In a development which I feel is long overdue, this weekend Kondo Kagaku Co. Ltd. unveiled a new serial port controller board KCB-3WL, compatible with the KHR-3HV’s existing RCV-4HB. It’s a Samsung 32-bit 200MHz ARM-based CPU running Linux measuring 49.5 x 52 x 12mm, allowing you to run software like image processing on board your robot. The board is light enough that it doesn’t affect the robot’s standard motions. Kondo’s demonstration included a USB camera’s feed streamed over wireless LAN with edge detection. It is expected to go on sale in April at a price of around 60,000 JPY ($660 USD) and may be bundled with a development environment and libraries. Kondo is actively developing the board with the help of the Kitagawa Institute of Technology, so the specs may change between now and its release. This is great news for robotics teams looking for a relatively low-cost solution for their autonomous robot needs!
Meanwhile, Tsukumo Robot Kingdom has just dropped the price of the RB2000 hobby robot kit from 99,750 JPY ($1,100 USD) to $57,000 JPY ($625 USD)! The kit comes with 19 servos, and English software and documentation is available from Vstone. It looks like this is a limited time offer so now would be the time to buy if you were sitting on the fence!