Technical University of Vienna Creates Blackfin®-based Soccer Playing Robot

DSP University: Technology Investments in Future Engineers
Analog Devices believes in making an investment in the future starting with programs which help to educate tomorrow's engineers as they enter the technology arena. That is the foundation for DSP University. The primary goal of the Analog Devices DSP University Program is to promote Digital Signal Processing education and research at engineering institutes. As a part of this program, ADI recently sponsored The Technical University of Vienna at the robot-soccer world championship. Here a young engineering team introduced the world's smallest, complete soccer playing robot with an embedded digital video camera. This, they believe, will serve as a test platform for developing autonomic robots in the industry.

The Heart of the Vision System: ADSP-BF533 Blackfin® for Image Processing
The Tinyphoon robot was created using nine different Analog components with the ADSP-BF533-EZlite as the core of the vision system. One of the major design issues the team faced was power dissipation and size. The Tinyphoon robot is battery powered. The image processing, with two on-board digital cameras, was expected to be power hungry and the anticipated need for a cooling device would have meant increasing the size beyond the goals of the project. With the Blackfin® processor, consumption was less than 100mW. With no cooling imperative, the small size requirements were met and battery life increased. The team found that the BF533 delivered the highest performance at the smallest size.

Expertise for Future Robot Designers: Faster, Smaller, Better, Less Expensive
"Before the Blackfin®, there was no such processor available on the market which would have met our requirements," explains Gregor Novak, research group leader. "Using the ADSP-BF533 programmable micro-architecture, in combination with the excellent support we received made it possible to build the first image processing software two weeks after software installation. We were able to finalize the project within a few months." The Technical University of Vienna engineering team who created the Tinyphoon currently offer their resources and expertise to the industry to promote the development of autonomic robots that can be brought to market faster, better and at a lower production cost. "We envision the use of ADI embedded processors like the Blackfin® for media enabled appliances designed to make life easier. We believe the market potential to be immense and to include future products like robotic vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, rescue machines, cleaning devices and even and ironing robots."

Press Quote for Tinyphoon and BF533
The Corporation for Control and Automation Technology recently introduced the Tinyphoon robot at a press conference in which presenters cited Analog Devices as the leader in signal processing. "Throw away the ATMEL on your robot, and use the ADSP-BF533." remarked D.I. Mahlknecht speaking to D.I. Tappeiner, designer of the smallest six leg robot (NANO). "You'll get 10X the computation power at 1/3 the power consumption."

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