bStem

Frequently Asked Questions

   

bStem™ FAQ

 

What is the bStem Platform?

 

bStem™ is a small biologically inspired board with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4-Pro processor designed to serve as advanced brain for robots. bStem has a wide array of sensors, synchronized stereo cameras, and programmable logic with a full desktop Ubuntu Linux distribution.

 

For further specifications click here.
For bStem developers, access the bStem wiki here.

 

Please note: the wiki link above will lead to a 404 error if you are not logged in to our wiki with BC developer access. For access you will need an active wiki account and developer access provided by Brain Corporation. Developer access to our wiki will be given when your developer kit is shipped out.

 

What expansion boards are offered?

adCord

adCord is designed for wheeled platforms where precise DC motor control with quadrature feedback is required. It also provides 8 RC servo outputs.
For further specifications, click here.

lgCord

lgCord is designed to completely replace lego’s NXT or EV3 controller, driving up to 6 motors and reading from 2 or more sensors (with multiplexing).
For further specifications, click here.

rcCord

rcCord is designed to control traditional RC vehicles, like RC cars, planes and quadcopters. rcCord can read signals coming from RC receiver units and can output RC servo pulses.
For further specifications, click here.

General

How do I get bStem developer access or a dev kit?

First you would need to sign up for a dev kit in the footer below. Once selected we will contact you via email.

How much does bStem cost?

We are currently seeding initial units. If you are interested in purchasing a final unit, please sign up in the footer below.

Can I connect a mouse and keyboard?

Yes, bStem is a full function computer and a mouse and keyboard can be connected through USB.

Is there a real time clock?

Yes, bStem comes with a real time clock and an onboard battery backup.

Does it come with a case?

Yes bStem comes with a general case that allows access to all the connectors. However, we anticipate you will want to build custom mounts for your application.

What are the display options from bStem?

bStem comes with mini-HDMI port, and output full HD resolution of 1920×1080.

Interfacing with bStem

What are my options for accessing Ubuntu environment on the bStem?

  1. Plug directly into a HDMI monitor and connect a USB keyboard and mouse. Since bStem is a fully-functional computer out of the box, you can connect it to an existing wireless network or configure it to create its own network.
  2. Once you have bStem configured for your network, you can remote login via secure shell, VNC, or any other network protocol.

How can I access the built-in functionality of the bStem board?

All of the sensors and motor controls are accessed via the Python programming language. Python is a dynamic programming language with clear, readable syntax. It offers an interactive environment, object orientation, and lets you work more quickly, integrate your algorithms and designs more effectively in a robotic platform. We are providing a full-featured Python API for developing advanced robotic controllers. We have taken care of all the hardware timing and drivers so you can get your project working faster. The Python environment can be accessed directly from the Ubuntu desktop on the bStem board or via remote connection.

What are the power requirements of the bStem?

The bStem board supports three types of power inputs: a standard cell-phone 3.7V lithium ion battery, a regulated 5V DC supply (provided with the developer kit), and an unregulated 7-24V battery input. During normal operations, bStem consumes about 2W of power.

Software

What software environment do I use with bStem?

bStem runs a full Ubuntu OS with a Python API to access the hardware. Standard C/C++ interfaces to hardware are also supported.

Do you have a real-time operating system?

Yes, we have enabled the RT PREEMPT patch in the Linux kernel, enabling you to have microsecond timing resolution in applications.

Where do I find sample code?

During beta, you will need a bStem wiki account. Email us at devsupport(at)braincorporation.com to gain access to our wiki repositories. An email link will be sent to you for access. For bStem developers, access the bStem wiki here

How do I add software to my bStem?

bStem ships with Ubuntu with our repository added. Use the standard apt-get and other Linux package installers to install and download your favorite software packages.

Does the bStem offer 3D support?

On the display side, bStem has a powerful Adreno320 GPU on board. We are working to provide open-source Linux drivers to make use of the GPU.

On the camera side, we have full stereo mode camera support, capable of recording 1280×720 at 30fps from both cameras.

Does it support ROS?

Yes, ROS will run on bStem.

Can I run my neural models on bStem?

Yes. Since bStem is based on Ubuntu Linux, many open-source neural simulators will work on board. For example, we have tested BRIAN spiking neural network simulator on bStem. Since BRIAN is also Python-based, we can connect a neural network to our onboard sensors and actuators easily within the same environment. We will be deploying our own tools and networks optimized for bStem in future software releases.