Thousands of TurtleBots are out in the world right now, providing a straightforward and affordable way to get started with ROS. They’re portable and extendable, allowing you (with a limited amount of inconvenience) to modify the robot to keep up with your needs.
At ROSCon 2016 in South Korea, the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and South Korean robot maker ROBOTIS announced a shiny new version of TurtleBot: TurtleBot 3. TB3 is small enough to fit into a backpack, and with a single-board computer instead of a netbook and just two Dynamixel motors driving a pair of wheels, it’s both simpler than previous TurtleBots and significantly cheaper. With tons of easy options for expandability (including sensors, computers, drive systems, and more) and the kind of software support that TurtleBots are known for, TB3 seems like the best intro to doing cool stuff with ROS yet.
TurtleBot 3’s hardware is based around layered, 3D-printed plates that fit together like puzzle pieces. Or really, it’s just one plate that fits together with itself, and to make the robot bigger, you just get more plates and screw them together. The base version will include two rubber wheels driven by Dynamixel X series motors plus two casters, but if you want to upgrade to an awesome pair of tracks to turn your TB3 into a little all-terrain tank, it’s as easy as printing out two more wheel hubs, swapping some plates around, and adding a pair of servos and the tracks.
TB3 also uses a custom controller board developed by ROBOTIS. It’s completely open source, meaning that you can really get into the guts of the hardware and interfaces later, if that’s your thing:
According to ROBOTIS, the TB3 will start at around $500 when it becomes available next year, although they’re still trying to decide on the final specs and pricing model, and fancier versions (say, with an Intel Joule board and RealSense camera) could run you up to $1000.
Meet TurtleBot3 :