New VEX Stuff

Ok so I got a chance to look around the area where they were showing off some of the new VEX stuff. This will be the first post of several. So here we go:

New Wifi Controller: Ok so I got a chance to look at the new prototype wifi controller here is a picture. This is NOT the finished version. This only something to show off where they are going. It simply plugs into the Rx ports and then you plug an adapter into the back of the controller and there you have it, Wifi controlled VEX robot. They are planning a new Robot Controller along with the new wifi and from what I’ve seen I can’t wait to seem more. It will be sold as an add on kit for less than $100 and will hopefully come out in August or September.

New Sensors: Ok so I don’t know as much here. It appears that VEX will be coming out with a Gyro, Compass sensor, and an accelerometer. Unfortunately that’s all I know about those.

VEX Mini: Not much here either. Most everything I know can be gleaned from the Youtube videos VEXLabs posted. I’ll try and get more info tomorrow. I do know that the metal used is based on 1/4" increments instead of 1/2" that normal VEX metal is based on. The metal is also a bit thinner. It also comes in in much different shapes and sizes.

Ok that’s it for now. If you post questions I will try and answer them tomorrow.

Also remember this is only what I remember I believe it to be 99% accurate however I have been known to make mistakes.

CC

Thanks!

On the last pic you posted of the claw, if you start at the claw end of the arm and move toward the microcontroller, there is a motor, then there is what looks like a motor with an odd-looking component attached to its output. What is that odd-looking component?

Blake

I did remember hear something about a new controller for VEX. I can’t remember but I do remember something about a 400 MHz cpu that will run a version of Linux.

Edit: Never mind found the PDF.

http://www.vexrobotics.com/docs/Vex_Qwerk_4-17-08.pdf

Qwerk Overview

  • Powerful robotics solution for university and high school educational and hobbyist markets
  • High-performance CPU with an excellent I/O feature-set for robotics and mechatronics applications
  • Low-cost

Hardware

  • 200 MHz ARM9 RISC processor with MMU and hardware floating point unit
  • 32 Mbytes SDRAM, 16 Mbytes flash memory
  • Latest generation Xilinx Spartan 3E FPGA for custom I/O peripherals
  • Linux 2.6 installed
  • WiFi wireless networking support
  • WebCam video input support
  • 4 Amp switching power supply, 90% efficient, 7 to 30 Volt input range
  • Rugged aluminum enclosure
  • 5.1” x 5.8” x 1.3", 11.8 ozs

I/O

  • 4 closed-loop 2.0 Amp motor controllers (supports both quadrature encoder and back-EMF “sensorless” feedback)
  • 16 RC-servo controllers
  • 16 programmable digital I/Os
  • 8 12-bit analog inputs
  • 2 RS-232 ports
  • USB 2.0 host ports for connecting standard USB PC peripherals
  • 10/100BT Ethernet port
  • Built-in audio amp for playing MP3 and WAV files

This is off Chief Delphi.

All I can say is if this is true and some what cheap VEX will be amazing.

it all sounds exciting… now to wait for the actual prices :slight_smile:

FYI the Qwerk Controller is not the same as the one I mentioned above.

More to come later.

Ok I watched the webcast to day for champs and I saw a lot of new products that first will be releasing such as…

Better gears, new controller, sensors like gyro and compass, WiFi, and a few other things that left my mind. Does anyone have a list?

All of the promo videos being shown at the event are available to view online:

http://www.vexrobotics.com/championship/videos.php

Very nice! Just looking through the videos I see all of the following:

[LIST]
*]Vex Mini
*]Wifi Radios
*]New Vex/Qwerk Controller
*]Compass
*]Heavy duty gear kit (all-metal 12t; larger gears with metal hubs)
*]Accelerometer
*]Gyroscope
*]Add-on LCD w/buttons (for the v0.5 Vex Microcontroller?)
*]Vex Legs?
[/LIST]
The new sensors, the LCD, and heavy-duty gears really fill-in the line nicely. I’m not quite sure what the Vex legs are about - they appear to be a wheel replacement that could be used for a rotary leg type thing.

The WiFi radio upgrade looks pretty much exactly as I pictured it. It seems to replace the battery cover on the transmitter, and replaces the yellow receiver module on the robot. A (matched?) pair of USB dongles plugs into the transmitter and receiver much like the crystals plug in now.

