Section: New Software and Platforms


Turn-key bridging of Aseba mobile robots to wifi networks

Keyword: Robotics

Scientific Description: Aseba is an open-source modular architecture for event-based control of multi-microcontroller robots, used in the Thymio-II educational robot, and integrated into development environments for teaching robotics programming to 8-18 year old children. Since 2014 Inria has contributed several modules to Aseba, including mDNS-sd support for discovering TCP/IP connections, an HTTP bridge that allows Aseba robots to be used with the Scratch programming environment, and photo-realistic 2D simulation.

Thymio-II robots only communicate through USB connections from a host computer, so until now it has been necessary to install Aseba software on that computer. This is not always possible in schools.

AsebaHub is a firmware image for wifi routers that takes responsibility for USB communication with Aseba robots. Each robot is exposed as a TCP/IP target, advertised using mDNS-sd. AsebaHub can group robots together in ad hoc Aseba networks. It provides HTTP access to robots so that they can be used with Scratch or Snap!. These services work out of the box, without any host configuration or software installation.

AsebaHub can operate as a wifi Access Point, or as a network Bridge to an existing local-area network. A slide switch on the side of the router seamlessly switches between these configurations.

AsebaHub is implemented by compiling Aseba software for the OpenWrt/LEDE open source router platform, adding interfacing code that automatically associates new robots, starts and stops the corresponding network services, and provides a web-based administrative interface.

Functional Description: AsebaHub is a small device with a USB port for connecting Aseba robots, single or with a USB hub. Every robot is made available as a network target on the wifi and wired local-area networks, where they can be discovered using mDNS-sd (Zeroconf/Bonjour). No network or user configuration is necessary.

AsebaHub works out of the box with the Aseba Studio and VPL programming environments. AsebaHub can be configured to also provide an HTTP service that is compatible with Scratch or other environments.

AsebaHub acts as either a wireless Access Point to which users may connect, or as a Bridge to an existing local-area network. Either configuration can be chosen seamlessly with the flick of a switch.

  • Participants: David Sherman and Louise-Amelie Schmitt

  • Contact: David Sherman