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Mobile sentry robot runs eCos

Sep 17, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Wowwee is readying a three-wheeled robot equipped with a video camera and onboard web server, and aimed at “sentry” applications. Wowwee's WiFi-enabled Rovio runs the open source eCos real-time operating system (RTOS) on a 200MHz ARM9 processor, according to coverage on DeviceGuru.

(Click for larger view of the Wowwee Rovio)

According to DeviceGuru, Rovio is built on a three-wheeled, omnidirectional base. The robot is reported guided by an IR (infrared)-based “TrueTrack” positioning system that relies on IR beacons distributed around the robot's patrol area. The robot apparently uses the beacons to find its way back to its battery-charging docking station when its two-hour battery runs low.

Designed to work with a WiFi network in a home, the Rovio is controlled by software running on a “PC or Mac,” says the story. The sophistication of its autonomous functions and remote-control capabilities are unclear, however.

Wowwee's Rovio

The Rovio uses a Dynamic DNS service to enable it to be accessed via the Web from anywhere in the world, says the story. The robot's head-mounted, 640 x 480-resolution video camera supports MPEG4 video, as well as audio and still shots, and the robot can reportedly email photos to designated addresses. The camera is said to be mounted on an extensible arm that can shoot from various heights. An LED headlight can be turned on to improve visibility.

According to DeviceGuru,, the Rovio is equipped with an ARM9 processor clocked at around 200MHz, with 8MB RAM and 2MB flash. It also offers a USB port, security features, and a speaker and microphone. The eCos OS provides a smaller footprint than Linux, making it more suitable for a wide range of lower-powered embedded systems with modest processing requirements.


The Wowwee Rovio is available for pre-order now for $300 at locations such as Hammacher Schlemmer, with shipments due by the end of the month. When the Rovio ships, this Wowwee placeholder page is likely to spring to life. The DeviceGuru story on the Rovio may be found here.

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