The RobotBASIC Robot Operating System (RROS)

Scroll past the product descriptions for a summary of the  RROS specifications and/or to download the full RROS manual.

Our RROS chip make it easy for hobbyists to build a robot with a full range of sensors. Download the RROS manual for complete information. Note: A printed version of the RROS Users' Guide is available from us or The parts on this page are provided to help hobbyists build a wide variety of RobotBASIC compatible Robots. Building a RROS-based robot is far easier than doing everything from scratch, but it still requires significant skills. A COMPLETE, FULLY-ASSEMBLED and TESTED robot is available for schools on our EDUCATIONAL page.

Hobbyists can build their own low-cost chassis or use our RB-9. Here is a link to a YouTube video of the RB-9 chassis in action. The video also discusses the new RB-PCB and a short program showing how easy it is to build and control a robot with our RROS system. This is a video discussing the RROS chip itself and how we used it in some of our prototypes

The RB-9 chassis kit includes top/bottom plates, two motors with integrated wheel encoders, all mounting brackets and standoffs, two wheels and the rear caster and is priced at $99.95 (motors and wheel encoders alone could cost you almost this much). Normally we offer a flat shipping (USA) on all orders of $4.99. If your order includes a chassis though, the flat shipping rate will be $20 in the states (typically $50 outside the USA). You can see pictures of the chassis below.

Note: The RROS never becomes out-dated. If, in the future, we add new features or support for additional sensors, you can return the chip to us and have it updated without charge. Early versions did have some minor bugs in some obscure modes, and we have added several performance enhancements so if you have a problem contact us about updates.

RROS Manual
Adobe Acrobat document [7.8 MB]

Product Descriptions

Here are a few propriatory or hard to find parts to help hobbyists get started. Remember, the RROS system allows you to choose from a WIDE VARIETY of sensors and/or motors. You will also need many parts, cables, and a battery and charger that we do NOT supply with our kits for hobbyists. Everything is supplied with our Fully-Assembled Educational Robot, but we want to keep prices as low as possible for hobbyists that often already have parts on hand and know how to choose what they need from the many options available to them.

RROS Chips are $59.95 (or 2 for $99) – remember the chip provides both the hardware AND the software interface.

We also have both RED and BLUE (see the manual) Beacon Chips available. They are $12 each or $10 each for 4 or more. 

The Bluetooth transceivers we used for all our prototypes are available for $34.95.

We import these SR04 sonic rangers as a low-cost alternative to Ping and Maxbotic ultrasonic sensors. Their operation is similar but with a different interface. The current version of the RROS supports using five of these as perimeter sensors. We offer a package of five (including 5 hoods as shown in the picture below) for $34.95. See the RROS manual for complete details on using these sensors or any of the many other IR and ultrasonic sensors that are compatible with the RROS system.

Note: We now have the HMC5883 compass complete with a cable to connect it to the RROS board. All 2015 or later RROS chips are compatible. Older chips can be reprogrammed by us to obtain compatibility. The compass is $29.95.

The RB-9 kit allows you to build a chassis that is made from laser-cut acrylic and designed to work with the RB-PCB as shown here (the RB-PCB is NOT included with the kit, order it separately, see below). The PCB fits between the two plates so that the top can be used for a robot arm or additional sensors or processors (holes are provided for Arduino and Parallax BOE PCB's). Appendix E of the RROS manual (download below) has complete instructions for assembling the chassis (please read before ordering). The motors have integrated wheel encoders that plug directly into the RB-PCB. The chassis kit is priced at $99.95.

Our new RROS based PC board makes it easy to incorporate our RROS chip into your projects. The board supports most of the sensory modes and a wide variety of sensor types (ultrasonic, IR, digital, analog, etc). See Appendix D in the RROS Manual for more details on building this board. The board is shown here with the some of the optional parts (see LIST - note, this kit does NOT include parts such as the compass, battery or line sensors). The board is $15.95 and the optional parts are $24.95. Note: The voltage regulator shipped with the parts kit officially should be used with a battery supply of 7 volts or higher, although it has worked fine for us with 4.5 AH, 6 volt gel cells (which produce slightly higher than 6 volts). If you are using small batteries at less than 7 volts (4 standard AA cells for example) you will have problems when they begin to deplete. In such cases, we recommend a low-dropout regulator. We can substitue one in the parts kit for $3 more for those that need it. To make it easy to create an appropriate supply voltage we offer two AA battery holder options. The 6-cell holder is $4.95 and single cell holders are $1.50 each. If you use rechargable AA cells, remember they only provide about 1.2 volts compared to the 1.5 volts of standard cells so you will need more batteries to keep the supply voltage between 7 and 12 volts.


