TurtleBot 2i: New Chassis, Robot Arm Support, Intel Joule

The TurtleBot 2i, a modular ROS-based robot powered by Intel Joule, enables the development of next-gen advanced robots.

The TurtleBot 2i Mobile Research Robot was introduced today by Interbotix Labs and the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). The TurtleBot 2i builds upon previous versions of the popular Robot Operating System (ROS) based robotics platform to provide advanced out-of-the-box capabilities to fast-track prototyping of next-gen robots.

The goal of the TurtleBot platform has always been to bring complex technologies, such as autonomous navigation and robotic manipulation, into the hands of innovators and developers in a more approachable format.

The TurtleBot 2i ($2,395.95) does a great job of just that with a redesigned chassis, native support for robotic arms and the Intel Joule 570x compute module.

TurtleBot 2i Offers Native Support of a Robot Arm

The TurtleBot 2i offers the Pincher MK3 5 DOF Robotic Arm as a standard option. This is the first time a TurtleBot robot has offered native support of a robotic arm.

TurtleBot 2i Robot Arm & Dual 3D Cameras

The MK3 allows the TurtleBot 2i to interact with small objects, buttons, and tools in its environment. The Arbotix-M Robocontroller provides an interface for the Pincher MK3 arm, which is implemented using MoveIt, an open-source solution that allows users to control the arm using only high-level commands.

TurtleBot 2i Powered by Intel Joule

Like the TurtleBot 3, the TurtleBot 2i uses the Intel Joule 570x compute module. Along with the powerful computing power, the Joule 570x allows the TurtleBot 2i to easily integrate with dual Intel RealSense 3D cameras. The TurtleBot 2i uses an Intel ZR300 RealSense camera for navigation and mapping, while the short-range SR300 RealSense camera is dedicated to the MK3 robot arm.

Autonomous Navigation & Point Cloud Mapping

“Today’s robotics developers have advanced requirements that are not met by current dev boards, limiting progress,” says Tom Seaman, product manager with Intel’s Modular Innovation Group. “Developers of tomorrow’s robotic solutions need a higher-performance, power-efficient compute solution to embed in their robots, capable of handling demanding workloads, including 3D simultaneous localization and mapping (3D SLAM), object recognition and tracking, face recognition, and natural language processing.”

The combination of the Joule 570x and RealSense also benefit from hardware GPU acceleration from the on-board Intel Iris graphics.

Previous versions of the TurtleBot used netbooks or laptops for computing power. Andrew Dresner, principal engineer at Interbotix Labs, says using the Joule 570x shaved about $500 off the computing cost of the TurtleBot 2i.

“The TurtleBot 2i is one of the cheaper mobile manipulator robots to ever hit the market,” he says. “We rebuilt the hardware on the TurtleBot 2i from the ground up, added a robotic arm as a standard option, with Intel Joule and Intel RealSense. This is an industry first at the price level.”

Map Zone Identification and Waypoints

“Before the joule came into play, we were looking at multiple DragonBoards - one to run a 3D camera and one to run the physical hardware,” Dresner continues. “Intel joule gave us enough computational power to not have to split the load over multiple boards, but it has all the features we needed.”

TurtleBot 2i Teleoperation

TurtleBot 2i Features

TurtleBot 2i ROS Software/Demo Features
Autonomous Navigation & Point Cloud Mapping
Map Zone Identification & Waypoints
Robotic Arm Object Manipulation & Sorting
Obstacle Avoidance & Path Planning
Teleoperation Examples
Self-Charging w/ Dock

TurtleBot 2i Hardware Specifications

Intel Joule 570X
Gumstix Nodana Carrier Board
16GB eMMC Storage
802.11AC WiFi / Bluetooth 4.0
Ubuntu 16.04 / ROS Kinetic

TurtleBot 2i Comparison
TurtleBot 2                                                                               TurtleBot 2i

TurtleBot 2i Sensors
SR300 RealSense 3D Camera
ZR300 RealSense 3D Camera
Edge Detection & Bumper Sensors

TurtleBot 2i Mobile Robot
Kobuki Mobile Base
Modular & Interchangeable Decks
Pincher MK3 Robo Arm
Arbotix-M Robocontroller
Secondary 3S 4500mAh LiPo Battery
Maximum translational velocity: 70 cm/s 13
Maximum rotational velocity: 180 deg/s (>110 deg/s gyro performance will degrade)
Payload: 2kg (without arm), 1kg (with arm)
Cliff: will not drive off a cliff with a depth greater than 5cm
Threshold Climbing: climbs thresholds of 12 mm or lower
Rug Climbing: climbs rugs of 12 mm or lower
Expected Operating Time: 4-6 hours (operating time varies depending on loadout)
Expected Charging Time: 2-3 hours (charge time varies depending on loadout)
Docking/Charging: automatic within a 2mx5m area in front of the docking station (sold separately)

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


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