05 Nov 2009 19:33 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 24 Oct 2009

Feature article on Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system) in Nov/Dec Robot Magazine

The latest issue of Robot Magazine has an excellent in-depth five page review of the Surveyor SVS, starting on page 30.

The author, Harry Mueller, explores many of the capabilities and limitations of the system in its current form, including stereo correspondence, neural net, picoC, RoboRealm, and other features. As Harry notes, "The SRV-1 and its most recent incarnation, the SVS, can best be characterized as a very sophisticated and evolving toolkit for vision experimentation". His conclusions are right on the money as well, though you will have to read the article to find out what he wrote.

Posted Sat, 24 Oct 2009 20:04 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Wed, 14 Oct 2009

New tool for SRV-1 Blackfin color blob searches

There is a new C library for AVR processors called "WebbotLib" that has added support for the SRV-1 Blackfin camera as an alternative to CMUcam. In the process of adding the SRV-1 support, the developer realized that we had no good tools for analyzing and selecting colors used for blob searches, so he wrote a new Java-based console, as described here.

This console is particularly useful for identifying colors and color bin ranges that will be used in blob searches. As seen above, I worked out a color range for the "red" of a spool of wire, and the actual blob outlines are displayed. The console is designed to work with serial rather than network interfaces, as this is the typical configuration for the SRV-1 Blackfin camera when connecting to an AVR-class processor.

Note that WebbotLib is an open source project -

Posted Wed, 14 Oct 2009 12:54 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 10 Oct 2009

Embedded Stereo Correspondence on the Surveyor SVS Blackfins

Just posted on The Streeb-Greebling Diaries, this is a very helpful explanation and demonstration of stereo correspondence on the Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system) based on code from the Sentience Project.


  A video showing the results of the stereo correspondence algorithm embedded on the Surveyor SVS. This is running on two Blackfin DSPs with synchronised frame capture. Larger red spots correspond to objects closer to the cameras. The big metal object is the left shoulder of the GROK2 robot.

  There is some "pollution" where matching of horizontally oriented features causes bad matches in the surrounding region of the image, but most of the time the spot sizes are inversely proportional to range. There is always a certain amount of noise in the matching, but if the features are converted into sensor models and used to update an occupancy grid then this tends to cancel out with repeated overlapping observations.

  Ordinarily horizontally oriented features can't be matched, at least by sparse feature based correspondence methods, but it does seem to be a useful heuristic to apply similar disparities to horizontally oriented features which are in the neighbourhood of matched vertically oriented ones. Even though it sometimes produces errors, this helps to provide more information about the structure of the environment which can be useful when creating maps or avoiding obstacles.

Posted Sat, 10 Oct 2009 09:34 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Thu, 08 Oct 2009

Direct interface to SRV-1 Blackfin / SVS from browsers and smart phones (iPhone, Google Android, etc) -

As first discussed last month, we have extended the httpd support in the SRV-1 Blackfin / SVS firmware for a more robust browser interface and some extended user functionality. As shown below, we have continued with the idea of image mapping the robot controls, but now we have a graphical overlay that can be turned on/off to show the actual controls.

There is still work to be done with the stability of the connections, but this seems to work quite well with iPhone and Google Android smart phones. We look forward to tester feedback.

Posted Thu, 08 Oct 2009 12:11 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 26 Sep 2009

Update on the new 4WD motor controller -

We have working prototypes of the ARM7-based 4WD motor controller for next-generation Surveyor Blackfin robots as previously discussed here. There were a couple of design issues which we think we have resolved, so next step is to do some stress testing. If we don't encounter any more problems, we will start a first production batch in October.

Posted Sat, 26 Sep 2009 22:04 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 12 Sep 2009

Finally - the navigation board is shipping !

We teamed up with another company - Ryan Mechatronics - to get the new navigation board into production. We will be carrying other Ryan Mechatronics products, including an AHRS, in the future !

