Archive for the ‘Robot’ Category
Buddy 4000 is a classy robot chassis designed to express robot emotions with an artistic flair.
See it in action in this video!
Buddy 4000 is available NOW in the RoboBrrd Store! Special introductory sale, $5 off!
It is everything you are looking for in a robot chassis that looks like a classic robot. Perfect as a chassis for a small project, or just a robotic statue.
Open Source Hardware
Yes, Buddy 4000 is OSHW! You can view the .stl’s in our 3D viewer mode, and download an archive of all the files. Hopefully this will let everyone be able to make their own Buddy 4000 (or even a derivative of it). Send pics if you do! Go check it out.
Name Your Price
There is a special ‘name your price’ feature on the Buddy 4000 store page. The extra money is going towards our robotics fund / Maker Faire NY travel fund! We really appreciate your help, and hope to see you at Maker Faire NY!
Buddy 4000 was created to look like a modern version of the old ‘tin toy’ robots. We put much effort into the design of the ‘bot, so hopefully it meets this goal. It took a while to finish this off, especially with all the documentation. Enjoy it! If it makes someone smile, it has been worth it.
Thanks to all the twitter people for following this project over the course of developing it. It’s been fun, and the replies were always interesting to read!
Hooray! The iterations on the ‘Fun Robot Project’ are complete! Since the last post, more work was done on the faceplate/style aspect.
The first idea was to print the style directly onto the piece. However, this made accessing everything inside of the pieces quite difficult. Shown below is the head, with the LEDs and servo in it.
It looks cool from the outside, but it had to be glued together (yikes).
That really didn’t work out. Instead, went with separate pieces for the styles.
In the CAD it was pretty easy to make ‘negative’ extrusions- so they could be printed in a different colour of filament. In order to do this properly, the shapes were scaled down by 0.96. If it was a (what I call) ‘inside-facing-shape’, then it was scaled up by 1.01. This would leave enough space for the kerf, so it could be glued in.
The colours make it look snazzy!
This wasn’t done using dual-extrusion, we’re debating whether it would be worthwhile to upgrade or not. Taking these off the build platform has to be done very carefully, otherwise they jump all over.
Now for the electronics! There is enough space inside of the body of the robot for everything. There are two perfboard breakouts: one for the RGB LEDs, and one for the servos and power distribution. The microcontroller is a 3.3V Arduino Pro Mini, and a LiPower board transforms the 3.7V (or whatever it is, can’t remember) to 5V for the servos and LEDs.
Here is how it all fits inside of the robot. The servo cables and battery are nearest to the front wall:
Everything gets patiently wiggled inside. The servo & power perfboard breakout goes near the bottom.
That breakout then gets folded over, and the servos are plugged in.
Finally, after more poking, it looks like this!
Since it has its battery inside, it will be able to be wireless. Maybe there is room inside somewhere for an XBee as well.
Because of the sockets that are on the arms, head, and feet, it has a few degrees of posability. Combining the poses with the servo movements is going to be fun. Check it out!
Robot is greeting you:
Robot is sad:
Robot is happy:
Robot is cool:
This week we’ll be working on programming it, making a video, getting it on the RoboBrrd Store, and documentation.
But of course before all of this happens- we need to find a name for this robot! We originally made it to look similar to the old ‘tin toy’ robots. Hmm…
Anyway, it is nice to reflect on where this robot has emerged from. Check it out, taking a leisurely swim in the pool of fails!
More robots to come… of course!
ROBOT DANCIN DANCIN TO THE MUSIC OF STEPPERS STEPPIN!
They have to be cleaned up, time to dive in. On this side is the belt that moves the encoder wheel and gearbox (which is on the other side). The encoder wheel is made out of metal.
There are two light sensors to detect the encoder stripes:
After cleaning all this up and screwing it back together, it’s time to flip to the other side. This is the part that is protecting the gearbox:
After taking it off- tada! Gearbox! This was pretty dirty before cleaning it.
Did the same cleaning for both wheels. This should make them run better!
Here’s what we’re going to be driving them with! The Pololu Dual VNH5019. This motor controller is pretty sweet, it even has current feedback. Special thanks to Solarbotics!
Here’s what the setup looks like. I wasn’t sure about using it as a shield and the pin connections, so it is wired up with the breadboard for now. The battery is 11.1V (same one that MANOI uses).
It works GREAT! The motors spin and the wheels move. Sensing the current works as well. One of the wheels, however, had a tendency to slip when pressure was applied. I found an elastic roughly the same size and installed that instead of the black o-ring. It slipped a little less this way.
There is a little problem with the Roomba wheels. How on earth to mount them to a robot? Well, luckily with the 3D printer and some calipers, we can rapidly prototype! Here is test #1-4 (left to right). It started as a C, and once determining the dimensions, some boundary extrudes were added on top.
Here is test #5-8 (left to right). #8 ended up being the final version, but had to be reprinted with a smaller number of shells. In test #6, the ‘circle’ part in the middle now has an empty boundary around it. Without it, the piece cannot flex together and clamp onto the motor. The ‘clip’ areas were greatly thickened in test #7. This is important because these pieces will need to be quite strong!
Now, one would imagine that printing the final version would be quite simple. For some reason, this was definitely not the case, and the prints kept failing one after the other! 6 fails in total! Arrgh!
This one is my favourite fail.
ANYWAY, finally it finished. Here they are attached to the motors, with a 1.5 inch 6-32 screw holding it all together!
Though, here is something peculiar. The two motor mounts are exactly the same, except mirror images of each other. The mirrored one printed fabulously the first try. This one seems to keep not having some of the layers get printed. It is slightly worrisome, as the layers could break apart and cause a tremendous robot breakdown.
Notice the difference? Quite weird.
The motor mount was modeled in Autodesk Inventor. Here’s what it looks like:
Stress simulations are fun. This is a simple one with two 10N forces on the clips, and the model is fixed at the ‘circle’ part. You can see where the point of failure will probably be, as indicated in red.
The clips actually don’t move this far when attaching to the motor, and hopefully the motor will also provide some sort of support at the stress points.
It was fun to be able to make something that wasn’t created before, so that these great wheels can be used. Though, I didn’t expect to take so much time on a minuscule task. I guess there is still lots to learn about 3D printing.
Up next, I have to create the shell of the robot. The two roomba wheels will be the only drive wheels, meaning two other wheels will probably be 3D printed as well. RoboBrrd will definitely be able to sit in/on the robot!
HELP MAKE ROBOBRRD HAPPEN!
FUND IT HERE: http://www.indiegogo.com/robobrrd
RoboBrrd is now on Indiegogo! We’re really excited to get this going! Here is the video for the campaign:
Watch on YouTube
We will be posting updates and more as it happens today!
Help us get the word out, be sure to tell all your friends about RoboBrrd!
We’re having a kickoff party at 4PM ET! Join us in a Google+ Hangout and feed RoboBrrd, and just hang out! Details here! Hope to see ya there!
Here is a new robot creature that I created! It doesn’t have a name yet, so it’s just called ‘weird eyebrow robot’.
It reacts differently when you ‘pet’ it and ‘poke’ it. Beware when it ruffles its brow! It enjoys singing short jingles. Rumour has it that the light up googely eye can peer into your soul.
Check out the video to see it in action:
Watch on YouTube
Pretty cool right? All of the electronics were from the Arduino Starter Kit. Here were all the electronics used from it:
- Micro servo
- Piezo speaker
- 3 Photocells/LDRs
- RGB LED
- White LED
- 2 Yellow LEDs
- 3 Blue LEDs
- 2 Green LEDs
- Lots of resistors…
It actually takes up all of the pins on the Arduino, which is great. All of the LEDs can be controlled individually, and the RGB and white ones (which are behind the googely eye) can have PWM.
Here are the extra parts and tools that were needed. If you don’t have any of these you should get them, or find a substitute. Some of these are obvious, but this list will serve useful for any newbies looking at it!
- Craft sticks, popsicle sticks, coffee stir sticks
- Hot glue
- Orange paint
- Purple sharpie
- Wire, shrink wrap, electrical tape
- Soldering iron, solder
- Scissors, wire cutters, wire strippers
- Googely eye
I started creating the robot just from the popsicle sticks. I wanted to try out a mechanism that was in my brain for a while, a way to control two eyebrows with one motor.