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Parts List for RROS PCB
Adobe Acrobat document [3.0 KB]
RROS Manual
Adobe Acrobat document [7.8 MB]

Don't forget we have a wide selection of helpful books available from Amazon. Use this LINK to see them all at Amazon. Detailed descriptions and sample chapters are also available through various pages here at RobotBASIC.  Most of these books are available directly from us with quantity discounts. 




Populated PCB

Our printed circuit board (see above) makes it even easier to build a RobotBASIC compatible robot. Just add your choice of compatible sensors, our Bluetooth transciever, and a RROS chip and the electronics for your robot is complete. Nearly all of the motor and sensor modes are supported (download the complete manual below, for more details).


Why a RROS?

In order to intelligently handle a wide variety of generic tasks, a robot’s hardware configuration must include a diverse selection of sensors and I/O capabilities. In the past, building such a robot has been a daunting task reserved for only those with significant knowledge and skill of both electronics and low-level microcontroller programming.

Now for the price of an interface board alone, hobbyists can have a complete hardware/software solution in the form of a 24-pin IC preprogrammed with the RobotBASIC Robot Operating System (RROS).

The RROS not only provides the physical interface needed for many motors and sensors, it also provides the software required to seamlessly interface with all supported devices using the high-level RobotBASIC simulator-based commands and functions. This means that the RROS not only makes it easier than ever before to build a robot, it makes it easier to program one too.

Imagine being able to simply connect a compass to the RROS chip and then immediately determine your robot's orientation with a single programming command such as ANGLE = rCompass(), without ANY low-level programming. Imagine connecting infrared or ultrasonic sensors directly to the RROS chip to create a Virtual Sensor System capable of determining where obstacles are that might block your robots path.

Controlling your robot's motors is just as easy as acquiring its sensory information.

When commands like rForward and rTurn are used, your robot won’t just respond, it will respond intelligently, automatically ramping up and down when speeds are changed, using compass readings and wheel encoder counts when possible and appropriate.

And these examples don’t begin to describe the power of the RROS. Read the complete RROS User's Manual in this PDF and you will discover the real power.... of simplicity. If you do not have time to read the entire manual (over 200 pages) below is a summary of what to expect.

This YouTube VIDEO shows some of our EARLY prototypes in action.


You can connect many devices to the RROS IC as follows:

Some form of Radio Link (such as Bluetooth) or a direct serial link from a PC (if your robot uses an embedded PC on board).

Your motors. The chip will directly drive DC motors up to a max of 1 amp each or continuous rotation servo motors without external support. For bigger motors, the chip will interface with and control a RoboClaw board allowing control of large (up to 30 amp) motors. The system will automatically slowly increase and decrease the robot’s speed as it starts and stops to prevent jerky motion. As with other aspects of the system all controlling parameters can be set from RobotBASIC using the rCommand() function.

Some form of wheel counters (single pulse only – full quadrature control is NOT needed). The wheel counters (when present) automatically allow the robot to move specified distances and rotations more accurately than an open-loop timed response. If wheel counters are not present, there are commands that allow the user to fine-tune the timing loops used to control movements. The timming approach works far better than you might expect, as long as most of the Robot’s movements are adjusted based on other sensory data. Full control of your robot’s movements is provided through simulator commands such as rForward and rTurn – all the details are handled by the RROS. Additional commands allow you to fine-tune and modify the movements to increase your robot’s capabilities.

Perimeter sensors are translated into appropriate rBumper() and rFeel() signals. You may use a wide variety of sensors including, digital IR devices such as Pololu’s Sharp GP2Y0D810 or GP2Y0D805. A more advanced technique is to use analog style sensors so that a VIRTUAL sensory system can be AUTOMATICALLY created for you. The VIRTUAL system utilizes perimeter ranges sensors to create the data for rRange(), rFeel(), and rBumber(). You can use Ranging IR sensors such as Pololu’s Sharp GP2Y0A21 or GP2Y0A02, or ultrasonic rangers such as the Maxbotix Sonar Sensors or even Parallax’s PING sensors. Special setup commands allow you to tell the RROS what motors and sensors you are using. In all cases, the data will be collected and translated for use through the RobotBASIC simulator commands. All of the above sensors are supported even beyond typical expectations. For example, when six PING sensors are used for perimeter sensing, they can be read simultaneously using a special algorithm – providing superior sensory performance. Great care was taken to support a wide variety of sensors from various manufacturers – ideally you can build a robot YOUR way and yet all the details are done for you.

Three digital line sensors are supported by the main IC chip. Digital in this case simply means the sensor supplies a logical 1 or 0 as its output. This is true for the Pololu line sensors that are called "analog" sensors. Their "digital" line sensors use a digital port pin, but actually create an analog result based on the time for a capacitor to discharge, and are NOT compatible.

A beacon detector such as Pololu’s Vishay TSOP34156 can be used to detect 15 different beacons as described in some of our books.The RROS IC automatically translates all signals so they can be used through the rBeacon() function. We even offer preprogrammed beacon chips for building your own beacons.

A servo-turret mounted ranging sensor is fully supported when digital perimeter sensing is utilized. It is NOT needed though when VIRTUAL sensors are created from ranging sensors (see #4 above). When ranging sensors are used, the system automatically extracts both rRange() information and proximity information from the perimeter sensors themselves.

One electronic compass (both the HMC6352 compass module or the HMC5883 are currently supported.

Many other features are present in the RROS. We think advanced hobbyists will find it very versatile. It will, for example, allow you to connect one or more microcontrollers (such as the Parallax Stamp, arduino processors, or the Pololu Orangutan controllers) to a special serial bus. These controllers can provide camera or GPS data or handle any custom sensory system you wish. The RROS documentation provides all the details you need to handle normal operations or to customize your system to meet advanced needs. We encourage companies that distribute advanced sensors to offer RROS compatible versions and we will certainly work with vendors to ensure that RobotBASIC users will have access to a wide variety of options.

The RROS can even be used with steerable robots such as those available from Minds-i (some restrictions apply). Four wheel robots are very stable in outdoor environments and have advantages over 2-wheel robots in some applications. (Two-wheeled bots like our simulator are much better for the home/office environment).

The RROS chip has a dual personality. When two RROS chips are used together, one of the chips can turn itself into an Arm Expansion that allows RobotBASIC to control 5 servomotors (for shoulder, elbow, wrist, wrist rotate, and hand open/close) over the standard communication link. The Arm Expansion also provides the ability to acquire additional analog and digital data so that your arm can have appropriate sensory information (example: pressure at the gripper's fingertips, determining if something is in the hand, etc).


RROS User Manual
Adobe Acrobat document [7.8 MB]
RROS sample programs
Compressed archive in ZIP format [12.0 KB]


Below are several examples of commercial chassis that can be used with our RROS PCB. First is an early prototype of our RB-9 chassis (RobotBASIC, 9 inch diameter). It is shown here with a simple robot arm featured in an article published in Servo Magazine.

The motors have integrated wheel encoders making open loop movements reasonably accurate. The rods in the back on this prototype are replaced with spacers in the final version. Many holes are provided in the top plate for mounting Parallax's BOE boards, Arduino Boards, other sensors, etc. There is even a hole for a power switch (one more convenient than the PCB switch).
Dagu's Magician chassis provides one of the least expensive ways of building a RROS-based robot. It is shown above with digital sensors. We mounted the batteries on the TOP plate instead of between them as Dagu suggests (their method requires major disassembly to change the batteries). While this chassis offers a wheel encoder option (at extra cost), the resolution is so low it is probably better to just use the RROS's open-loop options. Remember, most movements should be performed using the sensors anyway. The above picture shows the chassis built based on Dagu's instructions. The photo below shows what we think is a better approach. Even though these pictures show the standard 4-cell battery holder that comes with the Magician chassis, we recommend either using our 6-cell holder to increase the voltage to about 9 volts for standard cells. If you are using rechargable cells, we recommend using 7 or even 8 batteries to give you a proper power supply. As mentioned earlier, a 6 volt 4.5 AH gell (as shown on the RB-9 and Rover 5 chassis) also seems to work fine when well charged.
In the above photo, the bottom plate of the Magician chassis is turned upside down. We had to add our own spacers to do this but we think the result is worth it for two reasons. First, there is now enough space between the sensors to mount a ranging sensor with a servomotor controlled turret (which are controlled through the RROS). Such a mounting does not interfere with the perimeter sensors or the PCB-mounted Beacon detector. Second, because the bottom plate is now much closer to the ground, it is easier to mount line sensors.

Our RROS-based PCB also mounts on the Dagu's Rover 5 chassis which provides options for those wanting a tank-style robot (often better for outdoor use). Notice the wood strip to the right of the battery. It makes everything fit snug and creates a finished look and feel.


With these commercially available platforms, the RobotBASIC RROS will become even easier to use. We will be making available #includable libraries for each of the above chassis so that the setup for your robot will be automatic and painless. We have also begun work on a step-by-step instruction guide for schools that will provide numerous experiments for both simulation and hardware-based robots at ALL grade levels.

The following program shows how simple it is to control a RROS-based robot (in this case, our RB-9).

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