VMX-pi sells out in first day of FIRST Choice 2018, Round 2

Kauai Labs is proud to support FIRST Robotics and recently donated 100 VMX-pi Robotics Controllers/Vision & Motion Co-processors to the 2018 FRC FIRSTChoice program (Round 2) – making them freely available to FRC teams.

We’re happy to say that all 100 VMX-pi units were ordered on the first day of Round 2!

For those of you who missed acquiring one of the free sensors, Kauai Labs has plenty in stock – please visit the VMX-pi product page for more details.

Kauai Labs releases navX-MXP and navX-Micro v3.0 firmware

As of May, 2016, navX-MXP is aboard over 700 FIRST FRC robots, and 100 FTC robots.  Kauai Labs is dedicated to continually increasing the functionality of the navX-MXP and navX-Micro, and has been listening to our customers requests for additional functionality.  In response, Kauai Labs has released the third-generation firmware, version 3.0 and associated libraries which support several key new features:

  • Increased update rates of 200Hz (5 milliseconds/sample)
  • Support for video-processing latency correction in distributed processing environment

To access these new features, please visit the “upgrading firmware” instruction page.

KauaiLabs announces navX-Micro Robotics Navigation Sensor for FTC and FRC Robotics

KauaiLabs, Inc. announces the navX-Micro Robotics Navigation Sensor

• 9-Axis IMU/Magnetic Sensor (Gyro / Accelerometer / Magnetometer)
• Intelligent Motion Processor

Today, KauaiLabs announces the third-generation Open Source navX-Micro Robotics Navigation Sensor, designed for use with the Android-Based FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC) Robotics as well as the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) Control Systems.  navX-Micro is based on the same core technology within the navX-MXP sensor now in use by hundreds of FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) teams.

navX-Micro features a 32-bit ARM processor, the Invensense MPU-9250 sensor system-on-chip, and software algorithms which  include enhanced sensor calibration, data fusion combining gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer data into a “9-axis heading”, and high-quality magnetometer calibration including magnetic disturbance detection. In addition to being an Inertial Measurement Unit, navX-Micro capabilities are referred to within the aerospace industry as an “Attitude/Heading Reference System” (AHRS). Kauailabs brings this high-tech AHRS capability to FIRST FTC and FRC teams – to use, learn and explore. navX-Micro is a key component of Kauailabs’ ongoing efforts to make state-of-the-art navigation technologies used in drones and autonomous vehicles (e.g., the Google Car) available to robotics students and enthusiasts as low-cost, open-source products.

navX-Micro is available for purchase online now for $79.   The navX-Micro FTC library is also compatible with the navX-MXP sensor for those teams wishing to get started immediately.

Open Source schematics, firmware source code, FTC library source code and example code is available online.  For those desiring an enclosure, a 3D-printable enclosure is also available for those wishing to create their own, or can be purchased separately online.

More details are available at navX-Micro Online.

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Kauailabs announces navX MXP Robotics Navigation Sensor

KauaiLabs, Inc. announces the navX MXP Robotics Navigation Sensor

• 9-Axis Sensor (Gyro / Accelerometer / Magnetometer)
• Intelligent Motion Processor
• RoboRIO Expansion I/O

In late 2013, Kauailabs released the nav6 Open Source Inertial Measurement Unit, providing high-accuracy measures of pose (yaw/pitch/roll), with minimal yaw drift of ~1 degree per minute – performance far exceeding the analog gyro included in the FRC Kit of Parts. nav6 was used by several teams at the 2014 FIRST Championships for features including field-oriented drive.

Now, Kauailabs announces the navX MXP Robotics Navigation Sensor, which takes nav6 technology to the next level in two significant ways.

First, navX MXP was designed to use the RoboRIO MXP Expansion Connector – enabling plug-n-play installation on the National Instruments RoboRIO, and adding digital, analog I/O and UART / SPI / I2C port expansion.

Second, navX MXP features a 32-bit ARM processor, the new Invensense MPU-9250 sensor system-on-chip, and software algorithms which take nav6 technology to the next level, including enhanced sensor calibration and algorithms which fuse gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer data into a “9-axis heading”. The “9-axis heading” is enabled by magnetometer calibration tools (available online at no cost) and magnetometer disturbance detection and data fusion algorithms. This capability is known within the aerospace industry as an “Attitude/Heading Reference System” (AHRS). Kauailabs brings this high-tech AHRS capability to FIRST FRC teams – to use, learn and explore. navX MXP is a key component of Kauailabs’ ongoing efforts to make state-of-the-art navigation technologies used in autonomous vehicles (e.g., the Google Car) available to robotics students and enthusiasts as low-cost, open-source products.

navX MXP will be available for puchase online a few days after the 2015 FIRST FRC build season kickoff at AndyMark and Kauailabs. MSRP is $99.

More details available at navX-MXP Online.

New LIDAR Lite Sensor promises long-range optical distance sensing

The new LIDAR Lite sensor now available at Garmin offers high-performance distance sensing at a fraction of the cost of comparable sensors.

Lidar Lite has a range of up to 40 meters, and features a low-cost implementation of time-of-flight algorithms used in expensive LIDAR systems  like those used with the Google Car. The LIDAR-Lite uses an I2C communications interface, which allows multiple modules to be connected as slaves to a common communications bus, and draws only 100 milliamps of power.

Kauai Labs has ordered one of these units and will be developing a prototype 2D scanner which can measure 360 degrees of distance and SNR, designed for use in FIRST robotics to enable localization. Stay tuned for more developments, we’ll be posting details as they emerge.

Simple, New Inventor’s Tool – Makey Makey!

Many thanks to Ava Zbezda, one of Kauai’s young inventors in this summer’s “Inventing with Software and Electronics” class, for alerting us to this incredible new invention!  A team at the MIT Media Lab has created one of the simplest ever tools for inventors – a simple circuit board that can transform almost anything into a button.  Imagine playing your favorite video game using bananas from from your kitchen as buttons.  Or, imagine drawing buttons on paper with a pencil, and immediately using them as a typewriter.  The video below is highly recommended and demonstrates a number of different possibilities.  A Kauailabs personal favorite is the piano played by stepping on different stairs.

Makey Makey will be available in November at www.sparkfun.com.  Just in time to invent an interactive Christmas tree!