There is a lot of electronics in the starter kit, which is just awesome. It’s way more than you need, which is super for experimenting! I’m probably going to be using the LM293D for hacking the Useless Machine in a later project
So there are some interesting things in there… like a servo, funky coloured thing (aka pinwheel), lots of leds. I painted the eyebrow structure orange and this is how the idea is coming along:
There’s not that many wires for this robot, but I organized them with some tape so it would be quicker to plug in.
All of the pins are used! Yipee! Happiness!
With some testing of the pins and such, we can make the robot look differently!
With some more programming for its behaviour, it is done! (See the video for it in action if you haven’t already). There were some issues when programming it at first- I was writing and testing it when no LEDs were turned on. Since we’re using a breadboard, turning on the LEDs added some noise that I didn’t account for. So I had to scrap the entire program and just rewrite it. It works great now, though! I really like the way it has turned out.
It’s really great to have it running on your desk while you are typing away working on something. It goes to ‘sleep’ after 15 seconds or so, and its white LED does the Apple breathing pattern. When I was editing some of the photos, and got up from the chair, my shadow must have triggered the robot and it woke up, singing a little, so I interacted with it a bit! It’s almost like a real creature!
Back to the Arduino Starter Kit now… the book is cool. Makes me wonder if in 10 years, will they be rare like the Heathkit instruction books?
At the end of the video tutorials that go along with the kit, Massimo always says “Arduino is YOU”. So apparently I am a crazy robot builder with an unorganized desk then:
Thank you RS Components for the Arduino Starter Kit. It was really nice to use it to build another robot. They have videos of Massimo explaining the projects and such over here. Everyone should check it out and let their imagination run with it! Maybe even build a sibling to ‘Weird Eye Robot’, haha.
Also, if you noticed all of the wire, I finally used up the last of my yellow wire, and heat shrink. So right now I don’t have any stranded wire, and I’m running low on the solid core wire. If any of you readers know anyone out there who can donate a spool of wire, and some heat shrink, please let me know! Any help is really appreciated! Thanks!
You’ve heard that there is a special creature that lives in a foggy habitat rich with old electronics. After searching all night, the sun is rising and the fog starting to roll in more. From afar you see something waving. Are those arms? They’re really long for arms. As you move closer, you start to see its mouth and eyes, it’s smiling, and its eyes are fading in and out gently. It finally comes into view… aha! It is the creature, the Oshawatt robot!
Hello friend of Oshawatt!
I created a new robot last week in Inventor. It’s designed to sort of look like a sloth with really long arms, and also have the cute charm of the Pokemon Oshawott. It’s a cute open source robot. The arms have lots of degrees of freedom, the head can bob up and down, and the legs are able to swing. The expressive mouth can look like a cylon, happy, sad, surprised, and also mini-fangs.
I haven’t exactly built it yet, though SpikenzieLabs has laser cut it for me which is pretty sweet! Also going to use Adafruit’s servo controller (thanks Adafruit!) eventually for controlling all of the micro servos! I don’t have the money for all the servos and sensors that are needed for it, so it’s a good thing for it to be Open Source hardware right now!
The CAD files are Autodesk Inventor 2013, but the major assemblies have been transported into Autodesk 360 and embedded on the webpage so that everyone can view them, pan, zoom, and rotate the 3d models. It’s pretty cool! We also include standard .eps files with the pieces on them which can be opened in Inkscape.
Here is a description of Oshawatt’s personality:
Like all cool robots, Oshawatt does have a personality that I imagine for its character. It’s the type of robot that wants a lot of sensory feedback, so it will be waving its arms like crazy, and then humans will interact with it, and then it won’t know what to do. When that happens, it becomes sort of shy and starts to bob its head and animate its mouth expressions. Of course, its eyes are an overall indicator of its mood (assuming they are rgb leds). Oh yeah, in case you didn’t guess, its favourite dance would definitely be YMCA, though it has trouble with the ‘M’ letter sometimes.
For more details and learning more about how the design was made and all of that, please check out Oshawatt’s web page! It even has the Autodesk 360 models on it, so you can spin them around.
All I ask is for a thanks and a smile Any donations are welcome and mega-appreciated to fund some more of my crazy robot character experiments!
Crossing my fingers that someone will make a Oshawatt robot! It would be so cool to see it up and running!
