if you have to ask, you can't afford it. they sell for $600 minimum on
ebay, if that tells you anything, and then you need special electronics to
a pancake motor's main advantage is that they have extremely low
inductance and rotational inertia, which allows for rapid changes in
speed. this type of motor is often used in copy machines because it
enables very precise control over paper speed. it's not necessary for a
robot's traction motor. they probably used it because of the overall
shape and low mass. (presumably it would be launched into space after all)
> The controller they describe looks like exactly what I was
> thinking of too. PC/104 Main Processor Board (700 MHz, 128MB RAM) Flash
> Memory (Disk-on-Chip) 704MB 2 GB IDE Solid State Drive. (may be a grand
> or so in cost right there, though...) This is pretty much a recipe I can
> follow, assuming it's not ridiculously expensive. Is there a PC/104
> Arduino board, or is that form factor limited to Intel CPUs and
PC/104 is just a form factor and bus; you can get many different
processors, although i386 seems to be the most common. Here are some
boards I have been lusting after for a while: http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-7200 http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-7800
they are quite suited to robotics; someone I know used one on an
autonomous deep sea submersible, completely soaked in oil!
the nice thing about ARM chips is they use about one tenth the power of an
equivalent intel processor, in addition to being inexpensive.
IDE SSD's are probably overkill for this sort of thing; compact flash or
SD cards would suffice. They're used in digitial cameras after all, which
is the most data-intensive thing your robot would be using.