project specification

Fable II

A robotic system which consists of self-contained modules equipped with sensors and actuators, which users can use to easily assemble a wide range of robots in a matter of seconds. The robots are user-programmable on several levels of abstraction ranging from a simple visual programming language to powerful conventional ones. The Fable system has active and passive modules. The active modules have a set of electronic boards with a micro-controller, onboard power, and a radio device for wireless communication with a PC. These modules provide functionalities through actuation and sensing.

Specifications

Boards
Module Board11.1 V
1000 mAh LiPo battery
Dongle Board5 v USB powered
Arduino Pro MiniAVR Atmega328, 3.3v, 8MHz
Radio Board NRF24L01+,2.4GHz, 2MBit, SPI interface

Overview

The robots are user-programmable on several levels of abstraction ranging from a simple visual programming language to powerful conventional ones. 

The Fable system has active and passive modules. The active modules have a set of electronic boards with a micro-controller, onboard power, and a radio device for wireless communication with a PC. These modules provide functionalities through actuation and sensing. 

Mechanical design

Passive modules consist of a variety of shapes made out of empty plastic shells. The passive modules help give the robot structure shape.

The connectors are genderless and four way redundant, allowing users to explore multiple connection possibilities between modules. Each connector has at least one ring of magnets that attaches to a matching set on the connecting end. The connector uses a set  of flanges that lock the modules allowing the  user to disconnect them by pulling them apart.  

Electronics

The system has a set of custom electronic boards, combined with commercially available boards  which enables a modular electronic configuration. This enables to create different active modules by mixing electronics boards in novel configurations.

System architecture

Fable has a low lag radio communication link to the modules, the user can program the distributed robots as if it was centralized and  connected directly to a PC. The user PC is serially connected to a dongle that provides a shared 2 Mbit radio communication link between the user controlled application and the modules. Modules are addressed using an ID  and their module type.

References

Describes related work. It continues by presenting the design of Fable, thatis: mechanics, electronics and software. Further in the paper exemplifies how robots can be assembled in seconds, programmed with Blockly and Python, and evaluates Fable as an educational platform based on programming sess

M. Pacheco, R. Fogh, H. Lund, et al. - 2015.

Describes the concept behind Fable. It continues by presenting the design of Fable, that is: mechanics, electronics and software. Further in the paper exemplifies how robots are assembled and programmed.

M. Pacheco, R. Fogh, H. Lund, et al. - 2014.

Describes the mechanical design and summarizes the electronic design of the Fable system. The software architecture is described. Describes a user test with the connector design as well as tests with moving and interactive robots.

Moises Pacheco, Mikael Moghadam, Arnþór Magnússon, et al. 2013

Describes related work, the Fable system is described and the software architecture for smart sensor modules is described. Describes tests performed to study the system performance and the use of the system in an educational and a playful context.

Moises Pacheco, Mikael Moghadam, Arnþór Magnússon, et al. 2013

Wevolver 2022