Even though Higher Order Innovation no longer considers itself an engineering design services firm, we are proud of the projects that we have worked on over the years. Here's a look at some of those projects:
When it comes to choosing a control system for your robot, there are many considerations and nearly infinite options available. How do you choose Arduino vs Raspberry Pi vs all the other possibilities?! We've broken it down into three simple steps.
1. Understand what features and functions you want a robotic control system to perform. Any system that is going to integrate into a robot needs at a minimum to respond to a wireless remote and to be able to drive the motors of the robot. For the purposes of this discussion, our robot will be assumed to be driven by standard 3-wire driven motors, similar to VEX robotics 3-wire motors or standard servo cabling.
2. Decide what types of sensors and remote control you want to use with your robot. If your team is familiar with the xBox style remote control, maybe you want to integrate that controller. Maybe using a Wiimote to drive the robot sounds like an interesting challenge and is a goal for the year.
3. Research options. There are many pros and cons to each of the options and it can be very important to do a little research before selecting a controller that will come up short or be unnecessarily complicated.
There are many different combinations that can be implemented successfully onto a competitive robot. Below are three options that could be used:
Option #1 - Raspberry Pi running Linux
A Raspberry Pi is a battery operated Single Board Computer (SBC) that most often runs a version of the Linux operating system. One of the biggest downsides of the RaspBerry Pi can be the boot up time, but in applications where the Computer can be powered up ahead of time, this effect can be minimized. The system running Linux is not the same as a dedicated microController in that the Linux board has many different processes going on at once, whereas the microController is more focused.
Option #2 - Arduino MicroController with USB Host Shield
This combination allows for a dedicated microController that can connect a remote to a bluetooth USB dongle. This setup is known to work with PS3, PS4, xBox, and Wiimotes.
Option #3 - Apollo MicroController with Bluetooth Remote Controller
The Apollo MicroController is based on the popular ESP-32 MicroController which has built in Bluetooth and Wifi capability. One configuration of this controller takes advantage of the Bluetooth to connect the Apollo to a mobile phone. The phone acts as a middleman to relay messages from the Bluetooth Remote to the robot.
Higher Order Innovation began with a doctoral student's dedication to make the art, creativity, and beauty of engineering accessible to a wider audience. Tom Frederick founded Higher Order Innovation, LLC, in 2013 while working on his graduate studies at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Higher Order Innovation began as an engineering design firm, providing engineering services throughout all phases of the product design and development process primarily in the eastern Nebraska region. Tom's interests in a wide array of disciplines has allowed him to gain valuable expertise in medical devices, robotics, agriculture, mechanical design, patent drafting, start-up businesses, product development, and academic research. This diversity of experience allows Higher Order Innovation to approach any project from a systems level, considering all aspects from early start-ups prototype development through full scale production.
One of our first clients was the CREATE Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding educational organizations, students, teachers and mentors in advancing the education of our youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Higher Order Innovation developed open source robotics tournament products for CREATE, allowing more schools and more students to participate in competitive robotics programs.
No project has been able to excite us as much as educational robotics.
In 2018, Higher Order Innovation decided to expand it's offerings into other educational robotics products, beyond the tournament hardware we had developed for the CREATE Foundation and in 2019 we have decided to focus solely on STEM education. Here are the products that we currently have available for purchase: