Is there a specific reason why Hello Robot decided to use NUCs for the main compute instead of a product like the Nvidia Jetson? I’d assume cost was one factor but I’m wondering if there’s any fundamental limitations that would prevent us from replacing the NUC with a Jetson. I’m aware of the backpack functionality, but that requires the additional hassle of networking, as well as consumes more power.
Hi @atyshka, welcome to the forum! Good question. One of our goals with Stretch was to make it easy to develop on it. You can think of Stretch as a desktop computer on wheels. This enables developers to easily work with code on the robot itself. For desktop development, Ubuntu on a NUC is a good choice with a strong ecosystem, including widely available, well-tested binaries and lots of answers online. The Jetson ecosystem is built for embedded computing, and its ecosystem of developer tools and online support is younger. Replacing the NUC with a Jetson would be difficult; mechanically, the Jetson would need to fit in the physical amount of space left once you’ve removed the NUC, electrically, the Jetson may not meet the peripheral hardware’s USB and power requirements, and for software, Stretch’s software is built on x86-64 libraries and tooling, so you would need to find and test the equivalent options for Jetson’s ARM computer.
For situations where the NUC is insufficient, we recommend setting up a wireless local access network (wLAN) between Stretch and a desktop with a large, modern GPU (e.g. Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090). We have a series of tutorials on the topic of networking Stretch:
- Offloading Heavy Robot Compute to Remote Workstation - a ROS2 tutorial on speeding up perception tasks by running CNN inference on a workstation equipped with a GPU.
- Untethered Operation - a guide to developing on Stretch and running computation over a local network.
There’s also an open source project called the Jetson Backpack that you can use to mount a Nvidia Jetson Orin AGX on the base. As you’ve mentioned, this involves additional networking and taps into Stretch’s batteries.