A CHILD’S DREAM
I belong to that generation who grew up devouring science fiction novels which promised us that by the year 2000 we would spend the holidays in other planets, we would go to work on self-propelled airships and we would have a small fleet of robots at home. I spent my childhood dreaming of that wonderful future that they had projected in my mind, too late to stop my imagination, and I grew up with the disappointment of all those broken promises. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I thought it would be feasible to take this small step to bring my dreams closer to reality, and build my own domestic robot.
This day marks the end of over 6 years of illusion and hard work that have now become a reality. Only time will tell if I really managed to help Robotics and Artificial Intelligence to reach homes around the world but, whatever happens, I have the satisfaction of knowing that all I have experienced during this project was worth it and I will always feel proud for having pursued my dream.
Completion of the project
It’s been a little over six years since I enrolled in this wonderful adventure. During the first years I was on my own, but as the project moved forward successfully, I had the opportunity to surround myself with a diverse team of people who were never limited to just carrying out their mission, but believed in this romantic project and became involved giving the best of themselves.
After so much work from so many people, we have finally reached our goal. Many things have happened during this journey, some wonderful and some not so wonderful, but instead of thinking about what I had to leave behind, I’ll remember what I have found. I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, I have met some extraordinary people and I can confirm that effort finally brings its reward.
Objective, Concept, Vision and Open Source
This project was conceived with the firm intention of creating a platform of Artificial Intelligence that could become a little bit smarter each day.
To achieve this, there are two lines of work that I consider essential: on the one hand, developing a robotic platform as standard as possible, that encourages the creation of an ecosystem of research and development around it. On the other hand, achieving a design that is attractive enough for people to emphasize with the platform and adopt it in their daily lives, feeding the ecosystem with their interactions.
I’ve always believed that Robotics should have its base in an open community where knowledge flows and that we must banish, once and for all, the model of closed laboratories surrounded by absolute secrecy, where a group of engineers works on prototypes that will never see the light or that, in the best case scenario, will be used as marketing tools for other products completely unrelated to robotics.
It’s for all the reasons mentioned above that I thought it was necessary to create a low cost open structure around which we could give birth to a real ecosystem aimed at the advancement of Artificial Intelligence. A community of robotics, electronics and computer science experts and amateurs, that would exchange their expertise, designs and experience to get an unlimited range of applications that other people can use for their own benefit or for others (security, telemedicine, telepresence, therapeutic purposes, etc).
This project was made possible thanks to the companies who share this vision: Willow Garage, founded by Scott Hassan in 2006 and that, thanks to their ROS development platform, is fueling a revolution in the world of robotics. Also thanks to Arduino, whose flexibility has allowed us to design two boards (of the five contained in Q.bo) compatible with this platform, and that we will deliver to the community in Open Source format. And thanks, of course, to Linux and its creator, Linus Torwald, which make it possible for all the components of the platform to function together and robustly.
The use of standard electronic components that can be found in any robotics store has been another factor that I considered key from the very beginning, in order to minimize efforts and dedicate all my resources to the base platform, since there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Thanks to all these OpenSource benefits, Q.bo was born as a platform that combines design and the latest technology:
Design + Linux + Arduino + ROS + Standards = QBO
Formats in which Qbo is supplied and information on the preorder
From the beginning, all our efforts have been focused on creating a platform where design and quality set the standards for development. Our obsession to find the highest quality, both in the plastic parts that make up the casing as in the finishing of the chassis, has played a very important role in the progress of the project.
After 6 years of hard work, we offer you an extraordinary base so that you can experiment with all types of hardware and software. We are aware that not all people have the same interests regarding Q.bo, and some of you would prefer to ignore the building phase of the robot. That’s the reason why we offer you several possibilities, so that you can choose the one that best suits your profile:
Q.bo Basic Kit serves as a mounting base to build your Q.bo as you please. This Kit includes plastic covers, steel chassis, mechanical parts, webcams and wifi antenna. Therefore, you can upgrade it with the servo motors, controller boards, motherboard, microprocessor or memory of your choice, thereby creating a completely customized Q.bo. In this site you will find a list of the components that you can use, recommended and tested by the team of TheCorpora.
The Q.bo Complete version consists of a fully assembled Q.bo. You can choose between Q.bo Complete Pro and Q.bo Complete Lite. The Q.bo Complete Pro version includes a Mini ITX DQ67EP motherboard with an Intel Core I3 low power consumption microprocessor and a 40 GB SSD disk, while the Q.bo Complete Lite comes with an Intel D2700MUD motherboard, an Intel ATOM D2700 microprocessor, a 40 GB mechanical disk and it does not include the eyelids mechanism. Both include a 2 GB DDR3 RAM memory. Both versions of Q.bo Complete (Lite and Pro) are designed for those who want to skip the assembling steps and choosing the components. If you are a software developer, these versions will allow you forget worrying about the mechanical and electronic level and concentrate on the software.
The Q.bo Complete Pro version is sold at a higher price than the Q.bo Complete Lite version but, it also provides an eyelid mechanism, it allows the execution of computationally heavier algorithms, greater fluidity of movements and greater execution speed for algorithms thanks to its Core I3 microprocessor, far more powerful than the Intel ATOM D2700.
I can’t finish this post without expressing my gratitude to the people that have been on our side all this time, the people who have made it possible for Q.bo to become a reality today. Thanks to all of those who have sent us hundreds of emails asking about the project, to all the technology blogs that have followed us and shared the news published on our blog, to all the friends who follow us on social networks and also to all of those who have talked about us and have made us known in their circles. THANK YOU.
I HAVE ALWAYS IMAGINED A ROBOT THAT WOULD BE MORE INTELLIGENT EVERY DAY THANKS TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SAME SPECIES AROUND THE WORLD.