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Brookstone Rover 2.0 SpyTank Teardown

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the what's-inside dept.

Hardware Hacking 64

An anonymous reader writes "Like the Roomba and other hackable consumer electronics, the Brookstone Rover 2.0 looks like a great value for hackers and robotics experimenters. Check out this teardown and another link within for lots of pics and info."

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64 comments

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first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849187)

I didnt even read the title!

COMPUTERS AS YOU KNOW THEM ARE DEAD !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849191)

D.
E.
A.
D.

Dead !!

Nothing to see anymore !!

It has all been done already !!

Bring on the !!

TANKS !!

Re:COMPUTERS AS YOU KNOW THEM ARE DEAD !! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42857923)

DEAD is what I had in mind.
Possums, raiding my grapevines and strawberry patch.
I'm thinking Brookstone with a .410 shotgun mounted on it doin' a little night warfare.
Just modify this idea and software http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uetmdJJkpdQ [youtube.com]

Is this an ad... (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849193)

...or does TFA, just like the OP, only look that way ?

Re:Is this an ad... (3, Funny)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849241)

It looks like one, it walks like one, and it quacks like one. But then again, I'm not an ornithologist.

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849483)

It also has the feathers of one, and pecks at your wallet like one. But then again, I am not a consumer.

Re:Is this an ad... (4, Informative)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849265)

...or does TFA, just like the OP, only look that way ?

No, it is a breakdown, as in, tear apart to see whats inside it, from a separate website/company.

This is a very common occurrence in the tech world. Some of us like to know whats inside before we buy.

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849445)

Before you buy...so it IS an advertisement.

I wonder how much these cost. How can I get my product on the front page of Slashdot?

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849635)

How can I get my product on the front page of Slashdot?

Make something interesting enough for us to want to look at.

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850629)

No, it's not an ad. If you read past the first paragraph or so you'll see it didn't get a good review. They're promoting it as a hackable toy. For $150 it does have a lot of tech.

Re:Is this an ad... (0)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849475)

That was the most pedantic comment I got, ever, upon a Slasdhot post. Congratulations,sir, you broke the pedantry sound barrier in my user space.

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850103)

That was the most pedantic comment I got, ever, upon a Slasdhot post. Congratulations,sir, you broke the pedantry sound barrier in my user space.

Well, you were kind of asking for it. Some of us find them interesting even though whatever product it is would never find it's way onto our shopping lists. For example, I've checked out ipod and iphone teardowns but would never have one. Just because you disagree doesn't mean you have to be an ass.. oh wait, this is the internet - that's exactly what it means. My mistake.

Re:Is this an ad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42859947)

Are you a terrorist? Only terrorists want to know about what's inside and how it works!

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849397)

...or does TFA, just like the OP, only look that way ?

It is not an ad, the Brookstone Rover(tm) is merely the consumer device you want to buy right now. Our slashdot readers have priority access to our order web site and our operators are standing by for your calls. But make no mistake, this is not an ad for the Brookstone Rover(tm).

Re:Is this an ad... (1)

kupofatu (2837653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852673)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] Josiah. even though Phyllis`s rep0rt is cool, on thursday I got a top of the range McLaren F1 after I been earnin $5344 this-last/4 weeks and over $10 thousand this past month. it's actualy the coolest job Ive ever done. I actually started 9-months ago and almost immediately started to bring in at least $73.. per hour. I follow the details on this straightforward website,,

Creepy spying (3, Insightful)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849195)

Forget hacking, Someone is going to disguise it as a common place object and spy where they shouldn't. . .

Re:Creepy spying (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849277)

Forget hacking, Someone is going to disguise it as a common place object and spy where they shouldn't. . .

There are much easier ways to go about that than buying one of these. I can think of atleast 12 different ways of hiding Linux-powered computers with networking and video capabilities in plain sight.

Re:Creepy spying (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849441)

Not to mention all those (not always linux based; but generally dangerously overqualified in one way or another) network connected devices with cameras and microphones that people lovingly carry around and carefully keep charged and in working order totally voluntarily...

Re:Creepy spying (1)

dissy (172727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849791)

Forget hacking, Someone is going to disguise it as a common place object and spy where they shouldn't. . .

Why on earth would you use a tank camera to rip apart and disguise as something else?

If that thought scares you, go to Amazon and type in "spy camera" :P

$30 for a tiny wireless pinhole camera designed for hiding here [amazon.com] .

For the DIY-declined, there are pre-disguised cameras already on the market. They cost a bit more, but you don't need any skills other than having a wad of cash to blow.

