Welcome to Pandora's Box(Why)

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Fork me on GitHub

Review of BeagleBone Robotic Projects - From a Technical Perspective

| Comments

I’m lucky to be a reviewer for the book Beaglebone Robotic Projects few months ago released by PACKT. And I’d like to recommend this book to readers who would like to play with Beagle for a while and start their own robotic projects. Below I’ll talk a little bit about this book from a technical perspective.

First of all, here is the cover of BeagleBone Robotic Projects:

What you will learn from this book

What is BeagleBone Black

As a mini PC or something, it is compared to Raspberry Pi sometimes. Some people would play with them as toys, some would like to do some amazing projects. It is a typical representative of open source hardware! And it runs the incredible Linux. Chapter 1 will guide you through to get your BeagleBone to work with a fully functioning desktop.

Talk with BeagleBone Black through programming

To be able to get started with BeagleBone and do what you want, some background in Linux, Python and Programming will be required. The 2nd chapter of the book will show you the basic Linux commands, brief tutorial for Python, etc.

Simple speech recognition and make the robot speak

Chapter 3 shows us how to make your robot speak as a robot utilizing eSpeak and how to do simple speech recognition using PocketSphnix. Also to test the USB sound device, we use AlsaMixer built upon ALSA libraries.

Use camera as the Robot’s eyes

In chapter 4, the book first shows how to connect a USB camera to BeagleBone and viewing the images with GUVCViewer. After that is guide for installing a full-featured vision library – OpenCV. Then is a demo for detecting colored objects using OpenCV.

Make it run by using Servos and Motors

Chapter 5 will tell you how to make a wheeled robot and chapter 6 will show how a legged robot is made. The instructions for hooking up the wires and demos for controlling the servos and motors would definitely help a lot.

Sense the environment to make some intelligence

For avoiding obstables, we use a USB sonar sensor in chapter 7, or people will call it ultrasonic sensor. And for letting your robot know where it is, the book shows how to use a GPS module in chapter 9.

Remote control for more fun

Chapter 8 shows how to hook up a LCD display to your BeagleBone and control your robot with a 2.4GHz Keyboard. Just imagine how it would be fun to see your robot running around whereas you just sitting there.

Impossible is nothing

Want something more? Chapter 10 will teach you how to integrate all the parts and skills covered in previous chapters to make a whole system. For more fun, chapter 11 is a good starting point. Want a sailing robot, flying robot or a submarine robot? This chapter will help a lot.


For the highlights of the book, I want to say that it covers a lot for a typical embedded system and will be very helpful tutorials for hobbiests to get started with their robotic projects. Not only hardware, but also open source software are widely used, instructions are clear and easy to read. To summarize,

  • You will know basic Linux through this book
  • Python will be your handy programming language for doing robotic projects
  • Getting to know various useful software packages(eSpeak, PocketSphinx, OpenCV, GUVCViewer, etc)
  • Know the actuators for typical robots(servos and motors)
  • Have a basic understanding of sensors(ultrasonic, camera, GPS, etc)
  • Good starting point to make something big(multicopter maybe)

In a word, you may as well give the book a try and hope it can help:–)