Hedgehog - Educational Robotics Controller
Use your mobile device to program and control self-built robots. Hedgehog is for everyone: simple for beginners and powerful for pros!
Our vision is to prepare and motivate next generations of researchers, engineers, and scientists using robotics.
- Dr. Gottfried Koppensteiner, COO of PRIA
We developed Hedgehog to be simple, flexible and affordable. The Hedgehog Educational Robotics Controller is the centerpiece of this platform, that you combine with your smartphone or computer. Its simplicity makes it suitable for beginners, and Hedgehog is powerful enough to grow with your needs.
Who are we?
We are the Practical Robotics Institute Austria (PRIA) located in Vienna, Austria. We are an independent non-profit organization with the aim to promote scientific and technical excellence in schools. To do so, we use robotics in education and various research projects, where we involve students with exciting scientific and engineering topics.
What makes the difference?
Most robotics controllers on the market are „black boxes“: You can't see what's inside, and how the thing works. That's okay for beginners, but if you hit a limit, there's not much you can do. Hedgehog is not like that: from case to software, the controller is open for you to explore and tinker with. Another key differentiator to other robotics platforms is the closely integrated debugging functionality: from within the Hedgehog app, you are able to manually pause the execution of your program, set breakpoints and take a look at current variable values. Whether you want a controller that just works, or customize every last part, whether you’re a beginner or a pro: Hedgehog is for you!
How does it work?
- Program: Apps The Hedgehog apps on mobile devices, as well as the desktop IDE, connect to the controller via WiFi. You can develop programs in these apps and easily download them to the controller. The Hedgehog app can also be used for controlling motors and sensors directly in an intuitive graphical user interface and shows a debugging screen while running the program.
- Compile: Software Controller We use a Raspberry Pi Model A+ for compiling and running your programs. Besides that, you have access to the full potential of the Raspberry for other programming languages and tasks. We provide libraries for the Raspberry Pi in C and Python. But you're not bound to a Raspberry Pi: all a software controller really needs is UART – and almost all computers and microcontrollers have access to that.
- Execute: Hardware Controller The hardware supports up to 16 analog sensors, 16 digital sensors, 6 motors and 6 servo-motors. You can even use smartphone sensors, like the built-in cameras, gyroscope, and accelerometer over WiFi. The USB, HDMI and audio connectors of the Raspberry Pi are also accessible. The controller is powered by a 2100mAh NiMH battery to provide long run times.
- Write your own custom mobile or desktop apps. We provide the APIs for the Hedgehog controller.
- Use a mobile device of your choice.
- Switch out the software controller. You prefer Arduino or the Banana Pi? Go for it!
- Design your own case according to your special needs and your taste. We provide the files for the original case.
- Use the programming language you prefer
Why mobile devices?
If you have a smartphone, you are in good company. Most people today have smartphones, so why not use them for new exciting stuff! We’ve set ourselves the goal to provide an intuitive and handy user experience for the Hedgehog Controller. Since robots tend to move a lot, we decided for a remote user interface – an app on the smartphone or similar devices – instead of an integrated display. Smartphones provide a rich user interface via touch screen, internet access as well as a variety of built-in sensors that can even be used as part of the robot or for remote controlling it. All these features open up a wide area of applications in and beyond education. These benefits make Hedgehog a worthwhile long term investment.
- Microcontroller: STM32F3Discovery from STMicroelectronics
- WiFi Board: WizFi 210 from WizNet
- 16 analog sensor ports including configurable pull-up resistors
- 16 digital sensor ports
- 6 motor ports, compatible with 2-pin DC motors (8V, max 1A)
- 6 servo ports, PWM controlled (5V, total max 5A short term, 3A long term)
- Charging: power jack input: 15V, min 450mA
- Battery management unit
- 1 free UART port for custom extensions
- Raspberry PI Model A+
- Interface to Hardware Controller via UART at 115200 baudrate
- 2100 mAh NiMH rechargeable battery
- Plexiglas Case (laser cuttable, engraved, LEGO® compatible hole spacing)
Where are we at in the project?
At the moment, we have several working prototypes: We can deliver the controller as seen in the promotion video. The Hedgehog app will run on both Android and iOS platforms.
- €15,000 Set up a platform, where developers can discuss the Hedgehog robotics platform and exchange ideas, code and other files.
- €25,000 Graphical programming language for the Hedgehog Educational Robotics Controller.
Risks and challenges
We have experience with getting the required parts and assembling them. The chosen delivery timeline is long enough to assemble several Hedgehog Controllers, but most likely it will be necessary to subcontract the assembly to a separate company. There are several companies in our vicinity that fit in price and quality for the possible quantities.
The software to be delivered with each controller is mostly complete, and we expect to be finished mid-August, so even with major delays, this will be complete at shipping time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (47 days)