For $90 you can get an analog wall clock with hidden wireless camera here [amazon.com]

Just over $60 for a smoke detector with hidden camera and 8gb of internal video storage, just begging to be installed over a bed here [amazon.com]

There are even cameras hidden inside wall power plugs here [amazon.com]

These are available publicly to anyone with money, no electronics or building skills required.
I've never used a hidden camera, and these are just the ones known to me. I'm sure there are better and cheaper units out there, disguised as just about anything you can think of.

This little toy tank is not particularly a concern in comparison.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849977)

And for the special-interest audience, tampon dispensers with a built-in webcam.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850051)

Even more telling to my mind: you can pick up used cellphones with cash at any flea market that will serve as remote surveillance devices, either via cellular or wifi as appropriate. They are small and low-power in most cases. Anyone worried about surveillance should surely be concerned about those above most other things since they're not only cheap but they're difficult to impossible to trace if used intelligently.

It's not expensive to get a radio emissions detector, to give you something to play with if you're paranoid. I got one at a yard sale, or I wouldn't have one at all. It's nice to be able to see where the source of some offensive noise is, or to tell if something is or is not actually trying to communicate wirelessly when it claims that it is.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850691)

Plus, unless your jurisdiction's laws regarding covert videotaping are atypically robust, the fact that the perv-cam is hidden in a fake fire alarm may violate more rules than the fact that you installed it above the bed in that apartment you rent out!

Re:Creepy spying (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year and a half ago | (#42854293)

I think the joke got lost... I'm just saying.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849881)

Forget hacking, Someone is going to disguise it as a common place object and spy where they shouldn't. . .

Yes. They need to send a few of these into area 51. That'll shut up those conspiracy nuts who keep trying to convice folks that they do spy plane work there.

... on second thought, even if you showed them pictures of aliens, they'd say it was a hoax. Those spy-plane nutters are unconvincible.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851321)

No hot teenage sister of a nerdy Slashdotter kid will ever be safe again.

Re:Creepy spying (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42859961)

Anyone who goes to the extreme overkill of disguising an entire vehicle-with-a-camera as a common object, when they could just disguise a camera which would be both easier (since it's much smaller and not vehicle-shaped) and a mere fraction of the price, deserves to win. If someone buys a Hubble telescope and hides it in my bathroom disguised as toiler paper roll, I hereby agree that such a badass motherfucker may gaze at my naked form as much as they like.

Whatever happened to the days that we all admired people who take on a project with a voluntary and totally unreasonable handicap? "I'm going to walk my cat around the dog park! Without any restraints!"

Prist Fost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849219)

That boot up delay sounds more like a Microsoft operating system. And the response delay while controlling it also sounds more like Microsoft. But whatever, the reviewer has no idea and simply speculates. But since I know exactly as much as the reviewer, (since he knows nothing and I know the same), I would also speculate that its running linux also, but not because of operational characteristics, but simply because MS OS's do not lend themselves well to anything other than Microsoft certified devices for limited Microsoft approved functionality.

In other words, yeah, its probably running Linux because what else is there that can be used for something like this anyway? All the closed source stuff is an unlikely choice for a cheap device that needs a real OS without patent and trademark and copywrite infringement.

Re:Prist Fost (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849259)

because what else is there that can be used for something like this anyway?

Well, *BSD are popular on small, closed devices, partially because there is no need to release or maintain any changes to the software, ever.

Re:Prist Fost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850095)

That boot up delay sounds more like a Microsoft operating system. And the response delay while controlling it also sounds more like Microsoft...

Umm,
please check http://www.openipcam.com/forum/index.php?topic=261.0
especially the bits after where he gets a Bus Pirate onto the (very similar) hardware to that of the article here, somewhere amongst it you'll come across..

Executing image 7 ...
Linux version 2.4.20-uc0 (root@maverick-linux) (gcc version 3.0) #1481 ?? 6?? 15 11:04:25 CST 2011
Processor: Winbond W90N745 revision 1

Microsoft?, I think not...

Not sure there's much to be gained from this (3)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849237)

You can do pretty much what you want with the system as it stands so I'm not sure what's to be gained by taking it to pieces and reprogramming it. Sure its fun for a while seeing how it works, but this isn't a cheap device and if all you want is a general purpose controller running linux buy a raspberry pi. Why wreck an expensive bit of equipment to get the same result?

Re:Not sure there's much to be gained from this (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849275)

You can do pretty much what you want with the system as it stands so I'm not sure what's to be gained by taking it to pieces and reprogramming it. Sure its fun for a while seeing how it works, but this isn't a cheap device and if all you want is a general purpose controller running linux buy a raspberry pi. Why wreck an expensive bit of equipment to get the same result?

