OpenROV Support? Using the pyra to control a submarine drone.

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Liariv, May 18, 2016.

  1. Liariv

    Liariv Newbie

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    Hi, I have been following the Pyra for over a year now, I am very excited for it. I was an early Pre-preorder and I have also pre ordered mine.

    What I want to ask though, is if the Pyra will be able to support an OpenROV Trident drone.

    http://www.openrov.com/products/1-trident.html

    It is an underwater drone with gamepad and live video support, and I thought it would be really cool to control it with the Pyra, they are both slated to be released around the same time, too. Judging by the specs the Pyra seems to have all the necessary ports, and all the software is open source and seems to work with linux already, so I thought I would ask here to see if anyone who knows more than me would know if it would work out of the box or if new software would need to be written to allow the Pyra to control the OpenROV Trident.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. sulu

    sulu Guest

    I think in principle it might work.

    According to the project's website you'll need an ethernet connection (wired, not wifi) between your computer and the submarine's relay station. The Pyra has no RJ-45 port for that. There are USB adapters for that which should work, but in special cases you never know.
    You'll also need a USB connection to the relay station, mainly for power reasons it seems. This should also work, but if it actually will, depends on the amount of power the station demands and the Pyra can deliver via USB. I'd be optimistic.

    On the software side there seems to be nothing special as far as the controls are concerned. The brain of the submarine is a Beaglebone Black, which likely runs on a Linux-based image, but that doesn't matter. The controls seem to be implemented via a web interface, which is accessed via a web browser. Depending on which technology is used here that would work in principle with the Pyra out of the box or not at all. There's not really much in between. Flash and Silverlight would be bad, everything else should be fine afaik. They only mention the Google Chrome browser, which supports the "bad stuff" out of the box, but Chrome is not really an option on the Pyra.
    I say "in principle" because I don't know if the Pyra could handle the FullHD webcam stream coming from the camera, and because the controls might not be as nice as they could be, depending on whether the interface let's you configure the nubs (essentially a mouse) as controls. I guess the d-pad should work as a fallback in any case.


    bottom line, i'd try to get answers to the following questions:
    @OpenROV:
    1. Has anybody ever tried if a USB/RJ-45 adapter works?
    2. What's the power requirement via the USB connection?
    3. Which technology is the web interface based on?
    4. Can the video resolution be changed?
    5. Can the submarine be controlled via a mouse?

    @Pyra:
    1. What's the maximum power output it can deliver safely via USB?
    2. Can the Pyra decode a 1080p video stream (most likely h264) coming via a website in real time?
     
  3. Liariv

    Liariv Newbie

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  4. carlberry

    carlberry Member

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    Not specifically that drone but you might have better joy from ROS (http://wiki.ros.org) for drones, robots etc in general, it's targeted at Ubuntu out of the box but I know there have been efforts in the community to get it running on Debian.
     
  5. sulu

    sulu Guest

    I know too little about game controllers and the Pyra to answer that.
    However, I guess that gamepads are essentially handled like joysticks in Linux and that the Pyra's nubs are not special in that regard. In that case it only depends on whether/how the web interface can handle the inputs of analogue input devices.
     
  6. dTal

    dTal Still Fresh

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    I'm gonna come out and be a tad more optimistic than sulu and say yes, there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't work. Browsing their GitHub, the interface technology seems to rely entirely on HTML5 and Node.js, and they've even included Debian packaging scripts. I would assume that the Pyra's nubs show up as a standard analog game controller configured to work as a mouse in X11 (this is quite easily done with the relevant evdev module), rather than a mouse that requires separate configuration in every program - after all, it's supposed to be a gaming device. Making the nubs *not* work as a mouse while preserving touchscreen functionality should be as simple as unloading that module. So this should simply work. Even if they've only tested it on Chrome, chromium is available in Debian's ARM repository.

    As for cabling, the Pyra is fully conformant to the USB spec - nothing compliant should present an issue (no funny power restrictions or anything like that) so both the LAN adapter and the base station power should work fine. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to have a dog's breakfast of wires dangling out of the back anyway, and I'd probably want to spare the Pyra's internal battery, so instead I would go for a standalone power bank and a cheap wifi bridge such as one of these: http://www.banggood.com/M1-Portable...2_11bgn-150Mbps-RJ45-USB-Router-p-944487.html

    The Pyra is already confirmed to do HD video decoding in real time, so HD streaming ought to work.
     
  7. sulu

    sulu Guest

    html5/node.js should indeed cause no trouble.
    Just fort the record: Chromium is currently not available for Debian's arm architectures.

    The ROS packages are already available in Debian Testing and Unstable:
    https://packages.debian.org/search?suite=all&searchon=names&keywords=ros

    Given that most of it seems to be python-based I'd expect it to run on Stable too*, or at least that creating backports shouldn't be too hard.


    *) disclaimer:
    Mixing packages of different Debian releases is usually a very bad idea. Don't even try, unless you know what you're doing!
     
  8. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    Well I got it working on debian without issues, just installed the ubuntu armhf packages.
     
  9. sulu

    sulu Guest

    Which technically constitutes a release mix. So it might work or it might not.
    If it works, it's totally up to you to take care for security patches, which kind of defies the point of using software repositories. And it might break at any upgrade, because the Debian and Ubuntu repos are not in sync.
     
  10. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    Yeah I'm not suggesting that it would the best solution.

    EDIT: We'll most likely have chromium in the DBP repository, which will be community updated at least.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  11. sulu

    sulu Guest

    Well, the answers in the openrov forum sound promising.

    Maybe it would be a good idea in general to check out how well the Pyra/Pandora works as an RC controller (*copter drones come to mind). It might create synergies that boost the Pyra's sales volume.
     
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  12. ___

    ___ Advanced Member

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    another use that I didn't think of, yet. pandora is probably not beefy enough to get decent video streaming going, but pyra will be perfect!

    regarding usb to ethernet: I am sure those adapters already work on the prototypes and testing hardware as devs need a stable wired connection to get things set up and to work on the device. So ethernet over usb is probably one of the first things they got working.
     
  13. sulu

    sulu Guest

    I'm pretty sure, the Pandora isn't powerful enough for that. My Nokia N900 isn't, even overclocked to almost 1GHz.
    I mentioned it mostly as a testbed for the controls until Pyras are actually shipped, because I believe the chances are higher that some random community member owns a Pandora and an RC vehicle, rather than ED or some prototype owner has one.

    I'm not worried about the Pyra being compatible with USB adapters, I'm mainly concerned with the adapter itself, because I've seen the funniest things happen when trying to encapsulate other protocols in USB.
    But according to the openrov thread it doesn't seem to be a problem. With an ethernet/wifi adapter they suggested an even better alternative. In case the USB connection is only required to power the relay station, some powerbank might suffice and there wouldn't have to be any wired connection between the Pyra and the relay station.
     
  14. ___

    ___ Advanced Member

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    there is a guy on the german boards who is an avid UAV enthusiast and he owns several pandoras. he is registered on these boards as well, so you might want to pm him. his nick is infinity
    I am sure he will have experimented with this before, just to see what's possible.


    btw:
    I think the nubs will be available as analog joystick devices, it was the same on pandora. also they are supposedly a lot better then the pandoras nubs (I wouldn't want to steer an expensive UAV with those...)
     

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