I’d love to see a better close-up of the new Vex/Qwerk controller, but here is what I can pick out: It has a 2-line x 16 char LCD display and 6 buttons for navigation. For I/O it appears to have three banks of standard Vex connectors (16+16+8), a square hole I can’t quite make out, and 8 screw terminals on the bottom.

Comparing this to the Qwerk specs suggests that these are 16 servo/PWM motor ports, 16 digital I/O ports, 8 analog ports, two USB ports (the square) and 4 DC motor ports (screw terminals). This means that there must be new DC motors on the way, since they wouldn’t have used screw terminals if they just wanted to run Vexplorer motors. I believe one USB port is for the USB Wifi dongle, and the other is for a webcam.

Also, I’m happy to see that (apparently) they are continuing to use the existing Microcontroller as their basic programmable platform. The Wifi receiver upgrade and LCD add-on only make sense for use with the existing controller.

I really want to thank the folks at IFI for the thought they clearly put into upgrading rather than replacing. They appear to have worked very hard to reuse as much existing hardware as possible. They could have easily introduced a new Wifi-only transmitter and not developed an upgrade. They instead chose to preserve the value of the hardware we had already purchased wherever they could. This kind of customer-focused thinking needs to be loudly appreciated and rewarded, since it requires careful planning (it doesn’t just happen).

I’m very pleased with everything I saw and can’t wait to get my hands on this stuff!

Cheers,

  • Dean

I was able to look at it up close, I don’t really know what to call it so I’ll just describe it…
Basically, you can mount a motor to (like the one driving the claw) and then a shaft can be inserted perpendicular to the shaft of the motor attached to the black thing. This allows you to rotate the whole claw assembly including the motor.

The claw is basically a smaller version of the VEXplorer claw. What you saw might have been the twelve tooth gear that drives the claw.

Oh, I think I see what you mean. It is a mounting block that allows for very efficient/compact 2DOF joints, such as camera Tilt/Pan, or wrist joints. Basically, it allows you to mount one motor onto the output shaft of another motor.

Very neat, and a bit hard to do compactly with Vex metal.

Cheers,

  • Dean

I’ve had good success using the Sharp IR sensors, it would be great if there was a Vex version.

Before I read that the WiFi plugs into one of the RX ports on the Vex controller, I was going to ask if WiFi added the capability to download programs wirelessly. I guess that since it does not plug into one of the serial ports… I have my answer. No!

Oh well… Would have been a very nice upgrade.

That sums it up quite well

Is there going to be a Vexplorer Programmable Controller? The new WiFi Controller sounds like it may be too big for the Vexplorer platform.

i like the vex legs that are coming out, but i can think of a few more reasons for them than just legs :smiley:

Congrats to all IFI vex Engineers

Thank you for your commitment in designing and advancing the Vex system. Everything looks absolutely great. Can’t wait!

Thanks

Technic-R-C

Vex folks,

If the worm wheel isn’t part of the recently announced, beefed up gears, please add it to your to-do list.

As you know, Worm Screw/Wheel combinations typically use a small motor and the worm screw to slowly exert a lot of torque on a shaft running through the worm wheel.

In the first application I had that really needed the torque multiplication a worm gear set supplies, attempting to do that immediately resulted in failed worm wheel hubs (The worm wheels were slipping around the axles because their square holes had failed to hold onto the axle).

A full metal worm wheel might be what is needed, or just a metal hub might do the trick - You can do the math or run the experiments to find out.

Otherwise, I am pretty happy with the earlier non-metal gears, and I expect to be happy with the new, modified gears.

Blake

Vex folks,

Another item to put on your to-do requests list:

As my team has found itself using the tank sprockets and tread for more and more non-locomotion uses, we have found ourselves wishing for smaller and larger sprockets than the 15-tooth one that comes in the tread kit, and for tread links explicitly turned into chain (so that we don’t have to clip the tread’s wings ourselves and so that it could be used in serpentine arrangements that have sprockets on both sides of the tread/chain.).

I like the width of the current sprockets because that width distributes the sprocket-to-axle loads over a lot of plastic (thereby preventing the rounding out (failure) of the sprocket’s axle hole except under extreme loads). However, since you have started putting metal inserts into gears, putting a metal center into a narrowed tank-sprocket might not be a bad idea.

Blake

I was told that we would be able to program using wireless with the new controller. Not sure what that will involve but I was told it would be possible.