My Linksys WRT54LG router worked fine out of the box, but I still installed DD-WRT on it.

Why? Because I could. Breakdowns are sweet. I didn't have to buy this toy/tool to see whats inside, and now that I know, I can make a more informed decision if I want to buy this device to hack, or to just run on it's own.

Anyways, you miss the point of hacking stuff. It's about the fun, the challenge, the learning and sometimes it's about doing shit that no one else has done.

Re:Not sure there's much to be gained from this (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850003)

I can make a more informed decision if I want to buy this device to hack, or to just run on it's own.

I think that was part of the point of the originator of this sub-thread. For you, the way you've worded it it's an either/or proposition. You can decide after you buy it whether you want to 'hack' it or just run it as is; the forgone conclusion is that it was on Slashdot, and you're gonna buy it.

Being a geek-wannabe is so easy these days. Just flash the plastic.

Re:Not sure there's much to be gained from this (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850055)

You can do pretty much what you want with the system as it stands so I'm not sure what's to be gained by taking it to pieces and reprogramming it.

If you want to make it more autonomous you're going to want to hack it up. It would be cool to get it to go on missions outside the range of its communications.

Re:Not sure there's much to be gained from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42850799)

Raspberry Pis are great - $35 for one. For $150 on the tank you get motor controllers, motors, wheels, gears, a camera with night-vision, and Wifi - basically a platform that already moves. Have you priced out a simple motor controller to integrate with your Raspberry Pi? The point is you save a ton of time and cash by using something that's already built.
One down-side for the tank is the flash looks limiting compared to the Pi's SD slot. Not sure what the processor is on the tank - so can't compare that. Match your need to the HW I say.

Re:Not sure there's much to be gained from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42851187)

No no no, I thought 3D printing was the future? What's this " save a ton of time and cash by using something that's already built" stuff?

I'd urge anyone to look inside Roomba (4, Interesting)

Keruo (771880) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849301)

I really recommend anyone with roomba to take their screwdriver and open the thing.
Once you do and compare the inner workings to the device linked in the article, you really start to understand the concept of product design.

To recap the differences for those who don't own one:
Roomba design shows massive modularity. Every component inside is relatively easy-to-swap module.
It's very easy to fix if something breaks down when everything is attached with 2-3 screws max.
Modules have fixed connectors which just slot in. You won't end up in situation like: "ooh, this 4-pin connector looks like that one, did I connect it right?"(see the pics linked - power connector and speaker for example)
You could probably 3D print matching spare modules if you made drawings for one.

Parts of the rover, like motors and gears are supposed to be modular, yet they don't really look like that to me, maybe I'm just misreading the images.
To me, it looks like "Made in China" - medium cost build. There's some build quality, it's not made from the cheapest material available, but it's not for daily use. Well, it's supposed to be a toy..
In the Rover, wifi and camera modules are most likely USB yet they use different cabling, why?
For hackable toy, those should be replaceable easily. Roomba doesn't have USB for wifi or camera either, but then again, it's a vacuum cleaner!

It’s one of those toys that is relegated to the closet shortly after its first set of batteries die.

Something from the article I'd have to agree with.

Re:I'd urge anyone to look inside Roomba (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849429)

I don't know what model of roomba you have, but mine was a nightmare to get apart. :)

This thing is like an abacus to a cray, by comparison.

Re:I'd urge anyone to look inside Roomba (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849493)

Parts of the rover, like motors and gears are supposed to be modular, yet they don't really look like that to me, maybe I'm just misreading the images.

To me, it looks like "Made in China" - medium cost build. There's some build quality, it's not made from the cheapest material available, but it's not for daily use. Well, it's supposed to be a toy..

I suspect that it's a matter of Brookstone's style. They do a lot of relatively pricey and dubiously useful novelty gadgets(the sort of thing you end up with if you do your technology shopping from the 'Skymall' catalog...) That's the sort of business with enough churn in the product catalog that you'd bankrupt yourself doing a lot of fully-custom parts, so you'll see moderately mod-friendly levels of modularity, lots of space between parts unless mechanically necessary, connectors rather than ribbon cables or soldered components, and so on; but it also isn't one that allows you to specialize around a few core products that you relentlessly refine over several product generations for maximum elegance in mass production and service.

Their price tags, and target market, likely keep them from going with the very nastiest build quality(the product manual, while no doubt uninformative, was probably in readable English, as well); but I wouldn't expect to find either beautifully refined elegance or impressive-but-deeply-DIY-unfriendly extreme miniaturization and integration in their stuff.

Disappointed. (2)

Celeritas 5k (1587217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849361)

The headline promised me a tank. No guns => not a tank.