I was at the Cloud Robotics Hackathon this weekend in Montreal and it was a BLAST! There were tons of teams participating, learning about robotics, programming with Arduino, and there was a MakerBot, some Naos, and a Darwin-OP there! Holy macaroni!
My favourite part at the end was listening to the experiences that people had programming their robot. There were lots of new people to robotics, so it was great.
I worked with Marek over the weekend! He is a super web dev guru, and was also on the Edubotics team at Startup Weekend Montreal. We came up with a pretty crazy project, under the team name of TEAM LIGHTNINGBOTS, because lightning comes from the cloud!
We ended up winning the Montreal part of the Cloud Robotics hackathon! Here is our project’s video!
As a quick summary, we made a network of cheerleading robots for an educational math game that can post the scores on MyRobots, then display them on a robotic scoreboard. Let’s take a look at this in more detail!
Here is the basic setup. There is the math game on the iPad. This app is actually a web app with a very thin native client layer to send data to the robot. It works by sending HTTP callbacks, which the app parses, then sends a packet through the Redpark Serial Cable, which Learning Pet (blue RoboBrrd) receives, parses, then does an action. You can input two digit numbers into the app because there is a specially-tuned delay to do so. You get an unlimited number of tries for answering, and no hints, since this is a basic version of it (proof of concept). The green dots below are showing the number of questions completed and needed to level up. The game repeats once you level up. The game is functional in any modern web browser, so you can check it out HERE! Marek was the one who coded this, and it was developed beforehand at Startup Weekend, so nothing new here.
Now for the new part: when Learning Pet (blue RoboBrrd) receives the data from the app, it also broadcasts the message out through its Xbee to the other two robots. We use the XBee Network Protocol for this, developed by Kris Kortright, but we use my uno-compatible fork of it.
Both Impy (orange RoboBrrd) and MANOI receive this data through their XBees, and are able to act out the actions as well. When you get the answer right, they do a little action of encouragement (MANOI swings its arms, RoboBrrds flap their wings, and Impy changes its eyes green too). When you get the answer wrong, they shake their heads- MANOI looks really scary doing this so you don’t want to get the answer wrong. When you level up, they all do a crazy dance celebration.
Now for the next new part: when Impy (orange RoboBrrd) receives the data from the mesh, it communicates with the computer which is running a Processing application. In the application, it creates a tally of the questions answered, and the number correct, the enthusiasm value (which is just how drastic changes in RoboBrrd’s sensors were), and the “brain power”.
The brain power is determined by the function:
This data is then uploaded to MyRobots every 15 seconds and then cleared out for the next upload batch.
One of the tricky parts was figuring out how to optimize the sending and receiving of packets on Impy (orange RoboBrrds) end. It turned out that we had to listen before we send, or something like that, just to make it work a bit more reliably.
Here’s the next new part: To have the results of the game displayed on a live scoreboard, we used the DFRobot RobotShop rover as a scoreboard. I attached it to the bottom of a soapdish, which gave the treads enough clearance, and some popsicle sticks for support. Marek added the numbers and faceplate to it, and coded it up in Python. The code pulled the live “correct” number score from MyRobots and then called the Arduino to update the motors accordingly. It was pretty sweet!
All in all, the whole system worked great. It’s truly the ultimate social robot network, because we were able to combine so many robots together!
There was a lot of stuff that we developed that we didn’t use or mention though. For instance, Marek created this web nodejs application that can show the same webpage to all clients, and also send tcp messages to everyone connected. CHECK IT OUT HERE! We were going to use this originally as a sort of orchestra or central command console for the robots. He also made a Twitter analyzing program that looks for happy faces or sad faces in the streaming Twitter firehose. The data is being plotted on his MyRobots page for it, which is really cool.
On the first day I worked on getting Learning Pet (blue RoboBrrd) going with the ADK. For some reason it would work fine, I would get up for a break, and then not work. So that night was the turning point in the hackathon when we went with the idea we have now.
The idea we implemented is pretty cool though, since it both sends data to MyRobots and it uses it. We also are using basically 3 clouds in the 1 project, being:
1. The math game web app
2. The local mesh network
All in all, it was a blast! Huge thanks to Marek for his web skills!
I’m definitely looking forward to volunteering at this hackathon next year. Thanks to the organizers for making such an awesome event. SEE YOU IN THE CLOUD!