As discussed before, the board includes GPS + compass + tilt + 8-channel A/D board with uBlox5 GPS, the new 3-axis Honeywell HMC5843 compass, ST LIS3LV02DQ 3-axis accelerometer and Analog Devices AD7998 8-channel 12-bit A/D. I2C interfaces are provided to all onboard devices, plus uBlox5 GPS supports UART and a time pulse. Final board dimensions are 1.25" x 2.25" (35mm x 60mm). Weight is 0.7oz (20gm). Mounting holes are on 1" x 2" centers.

Online orders here -

Posted Sat, 12 Sep 2009 16:41 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Tue, 08 Sep 2009

HTTPD experiment - a web app approach to smart phone (e.g. iPhone) robot control

We have been experimenting with a different approach to SRV-1 interface with smart phones and browsers, building a very basic HTTPD capability into the SRV-1 firmware. It employs just HTML and javascript, using image mapping for the robot controls, so no special application is installed - it just uses the built-in web browser. This is NOT robust (put your robot up on blocks, not on a table top, if you plan to test this), and performance will be lower that what will be achieved with native apps for iphone, android, etc, but it is simple and stability will likely improve.

Basically, there is now a minimal HTTPD function in the SRV-1 firmware that parses the HTTP GET command, and there is minimal knowledge of filenames, specifically '/', '/index.html', '/00.html' (same as /),'/01.html' ... '09.html'. These files correspond to flash sectors, where 00.html is stored in sectors 10-11, 01.html is stored in sectors 12-13, etc. An HTML file in this system can occupy up to 2 sectors (128kB), and a couple of console commands have been added to read ('zAxx') and write ('zBxx') these double sectors. The HTTPD parser recognizes two other special names - '/robot.cgi?' which is used to send robot commands for motion and laser on/off, and $$camera$$ which signals the insertion of a live captured JPEG frame. Perhaps the most important line of code in the following html is -
   <img src="data:image/jpeg;base64,$$camera$$" width=320 height=240 usemap="#map1" />
which shows how the jpeg frame from the robot is embedded in the web page.

Assuming you have a new version of httpd.c and /index.html shown below is stored in sectors 10-11, you would point your browser to http://robot-ip:10001/ and the robot should start to serve live frames (approx 3fps). If you click on different areas of the image, different robot commands should be executed.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width; initial-scale=1.0; maximum-scale=1.0;">
<script language="JavaScript">
var time = null
function refresh() {
setTimeout('refresh()', 333)
<title>SRV-1 Robot</title>
<map name="map1">
<area href="/robot.cgi?l" alt="laser on" shape=rect coords="1, 1, 25, 120">
<area href="/robot.cgi?L" alt="laser off" shape=rect coords="296, 1, 320, 120">
<area href="/robot.cgi?+" alt="faster" shape=rect coords="1, 121, 25, 240">
<area href="/robot.cgi?-" alt="slower" shape=rect coords="296, 121, 320, 240">
<area href="/robot.cgi?4" alt="left" shape=rect coords="26, 1, 100, 80">
<area href="/robot.cgi?8" alt="forward" shape=rect coords="101, 1, 220, 80">
<area href="/robot.cgi?6" alt="right" shape=rect coords="221, 1, 295, 80">
<area href="/robot.cgi?0" alt="spin left" shape=rect coords="26, 81, 100, 160">
<area href="/robot.cgi?5" alt="stop" shape=rect coords="101, 81, 220, 160">
<area href="/robot.cgi?." alt="spin right" shape=rect coords="221, 81, 295, 160">
<area href="/robot.cgi?1" alt="back left" shape=rect coords="26, 161, 100, 240">
<area href="/robot.cgi?2" alt="back" shape=rect coords="101, 161, 220, 240">
<area href="/robot.cgi?3" alt="back right" shape=rect coords="221, 161, 295, 240">
<img src="data:image/jpeg;base64,$$camera$$" width=320 height=240 usemap="#map1" />
<a href="/index.html">reload</a>


This is approximately how the image map is configured based on the above HTML code -

Note that there are issues - the javascript seems to be very sensitive to timing so links break pretty easily and you have to refresh to get things restarted. The frame rate is low, and I don't know how much it can be improved. Also, Android G1 support for embedded JPEGs is broken, though we have reported the problem. In any case, this DOES work on an iPhone.

