ROS Resources: Documentation | Support | Discussion Forum | Service Status | Q&A

Trinibot - a tiny desktop research robot based on ROS

Hi ROS Community,

I started a year and half ago building a ROS enabled tiny robot that costs a quarter of other equivalent robots and that has all the goodies for mobile robotics research right here on my desk.

Besides the usual interruptions and a ton of lessons learnt with low cost hardware, I’m proud to share my results with you, Trinibot V2.0!


Here’s what she has:

  • Quad core RPi3 running ROS Kinetic on Ubuntu Mate 16.04
  • Softkinetic DS525 Time of Flight - 0.15 to 1m @ 320x240 with a 720p RGB camera
  • Filtered IMU and magnetometer
  • Temperature and humidity sensors.
  • In-built 3.6Ah 12V rechargeable battery
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Additional USB port and DC 5V socket for peripherals
  • 8 channel 12 bit ADC for analog sensors
  • A joystick for some interaction
  • A 8x8 RGB panel to generate markers and bitmaps
  • Differential wheel rate control from 1 to 10cm/sec and 0.2 to 1.57 deg/sec with odometry
  • Two additional motors (open-loop) for a robot arm or other actuation
  • Can be ported to other robot differential wheel chassis with DC servos upto 12V 1A.
  • Develop and test while charging!

ROS functionality (so far)

  • Full TF tree
  • Sensor messages
  • GMapping
  • EKF localization

She runs for about 2 hrs with stops and constant sensor streams over wifi. I still need to redefine the covariances for the various sensors (and a lot of other tests of the entire stack).

The next steps are:
Navigation stack
Interactive functionality

Keen to hear thoughts, questions and critique that will make Trinibot awesome and community friendly!




Looks like the depth camera is no longer available. A comment on Amazon said Sony bought Softkinetic and took the cameras off the market. They may be only selling OEM units to include in commercial projects.

Indeed the DS525 went out of production last month! :frowning: I picked it up last year and it was a big disappointment because the camera was well made. In any case I have 4 spare so I’ll survive :+1:

I’m considering moving to a x86 board with USB3 at some point. Need to find a nice RGBD camera option.

This seems like a nice robot. I generally prefer larger bots, but as I’m now living in a motorhome I’m going to have to get used to smaller ones.

The description sounds like this would be useful. I would have added an external I2C port on the controller in order to connect to new low-level sensors without having to work through the USB port.

You were able to put a lot of robot into a small package.

I’ve been looking at RGBD cameras so was disappointed to see this one discontinued.

Thanks @DangerousThing, I do have an I2C port that can be exposed. Any specific sensors you have in mind? I can provide a data and mechanical interface to mount these sensors.

You’re welcome. I tend to buy odd sensors from Sparkfun or Adafruit.
Sparkfun has a “standard” that can be used for I2C sensors. However,
since most of the sensors that I use have their own quirks I mostly just
wire things myself. Most of them use either 5v or 3.3v. Adafruit is
usually better at supporting a wider range of voltages by putting
voltage regulation on the sensor boards.

I use these companies so that I can avoid having to deal with very small
surface-mount components and have access to some components that would
be difficult to get or use. Plus I’m better at software than hardware. :slight_smile: