About Lorax Works
For the last 17 years we have been developing technologies for the creation of robotic sculptures for the arts. Some of the sculptures that were created can be seen at Yves Amu Klein's web site www.livingsculpture.com.
After many years of refinement we have come up with an affordable microcontroller that can be used for distributed processing which is better suited for emulating life like robots.
This microcontroller which we call the proSeed (Professional Seed) has all the standard features of a conventional microcontroller such as 16 digital I/Os, 16 analog inputs, RS-232 serial communication, I2C and SPI data buses, RAM and EEPROM. However, the proSeed does not stop there. Its architecture has some key features that we believe are essential for any artificial life exploration like an extra large 128KB RAM and 128KB EEPROM. The proSeed has an SPI daughterboard port that supports all kinds of customization. The proSeed comes standard with a 16 channels ADC daughterboard at no extra charge. Many additional daughterboards boards will be developed and you can even use the daughterboard SPI port for your own custom applications.
Some other special features are the ability to store relatively large neural networks and the ability to connect several additional proSeeds. In fact, you can build a cluster of sub-networks connecting up to 128 proSeed via I2C. This permits the bottom up architecture of the hardware where each subsystem can be handle by an individual neural network that communicates with other networks using words.
To facilitate that kind of intercommunication we use the FORTH language, which is perfect for encapsulating meaning and function. FORTH also is a great language for debugging code since it is interactive by nature and is an exceptional language when it comes to performance and compactness of code.
Now our concern was to get as much functionality as possible in an as affordable price as we could make it, so that the cost of clustering would be reasonable and still provide large memory space to accommodate neural networks. Another concern we had is to find a language that is open source so that it can be easily modified to any particular requirement.
FORTH provides that flexibility. Its highly modular nature makes it perfect for robotic applications. Other languages like C or Basic are cumbersome and sometime slow.
Also we feel that like any new field it is important to provide and environment where exploration can be shared and where people can exchange ideas as well as resolve problems they may encounter in their path. So to address that we created a forum which we hope will help the robotic community to work together as a team.
We also provide a proSeed Kit with a proto-board specially customized for the proSeed that provides an easy way to connect to the I/O and ADC channels with a large prototyping breadboard surface with 300 pins, 60 pins for grd 60 pins +V and convenient 3 pin connectors for sensors and servos (low power only). It also has a serial port to connect to a PC. and I2C port. You can select between using the internal power regulator of the proSeed or use the power supply on the protoboard. The Kit comes with one proSeed, a serial cable, a power transformer, a CD and printed version of all the documentation and tutorial and a set of parts to follow the tutorial. The CD also has our terminal proterm and other useful information and tools.
At Lorax Works we believe our clients are always right and we will do every thing we can to satisfy your needs. We think that the best way to provide great service is by using email where problems and be carefully reviewed and prompt responses can be provided. Our warranty provides you with protection from any unfortunate defect that may sneak by our rigorous testing. We also offer a 15-day return without charge.
The Lorax Works Team.