Re:Disappointed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849417)

The headline promised me a tank. No guns => not a tank.

Some one is in the tank.

Re:Disappointed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849481)

A water tank has no guns either. Does that make it "not a tank?"

Re:Disappointed. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850729)

A water tank has no guns either. Does that make it "not a tank?"

As it happens, we call tanks 'tanks' because the brits called their tanks 'tanks' in order to convey the impression(pre-release) that they were not tanks...

Linux is slow? (4, Interesting)

Like2Byte (542992) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849383)

The system is probably running Linux. It takes a while to become ready after the power switch is turned on, which is typical of Linux. A smaller RTOS would likely come up much faster. The fact that the device requires networking, and streaming of sound and video also lends itself to a Linux system. Linux already includes much of the software to make everything work. The size of the RAM and Flash suggest a lean, but very workable Linux based system.

Emphasis mine. Really? I've found my Linux installs to be very fast booting - certainly faster than Windows machines. Also, according to your pics there is an 80MHz crystal on there - any modern day OS you threw on that loaded from some external storage cluster would take a while to load. However, I didn't see any SD Card, SSDs or other external media device with which to hold a larger OS which means it's all embedded in one of those IC chips you couldn't find any information on.

Having said that, there are version of Linux which can fit on a single floppy drive - about 1.2Megabytes - and in this case the OS has been burned into one of the ICs. Point here is that it may not even be Linux.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849525)

Compared to something like windows Linux is fast. Compared to a RTOS Linux is slow. Take a look at QNX if you want to see fast.

Re:Linux is slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849723)

Try waiting for a Blackberry Playbook (based on QNX) to boot.

On the other hand my Mint based Lenovo laptop with an SSD drive boots within seconds.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851277)

Try to imagine Mint running on that Blackberry. The horror.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851687)

The Playbook packs a (atypically, for a RIM device) capable OMAP4430 and 1GB of RAM. I don't know if anybody has Linux running on one; but it's pretty much identical in spec to the Pandaboard, for which reports on Linux performance are not at all hard to find(though many are for the 1.2GHz 'ES' version, which should skew things a touch).

Unthrilling by the standards of linux running on one of Intel's little toys(probably with actual GPU support, no less!); but easily within the realm of endurable.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42852741)

I have a Raspberry Pi running Wheezy and while it's fairly snappy I wouldn't call it thrilling. That's a fairly stripped and optimized distro with good support from Broadcom. QNX I have seen fly on more anemic hardware.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42853061)

Oh, I don't dispute the general point, Linux is a bit of a pig by embedded standards(albeit a very convenient pig, since it can remain so familiar even on fairly tiny systems or very large ones); but any slowness in the Playbook's boot is likely to be the fault of whatever RIM has heaped on top of QNX, since it's actually a very punchy machine by RIM's historical standards(and substantially more powerful than the Pi: higher clocks, twice the cores and RAM, ARMv7 vs. v6, etc).

Re:Linux is slow? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849545)

The S29GL032N [spansion.com] on the main system board is a 4 megabyte Spansion flash chip. Not luxurious; but well within the realm of a router-sized embedded linux(though it neither implies nor excludes a bunch of embedded OS options).
 
As for speed, Linux can be made to be quite snappy; but it wouldn't surprise me if enough of the lag is in starting up network-related stuff, along with whatever server program the device uses to allow the client to connect to it, that you wouldn't be able to readily distinguish between Linux, Vxworks, BSD or WinCE on speed alone: sure, an embedded OS booting from solid-state storage on known hardware should move like lighting; but then it has to bring up an external USB device, do the WPA dance, send a DHCP request and receive a reply, and then start up whatever server program the firmware guys threw together for the client to connect to. And then we don't actually know how often the client side of things actually polls the IP where it thinks the device is supposed to be, or whether the device sends out some sort of broadcast when it comes up, or what. Too many variables to even say how fast the OS comes up.

What baffles me is that the author of TFA is apparently geek enough to take a screwdriver to a $150 toy; but is making dumb guesses about OS type based on boot time even though he found a populated serial header, with RX and TX labelled, no less... C'mon, man, you can be pretty sure that the thing is 3.3v(based on the flash IC and lack of visible level converters, might be 5v or 5v-tolerant, highly unlikely to be RS-232), the pins are labelled for you, and it'll probably boot-spew something at you, why are you guessing based on boot time?

Re:Linux is slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849559)

In an embedded OS where the hardware configuration is predetermined, the OS should not waste its time probing for drivers on power up.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849799)

So you would build a new OS configuration for each feature variant version of your hardware? Oh, this model includes a temperature sensor, so be sure to install firmware XY.Z-T in it. This model has power steering, so it needs XY.Z-PS firmware. So you would have a separate inventory of firmware modules, and some sort of control process to make sure that a -T firmware module doesn't get installed into the model with power steering, and vice versa.

