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Analog Devices and UMass Lowell to Develop New Controller for Robotics Design
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Apr 06, 2006
More Design and Development stories
Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) have joined together to develop the “Blackfin Handy Board” - an updated version of the hand-held controller board for educational robotics applications that is used by hundreds of colleges and universities in undergraduate engineering and robotics courses. This new version is a state-of-the-art robots controller board based on the high-performance Blackfin Processor from ADI.

Created by Professor Fred Martin, PhD, of UMass Lowell while he was a student at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the new Handy Board design provides significant feature enhancements over earlier versions. While the old design provides control loop functionality to run various robotics algorithms, the new design leverages the power of Blackfin, enabling vision through advanced image processing techniques. Additionally, the new Handy Board exposes students to modern, advanced processing technologies which are taking over the next generation of products.

“The Handy Board is a big part of undergraduate robotics education all over the world,” said Dr. Martin, one of the founders of the well-known 6.270, an MIT class in which participants design and build a robot for the Autonomous Robot Design Competition. “With ADI’s Blackfin Processor, we will be able to add computer vision and signal processing to classroom robotics, which is a significant upgrade for Handy Board users. The advanced techniques that new graduates will learn from the Blackfin Handy Board will provide them with practical engineering knowledge they can immediately apply as they begin their careers.”

“Working with Dr. Martin on the Blackfin Handy Board project is a great way for us to provide students with the tools to prepare for their careers after graduation,” said Derek Leadbetter, Director, DSP Development Tools, Analog Devices. “It is also a good way to introduce real-world technology to university students, allowing them to see first hand the versatility and power of Blackfin.”

To help produce the board, ADI is providing design services, including schematic capture, board layout, and production. Additionally, ADI will supply UMass Lowell with Blackfin Handy Board units for use in Dr. Martin’s robotics courses in Computer Science.

Convergent Future Demands Blackfin-Class Processing
Analog Devices’ Blackfin(R) embodies a new breed of 16/32-bit embedded processor with the industry’s highest performance and power efficiency for applications where a convergence of capabilities - multi-format audio, video, voice and image processing; multi-mode baseband and packet processing; and real-time security and control processing - are critical. It is this powerful combination of software flexibility and scalability that has gained Blackfin widespread adoption in convergent applications such as digital home entertainment; networked and streaming media; automotive telematics and infotainment; and digital radio and mobile TV.

About Analog Devices
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Celebrating more than 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices’ common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ADI” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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