Antbot 2.0 UpdateOct 20, 2021
With the launch of Antbot 2.0 around the corner, we've been looking for opportunities to share some of our development efforts with our readers. With the new motherboards prototyped and passing tests, and the new console software nearly ready for a beta release, we wanted to show you something.
The Antbot line of robots has been one of our technological cornerstones since 2008. Originally based on a Parallax Propeller microcontroller and running a Commodore-esque shell, the Antbot served a useful purpose as an educational and research platform. Two years later, we released Robots Anywhere, the first Android-based robotics platform, and the Antbot chassis found a new purpose. With a new Arduino-based motherboard, the Audioserial system, and a phone for a head, by 2012 we had developed the Antbot you now know today. It received a heavier duty sister chassis, the Renegade
For the next nine years, this has been where the Antbot has largely stayed, with updates to the Android software to support newer phones, but with an old, industrially-minded control system and user experience.
In 2020, we decided it was time for a new Antbot, and a new Robots Anywhere, a name that honestly never really stuck - which is why it’s going away. The entire platform is now going to fall under the Antbot brand - Android app, control software, and hardware alike, to make it more clearly distinct and identifiable. Along with the rebranding, we will be releasing new lines of robots, under an Indiegogo campaign to be released sometime in Q4 2021 or Q1 2022.
The new line will consist of a re-release of the original Antbot chassis (with some small modifications), with improved power and control characteristics, under the name Antbot Worker. Our goal is to release a larger version of the Worker chassis at the same time, designed for outdoor operations, as well as a suspension kit for both models.
We have plans to release additional designs in the near future as well, including a more heavily armored design based on the Renegade called the Soldier, and an innovative rocker-bogie chassis that we premiered to the Mars Society at the 2021 convention, which we have named Explorer. These designs are likely going to be showcased along with the Antbot Worker in our release campaign.
To control these new chassis, we would also like to announce the return of USB support, using the USB OTG standard. For phones that do not support OTG, AudioSerial will remain an available feature on the Antbot motherboard. Additionally, the Android-based system will now have audio support, being able to record from the Android phone and store audio along with saved frames on the console PC, including supporting multiple Antbots recording at once. For transmitting audio, we still support both the phone system, and text to speech. For those not looking to use Android based control systems, we will also be offering an ESP32Cam board with a large prototyping area for custom camera-driven robots, as well as a receiver for direct analog control. We will have more details as to the specifics and pricing of control systems closer to the campaign launch.
Video of the console and the alpha Antbot in action should be releasing sometime next week.