This code has been posted to There is not yet a zip download version. You can track progress on this project on the Surveyor Robotics Forum.

Posted Tue, 08 Sep 2009 14:12 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 07 Sep 2009

Now offering choice of OV7725 low-light VGA or OV9655 SXGA camera with all SRV-1 / SVS controllers

As first discussed here, we have been offering the Omnivision OV7725 low light camera sensor as an add-on option to the SRV-1 Blackfin controllers for several months, and have received a number of requests to offer the OV7725 as an alternative to the OV9655 in standard controller configurations. The OV9655 has higher resolution (1280x1024 max) and very good color in full lighting at lower frame rates, while the OV7725 is limited to 640x480 resolution with very good low-light performance and ability to capture at up to 60fps.

In response to these requests, we are now offering the choice between OV7725 and OV9655 on orders of SRV-1 Blackfin Cameras, SRV-1 Blackfin Robot, YARB and SVS. Standard lens on both cameras is still the 3.6mm f2.0 with approx. 90-deg field-of-view.

Posted Mon, 07 Sep 2009 12:46 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Sat, 22 Aug 2009

RCM expansion boards for SRV-1 Blackfin now shipping

The RCM expansion boards with interfaces for 20 servos, 16 A/D, 16 GPIO and microSD are now shipping. The boards can be ordered here:
         Surveyor Online Store.

One of the RCM developers made a short video of the RCM exercising 20 servos simultaneously:

Posted Sat, 22 Aug 2009 13:06 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

iPhone console for SRV-1 / SVS Blackfin now on Google Code

Thanks to the outstanding work by Nick Kitchener (NickK1066), we now have a working prototype of an iPhone console for the SRV-1 and SVS, hosted on Google Code as GPL Open Source:

Currently, the console supports live feeds from dual camera SVS (as seen above) or single camera SRV-1, and has the basis of a touchpad joystick interface for motion control, so driving capability is planned but has not yet been added.

A full discussion of the project is found here on the Surveyor Robotics Forum:
        Controlling SRV-1 with iPhone

Posted Sat, 22 Aug 2009 12:45 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...

Mon, 10 Aug 2009

New 4WD motor controller in the works -

As discussed earlier, we have been experimenting with various motor configurations for larger payload versions of an SRV-1 4WD motorized robot base. One of the first prototypes, which hosts an SVS camera head, was briefly described here a few weeks ago -

In the process of testing this configuration, we found that the pan head added significant instability to the camera mounting, and that by reducing the camera mounting to a tilt-only servo with bearing pivots and using on-axis rotation of the robot body, we had the functionality of pan/tilt with greatly reduced camera flop. However, in order to achieve the need position accuracy of the robot rotation, we needed more precise motion control.

The result of this exercise has been the design of a new motor controller, currently designated "srv-4wd-v1". The controller has separate 5A Infineon TLE5205-2G h-bridges for each motor, and should be able to support doubled output by stacking additional h-bridge devices. The motors we have been testing have bearing-supported planetary gearheads and integrated quadrature shaft encoders, and while only rated at 3A stall current, seem to provide adequate power to the 10-lb prototypes. To integrate the encoder data with the PWM motor output, we have added an ARM7TDMI processor (NXP LPC2101) with UART and I2C host interfaces. Using the LPC2101 analog inputs, we have added a battery monitor circuit and headers for 4 Sharp IR ranging sensors. And finally, we have added 2 headers to interface to either 3.3V or 5.0V yaw gyro. Between the encoder and gyro feedback, we should be able to develop a fairly complete dead-reckoning position solution, freeing the host Blackfin processor for higher level navigation tasks.

Board size is 1.5"x2.5" with 1"x2" centered mounting holes. We have started the prototype fabrication and firmware development process, and hope to have first production boards in 4-6 weeks. No idea yet of pricing, but we will post that information once we have working prototypes.

Posted Mon, 10 Aug 2009 11:25 | HTML Link | see additional stories ...