Top 3 popular add-ons

See what components people frequently use with their Leo Rovers.

January 16, 2023


Aleksandra Szczepaniak

Trossen Turret

You know how reliable and configurable Leo Rover is. It's only up to you how you'll extend its use. And you might be surprised by the wide array of various add-ons there are to make your robot handle any task you throw at it. In this article, we present the top 3 popular add-ons used with Leo Rovers.


RPLiDAR A2 laser scanner

The first one among the 3 most popular add-ons is RPLiDAR A2. Those 2D LiDAR sensors are commonly used in robotics for things such as indoor SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping) or safety systems.

The RPLIDAR A2M8 is the next generation of the SLAMTEC low-cost RPLIDAR Laser Scanner. The sensor uses an economical laser triangulation measurement system. Its performance is remarkable in all types of environments, even when there's no direct sunlight exposure.

The onboard system can perform 2D 360-degree scans within a 12-meter range. You can use the generated 2D point cloud data for mapping, localization, and environment or object modeling.

RPLiDAR A2 on top of Leo Rover
RPLiDAR A2 on top of a Leo Rover

The product comprises a range scanner core and mechanical powering parts allowing the core to rotate at a high speed, which, in turn, enables it to take up to 8000 samples of laser ranging per second.

When operating normally, the scanner rotates and scans clockwise. You can obtain the range scan data with the use of the communication interface of the RPLIDAR and via PWM you're able to control the start, stop, and rotating speed of the rotation motor.

You’ll surely be pleased to know that RPLidar A2 is compatible with Arduino. Here, you can learn how to connect it to Leo Rover:

RPLidar A2M8 to Leo Rover

U-Blox EVK-M8N GPS module

U-Blox EVK-M8N GPS module

Another popular add-on is the U-Blox EVK-M8N GPS module. With these evaluation kits, you can render a simple evaluation of the u-blox 8 and u-blox M8 high-performance positioning technology.

Not only does the built-in USB interface provide power and fast data transmission, but it also eliminates the need for an external power supply.

U-Blox EVK-M8N GPS module
U-Blox EVK-M8N GPS module mounted on a Leo Rover

Being compact and having a user-friendly interface and power supply, the u-blox 8/M8 evaluation kits prove to be of great value in vehicles, laboratories, and outdoors. Moreover, you can use them with a notebook or PDA, and thus, they can accompany you through all stages of design-in projects.

The EVK-M8 download provides the u-center – an interactive tool for testing, visualization, data analysis, and configuration of positioning chips and modules.

PhantomX Pincher Robot Arm

PhantomX Pincher robot arm

And last but not least – PhantomX Pincher Ax-12 Robot Arm. It's a 4-degree-of-freedom robotic arm designed specifically to fit Leo Rover.

PhantomX Pincher Robotic arm, courtesy of Trossen Robotics, enables your Leo Rover to move, seize and turn small objects around. This robotics tool proves useful in an educational context as well as for creating DIY robotics projects.

The robotic arm can serve either as a standalone unit or as an add-on to your Leo Rover. All the necessary mounting parts and adapters for quick installation on top of the rover can be found in the kit. What's more, the robot arm kit also has mounting brackets that might be used to equip the robot with cameras and sensors, and thus, further enhance its ability to interact with the surroundings. 

Thanks to ROS stack, developed by Vanadium Labs, communication with the robotic arm is a walk in the park.

You can integrate Phantom X Pincher into Leo Rover using our tutorial:

PhantomX Pincher configuration and control

Need a hand, or should I say, an add-on?

As we mentioned, there are numerous kinds of components you can attach to your rover so that it performs a particular task. Now you know what the 3 most popular add-ons are. Do you use any of them with your Leo Rover? Let us know what kind of add-ons you are interested in by sending us an email to :)

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