Instead of creating just another development kit, Texas Instruments (TI) created a small robot, the Robotic Evaluation Board (EVALBOT), which that uses the Micrium uC/OS-III operating system that runs on a TI Stellaris-brand ARM Cortex-M3 MCU (LM3S9B92). The kit includes all of the hardware and software needed to quickly assemble the robot and use the already programmed firmware. TI ships the EVALBOT in two versions, one with a Stellaris-specific version of the book, “uC/OS-III: The Real-Time Kernel,” by Jean J. Labrosse, and one without it. This edition shows how a real-time kernel works and it uses uC/OS-III and the Stellaris EVALBOT as references.
You can buy the Robotic Evaluation Board and the Micrium’s uC/OS-III book as a package for $US 199 US. Visit: www.ti.com/evalbot-pr-es. If you want only the Robotic Evaluation Board, it costs $US 149. Visit: www.ti.com/evalbot-bot-pr-es. TI has both versions in stock as of early October 2010.
According to my sources as TI, engineers and others will find the documentation for the robot in the second half of the book. And this section includes information about how to get started, the schematics, and the projects (and their solutions), and “exploded” mechanical drawings. The EvalBot requires some hand assembly with a small Allen wrench included in the kit. You put on the wheels and the “bumpers” that sense an object.
The robot comes pre-programmed with a “quickstart” autonomous-drive-mode application that moves the robot moving in a straight line or on a slight curve for a while and then executing a random turn. When the robot’s bumpers detect a collision with an object, the robot backs up and executes a random turn.
In early 2011, TI will introduce a general-evaluation versions of the EvalBot kit you can be used with or without the Micrium uC/OS-III RTOS.
You can download software from Micrium at: http://micrium.com/page/downloads/os-iii_files and the robot-assembly instructions in the book explain the software. Micrium lets you download a 30-day full-function trial of uC/Probe+uC/OS-III or an unlimited trial of uC/Probe+uC/OS-III. The latter limits you to eight user variables, and TI has used this latter version for the robot code. The book’s information also explains how to download the IAR Systems 32K Kickstart version of its Embedded Workbench for AMR MCUs for use with the example projects.
For more information, go to www.ti.com/evalbot-pr-tf and for a video overview, go to www.ti.com/evalbot-pr-v.