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LinuxWorld.com.au: Linux-Powered Robots

Sep 20, 2000, 06:35 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rodney Gedda)

"During the week of Monday 28 August to Sunday 3 September, Melbourne hosted RoboCup 2000, the 4th World Robot Soccer Championships and Workshop. The event was held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre in conjunction with the Sixth Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence."

"n line with the technological push that the teams represent, Linux was often the operating system of choice for controlling the robots. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (www.rmit.edu.au) team, called RMIT United, made extensive use of Linux, which gave them better functionality. "We use a lot of Java code, I think about 30,000 lines, but there is some C++ for interfacing with the vision system," said James Brusey of RMIT United. "We had previously used Windows because we were unable to get Linux drivers for the Logitech QuickCam VC. We have a different camera and a completely different vision system now, so we were able to port to Linux." The RMIT United team was using Red Hat Linux 6.2."

"The transition from Windows to Linux was easy for the team and the only code changes involved renaming the serial ports. The team also used RXTX (www.rxtx.org) for serial communications. Performance increased markedly in comparison to the Java Communications API under Windows. "We tested with a logic analyser on the serial port and found that the time between communications packets was about 180ms under Windows, whereas under Linux it came down to 8 - 20ms," said Brusey. Given the complexity of the robot's operations, a speed increase of 900 per cent will always translate to better overall performance."

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