An e-puck is a small differential-wheeled robot. The openness of the design makes the e-puck especially interesting for academic use. The hardware and software is under an open source license which allows for modifictaion and redistribution of the design. Besides being cute, e-pucks offer a lot of sensory functions and allow us to do hands-on experiments on collaborative robot algorithms. So, although its cute appearence, the robot is quite capable and probably the first choice when you want to do cooperative/swarm robotics and you don’t want to build your own hardware.
This video shows a first test we did on the e-puck. The human hand also gives an impression of the small size of the e-puck.
In the second video, we show the implementation of a maze solver. To solve the task, different sensors of the e-puck (IR-Light Sensor, Distance Sensor, …) have been used. The robot follows the wall to the right until it finds its goal (a dark sector in the maze) – then the LEDs are blinking and it emits a sound. As you can see in the video, the simulation predicts very similar results.
However, you can also see that the e-puck is no sprinter. So if you think of applications like robot soccer, this is the wrong hardware (unless you like slow-motion view all the time).
Still, the openness of the hardware and the combination of many different sensors (including a simple camera) make the e-puck an interesting research plattform.