A New Sponsor - A New Goal

Genesi became an official sponsor this week because of their hardware donation.

As you could see on our sponsorpage, we have added one over the past day or so. Genesi, as said on their website: "Genesi designs, develops and produces CHRP/IEEE 1275 based computing products that bring Power Architecture™ technology, flexibility, and efficiency to the desktop, home entertainment, netcom, low-end server and pervasive market segments at an affordable price."

What we have now is EFIKA:


- 118mm x 153mm x 38mm
- Freescale MPC5200B PowerPC
- MPC603e PowerPC core
- Double Precision Floating Point Unit
- 32MB to 512MB 266MHz DDR RAM
- 44-pin IDE connector
- 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet
- 2x USB ports
- Stereo Audio

Imagine our future Robots powered by this :-)

Not only that, but we wanted to have a Robot data aquisition system, to monitor and display battery level, temperature, etc. from our robots on a remote display. Now we can: all we need to do is add a TFT display to this and write some software.

But thats not all. We were in need of a more powerful system to run the strategy server onto. Well, now we have. A SUN T1000 server. Thank you Genesi.

This hardware is not just for the Robotics team however. The goal will be to develop a semi-mobile laboratory to support courses at the University as well as the University of Applied Sciences such as: 

- Parallel and Distributed Computing Systems
- High Performance Computing and Networking Architectures
- Computer Architectures
- (Real Time) Operating Systems
- Telecommunications Architectures and Software
- High Level Hardware Design Automation
- Embedded (Networking) Systems
- Intelligent Computing Systems and Robotics

The mobile part comes in handy when several different teachers use the same equipment in several institutes. Instead of dedicating a room (which is not always possible due to limited space), a standard PC room will suffice (hence semi-mobile, as regular PC's in a classroom are still a requirement).

The lab should fit in a re-enforced suitcase without much trouble. The EFIKA PowerPC board is an ideal component in this set-up due to its small size, limited power requirements and versatile field of application. The EFIKA boards are connected to the standard PC in the classroom using either Ethernet or Serial cable (or by connecting the available keyboard, mouse and screen to an EFIKA with GFX-card).

Each EFIKA is equipped with a wireless LAN card (USB) and a minimal OS install on a Flash card or Notebook Hard drive. The SUN Fire T1000 acts in this case as a central control point to give each EFIKA a place in the network using a WLan connection.

Specific exercises or set-ups can then be downloaded from the T1000 to the EFIKA. This enables for instance to set up a cluster, test various network configurations, etc. (Or for more sophisticated set-ups: load an image off the T1000, write it to a USB Flash Memory and boot from it). One could also use a wired network and boot the EFIKAs straight from the T1000 using PXE boot capability.

This would provide the ideal environment for the courses mentioned above, providing a way to compare different CPU architectures and their assembly instructions on one end and go to a distributed computing network and write applications for it on the other end of the spectrum.

A Big Thank You Genesi!

Dec 1, 2006 Category: Archived Posted by: robotics_admin

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