I would like to introduce a series of boards that might prove useful to those of you in the Arduino community. Pololu’s line of ATmega168-based Orangutan robot controllers have a great deal of overlap with Arduinos and can be programmed via ICSP using the current Arduino-0011 IDE. I’ve just put up an app note and a set of Arduino libraries that allow you to easily interface with all of the onboard hardware. The app note contains the documentation for these libraries and explains in detail how to make the Orangutan robot controllers compatible with the Arduino environment:
Here’s a brief overview of the two Orangutans:
The Orangutan LV-168 ties an ATmega168 microcontroller running off of a 20 MHz resonator to a removable 8x2 LCD with contrast control, a buzzer, three user push buttons, two user LEDs, a user trimmer potentiometer optionally jumpered to analog input 7, a temperature sensor optionally jumpered to analog input 6, and two discrete, low-voltage H-bridges capable of independently driving two brushed DC motors (2 A continuous per channel). The unit contains a step-up voltage regulator that allows it to run at full speed off of 2 to 5 V, meaning you can power the device with three NiMH cells or a single lithium-based cell. Digital pins 0 and 1, and analog inputs 0 - 5 are brought out to 0.1" female headers to allow for easy connecting of sensors and external hardware. Removing the LCD provides access to seven more digital I/O pins.
Price: $59.95 USD
The Baby Orangutan B-168 is code compatible with the LV-168 because the common hardware has the same AVR pin connections. By removing the LCD, buzzer, and push buttons, the Baby Orangutan fits an ATmega168 microcontroller, dual H-bridge, user trimmer potentiometer, user LED, power LED, 20 MHz resonator, and reverse battery protection into a tiny 24-pin DIP package, and a low-dropout voltage regulator allows it to operate from 5 - 13.5 V. The Baby Orangutan B can serve as the brains of a small robot, or as an auxiliary controller on a larger robot. It is the same size as the Arduino Mini, but it offers many more features than the Mini and operates over a much larger voltage range.
Price: $29.95 USD ($24.95 USD for the version with the ATmega48 microcontroller)