2020 Buyer’s Guide for higher education (electrical engineering and computer science, engineering school, technical college, etc.) and researchers
Using robots in a scientific or technical cursus encourages students to create programs for real-world applications. And it’s important that students are able to work with proper hardware.
Robotics can be used to teach programming, machine learning, human-robot interaction, mechatronics, machine vision, cognitive science and many other disciplines.
We have selected high performance and customizable robotic platforms for research labs. Some have been used by Génération Robots’ engineering department on their own projects, in different fields:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Exploration and safety
- Manufacturing, SLAM
I am looking for a humanoid robot for HRI applications or projects
Research about HRI (human-robot interaction) is one of the most fascinating aspects of robotics. Autonomous navigation, face or voice recognition, as well as human-robot interaction, have largely improved over the last few years.
#1 Alpha Mini robot: research about AI
Alpha Mini comes with a SDK and several advanced features, that make possible the creation of AI and HRI applications:
- Behaviours sequence, interactions and preset animations
- Management of all 14 DoF
- Eyes animations management
- Face recognition (age or gender collection), face detection, learning curve and recognition
- Items recognition (predifined list)
- Phone call management (SIM chip not included)
- Voice management
- Connection to third-party services (e.g. DialogFlow chatbots)
- Photo shots
#2 Poppy Humanoid and Poppy Torso
The Poppy robotic platform was designed by the INRIA South West laboratory. Its goal: develop the use of open-source robotics in education and training.
Design, CAD, engineering, mechanics, Python programming… With Poppy, students have access to a complete technological environment for their tech projects.
Poppy comes in 3 versions:
- Poppy Humanoid, a humanoid robot with a morphology very similar to humans
- Poppy Torso, a Poppy Humanoid which legs have been replaced by a large suction cup (suited to HRI applications that require a robot that stay put)
- Poppy Ergo Junior, a small robotic arm designed to teach programming and robotics in high school
#3 Robot Cruzr for research
Designed by UBTECH Robotics, Cruzr is currently one of the most advanced humanoid service robot.
On top of an interesting range of functionalities, Cruzr features a HD screen, high performance cameras and microphones, allowing high-quality human-robot interactions.
- Android OS
- 8 hours battery life
- Face and voice recognition
- Autonomous self-charging functionality
- E-Skin technology, Cruzr stops moving if a human touches its arm
- Cruzr is one of the few humanoid robots able to navigate to different points of interest, using SLAM technology.
I need a robot arm to teach automation in the industry sector
Thanks to robot arms, students can work on manipulation, vision, and get ready to work in the industry 4.0.
#1 Niryo One robot arm
Niryo One is a 6-axis robot arm designed specially to learn programming and robotics. It is powered by Arduino and Raspberry Pi, and is ROS and Matlab compatible. This robot arm is a complete platform for students (both beginners and advanced):
- Intuitive programming interface
- Supports Python, C++, Blockly languages
- Powered by Raspberry Pi and Arduino
- Interchangeable Grippers
#2 Panda robotic arm
Panda, a robot manufactured by FRANKA EMIKA, is a 7-axis robot arm, which is quick to set up and to master. Panda supports C++, ROS integration, which provides an interface to third party sensors (libraries and packages for C++, ROS and MoveIt are available online).
The Panda robot gripper (see Accessories) can exert a continuous gasping force of 70 N (and a maximum force of 140 N) and can lift up to 3 kg. The maximum width of the open gripper is 80 mm. Which allows this FRANKA EMIKA robotic arm to lift a wide variety of objects.
The Inria Rennes research center chose it for its ViSP project, as part of a visual servoing SDK. The Panda robotic arm is also part of the Imperial College London university robots fleet, available to students who wish to integrate it to their robotic projects.
#3 Baxter with SDK for education
Baxter is a robot designed with 2 arms, that each feature 7 DoF. Baxter is a collaborative robot, but its manufacturer Rethink Robotics also released a research and education version, with a ROS SDK. This version of Baxter allows researchers and students alike to develop many robotic applications.
They will be able to work in fields like machine learning, human-robot interaction, mechatronics and grasping, machine vision and manufacturing skills. With Baxter, students can develop programs with a real-life purpose, and get familiar with the industry 4.0 challenges.
I need a mobile robot
Exploration, surveillance, support and maintenance, cleaning duties, transportation… Applications based on autonomous mobile robots are many. Most of the mobile bases that Génération Robots distribute are ROS compatible.
#1 Clearpath range: outdoor mobile robots
Our catalogue features mobile robots that can be deployed for many uses: exploration, logistics, education, prototyping, surveillance, farming, etc. Clearpath Robotics’ Husky robot is the go-to platform for Mars robotics research around the world. All Clearpath Robotics mobile robots are open source, can be fitted with sensors and heavily customized.
We hand pick each robot with the research engineers in robotics that work in our engineering department. Some of them have actually be used in our own projects (e.g. the Clearpath Robotics robots).
These robots can also be used as course material, especially in curriculum where students have to work on their own robotic project.
#2 Turtlebot3: indoor mobile robot
TurtleBot3 is a light mobile base that comes in a set. It needs to be assembled (it can be customised as well) before being programmed in Python, Blockly, C++, C#. This mobile base is light, compact, inexpensive and heavily customizable. Powered by a Raspberry Pi, it features Dynamixel servo motors. It is possible to add a robot arm on top (Waffle Pi version), or many sensors: colour, line follower, motion, etc.
The manufacturer ROBOTIS has designed 2 models, the Burger and the Wafﬂe Pi: Wafﬂe Pi is quicker and sturdier, can carry a heavier payload, but has a shorter battery life. It is also more expensive.
I need robotic components for my class
LiDAR, IMU, microcontrollers, structural parts, servo motors… our website features all the components necessary to build a robot from Scratch!
#1 NVIDIA Jetson boards and development kits
NVIDIA Jetson boards are compact, powerful, offers near-real-time responsiveness and minimal latency, while being energy-efficient: key for embedded robots or intelligent machines that need mission-critical autonomy.
NVIDIA® Jetson™ microcontrollers are used to create deep learning applications, run multiple neural networks in parallel or analyze data from cameras, sensors and IoT gateways in real-time. They are a great asset to any applications in the fields of e-health, autonomous cars, smart cities, IoT, etc.
#2 Dynamixel servo motors
The Dynamixel range is a sure bet in robotics. These servomotors, developed by the Korean company ROBOTIS, are among the most powerful and efficient on the market. They have been specially created for robotic platforms.
The Dynamixel range is highly diversified, including small servomotors that will be used in a robotics club, as well as powerful industrial quality servomotors.
We have written an extensive article about the Dynamixel servo motors range, entitled “How to select your Dynamixel servomotor? “.
#3 Roboteq motor controllers
Like Dynamixel, the Roboteq motor controllers range offers high performance components, that have been designed for robotics. This motor controllers will be a great addition to any robotic projects involving mobile robot (AGV, automation, autonomous scars, farming robots, etc).
Our catalogue features several brands of LiDAR, such as RoboSense, SICK, Hokuyo, Terabee, YDLidar, SLAMTEC… We distribute LiDAR suited to many different applications, like prototyping, use in a classroom, or for advanced robotic projects.
If you need more detailed information about the LiDAR technology, our blog features a serie of 4 extensive articles on that subject:
- What is LiDAR technology?
- How to select the right LiDAR?
- Which applications for a LiDAR?
- LiDAR integration with ROS: quickstart guide and projects ideas
#5 IMU / Inertial Measurement Unit: Ellipse 2 Micro by SBG Systems
IMU is an essential part of any advanced robotic project (mobile robots, humanoid robots). In mobile robotics, data collected by the IMU (acceleration, rotation) will be merged with data collected by the LiDAR, as well as odometry data.
Humanoid robots also need an IMU to be sturdier when they walk. Robots use data collected by their IMU to have information about their position and movements.
The brand SBG Systems designed a range of compact IMU (less than 2.7m long and 10g), yet powerful and efficient. The Ellipse 2 Micro Series offers 3 models:
- A 9-axis inertial measurement unit (Ellipse 2 Micro IMU)
- An altitude and heading reference system with an extended Kalman filter
- An inertial navigation system with all the functionalities of the previous models and an additional connection to a GNSS receiver and odometer