You would be better off to have a single firmware, and have it probe for hardware when it starts up. You'd have far less headaches on the manufacturing end that way.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850435)

I don't know how much demand there would be for this; but there would seem to be a middle-ground option that would solve the problem:

If you don't know exactly what hardware the OS will be booting on; but do know that it won't change, you can probe once, save the results, and use them to charge blindly forward on all future boots.

You would still need the added complexity of the probing and modularity capabilities, and the added size of all the possible drivers, so the savings would only really be in boot time; but you could do it.

What I don't know is whether there would be enough hardware falling in this area to get support(either OSS that isn't bit-rotting or commercial that has enough customers to be reasonably priced per-unit). The PC/server markets can't assume static hardware(even laptop, and some tablet, users sometimes plug in USB devices if nothing else, and are probably even more likely to do mean things like putting the OS to sleep and then changing the hardware out from under it) and the really serious embedded people are not going to like the additional size and complexity.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42855629)

If you don't know exactly what hardware the OS will be booting on; but do know that it won't change, you can probe once, save the results, and use them to charge blindly forward on all future boots.

You would still need the added complexity of the probing and modularity capabilities, and the added size of all the possible drivers, so the savings would only really be in boot time; but you could do it.

Further, if an initial boot is done as part of the quality control process, the consumer would never see it. On the other hand, you lose the flexibility of post sale upgrades.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849563)

Perhaps you could try reading the text you yourself bolded, and find out he wasn't comparing anything to Windows.

Re:Linux is slow? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42850015)

People with a slight exposure to Linux only know how to compare it to Windows. It's their only frame of reference.

Re:Linux is slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852105)

Perhaps you could try comprehending my response and find out I didn't say he was. Emphasis mine.

Re:Linux is slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42852177)

Linux on a device like this will boot much faster than a desktop PC, because it won't need to bring up any of the "desktop stuff". On my laptop, the kernel finish booting in 3.5s. That is a long time, but most of it is spent setting up drivers for various hardware that this "spy tank" doesn't have. So a linux compiled for the spy tank won't bother with those drivers - and boot faster.

My PC needs additional 7s to bring up the login screen, and another second to log me in. A spy tank won't bother with any of that either. It probably needs only one binary - its "tank control program", and can run that in place of /sbin/init.

Don't assume that "linux in an embedded computer" compares to "linux on a PC" - especially not linux bringing up bloated kde/gnome user interfaces and such. Linux can boot up and be ready in a second or two, when you do some customization. Such as building the kernel for that particular board, and ditching all the normal software you find on linux boxes.

My PC needs 10s from power-up to be ready for use. An embedded device will usually start much faster.

Re:Linux is slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42856615)

Also, according to your pics there is an 80MHz crystal on there - any modern day OS you threw on that loaded from some external storage cluster would take a while to load

I must be out of touch with electronics. We had 80MHz crystals in my day, but you couldn't load an OS onto one.

3D printed industrial robot arm (2)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about a year and a half ago | (#42849443)

I have yet to see a single 3D printed industrial robot arm anywhere. Actually it doesn't have to be printed, it just needs to meet user-picked mechanical requirements. You can calibrate software to compensate for your own inept assembly, which to me implies that simple hardware + advanced software = magic.

My use would be attaching a router to it and letting it carve stuff out of for example wood. E.g. this chainsaw-bot, [youtube.com] but less terrifying.

Re:3D printed industrial robot arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42849863)

Re:3D printed industrial robot arm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42853275)

Right, because cutting wood with a computer totally == 3D printing.

FCC ID lookup (1)

AJWM (19027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851127)

One of the pictures in TFA shows the FCC ID, ZRB792593. Checking the FCC's site for this (here: http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid/ [fcc.gov] ) turns up the device and a number of documents for it. Alas, the most interesting ones for hacking, namely the block diagram, the operational description and the schematics, are all "permanant confidential" and thus not accessible.

Still, there's some photos, RF test info, and the user manual (such as it is).

That FCC site is worth checking if you're trying to reverse engineer something, although the potentially most useful stuff is usually confidential.

Re:FCC ID lookup (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42851821)

The one detail(unsurprising; but not...exactly...made obvious in Brookstone's documentation or in their "Only @ Brookstone" branding) is that this little toy comes from our friends on the Pacific Rim at Guangzhou Fantasia Creation Toys Co. Ltd. [acctron.net.cn]

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