In mobile robot research we believe the structure of the platform, its capabilities, the choice of sensors, their capabilities, and the choice of processors, both onboard and offboard, greatly constrains the direction of research activity centered on the platform. We examine the design and tradeoffs in a low cost mobile platform we have built while paying careful attention to issues of sensing, manipulation, onboard processing and debuggability of the total system. The robot, named Herbert, is a completely autonomous mobile robot with an onboard parallel processor and special hardware support for the subsumption architecture [Brooks (1986)], an onboard manipulator and a laser range scanner. All processors are simple low speed 8-bit micro-processors. The robot is capable of real time three dimensional vision, while simultaneously carrying out manipulator and navigation tasks.