Posts Tagged ‘learning pet’
There are some things with Mini RoboBrrd (Learning Pet) and the original RoboBrrd that still irk me.
Why do the mini servos keep breaking? For the original RoboBrrd, I probably went through 4 or so of these (can’t remember the original count). Sometimes the gears would just get stuck, other times it would still be able to move, but not controllable. Having a mass (the wing) extended from the arm was the probable cause- there’s no counterweight on the other side of the servo to balance it. I’m hoping that this will solve the problem!
The best part is that people have been contacting me about how they can implement RoboBrrd into their curriculum! I think it will be worthwhile to make another Mini RoboBrrd from scratch in order to make a clearer and more precise Instructable. While the Instructable would mainly be for them, and for other people, and for me remembering what I was doing, it can also win a laser cutter. The laser cutter would help me make parts for the RoboBrrd as a kit so they don’t have to use craft sticks- wouldn’t that be super cool? I LOVE TO DREAM!
Since I’m getting more familiar with the RoboBrrd construction, this time my approach to building it will be different. In advance, I’m going to create instructions with pictures rendered from CAD. Once these are refined enough, I can construct the actual Mini RoboBrrd from the same set of instructions that everyone will also be looking at.
Here are some changes that will need to for sure be done in the design:
- Bottom face will be made out of craft sticks (wider)
- Give all the wires headers (male) so they can easily plug into the protoshield
- Use dual lock in a square pattern to mount rotation servo to bottom face
- Add counter balance (a few pennys, or an american 5 cents piece) to wing servo arm
- Two LDRs (they weren’t in Learning Pet)
- Add ridge to side faces for neater wiring
- Diagonal support for wing (to make the shape more triangular)
- Battery powered
This revision would be using a standard Arduino, and I’m hoping that perhaps the servos can be powered by a AA battery pack that can fit into the base of the RoboBrrd.
The change I’m looking forward to the most is the dual lock for the rotation servo. This will be exceptionally handy for debugging. You’ll be able to detach the entire RoboBrrd from its base! Dual lock is like velcro, but made out of plastic so it is more sturdy, and with less “wiggle” room.
OpenSCAD is nice for some things, but for mini RoboBrrd I want to eventually make an animation where all the parts fly into place (for fun). So, last night I spent 5 or so hours trying to learn AutoCAD 2012 for Mac. They give out the educational version for free, which is really nice! It takes a while to get used to. There’s also no good tutorials (I later found this site which is helpful)… so if you are trying to learn AutoCAD, I recommend to just press all the buttons and try and figure it out. I would also recommend to make everything in 3D, as you can always get a 2D wireframe in a different viewing mode. This troubled me at the beginning, but once I figured it out it got going pretty decently.
Here is the bottom face that I created!
I’m having issues with rendering though. I selected a nice wood texture that looks like the craft sticks, but it doesn’t render out well.
This grey mode is quite nice looking.
Once the CAD’ing part is done, and I get some more parts (thanks Adafruit!), then I can actually document the build really really well. I even have CFL lights instead of normal lights, which makes the desk even clearer. I’ll probably get some white poster board for the table so it is also more professional.
I’m wondering how I should video the build process. Have an overhead camera while I am working on it, record everything and edit later? Or after each step make a summary video clip of how it was done? Maybe a combination of both, resulting in lots of GB and lots of editing?
Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve Mini RoboBrrd more. This would be the time to give feedback so that I can possibly use it in the design!
I’ve also been working insanely on an interesting new addition to apps4arduino. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Also on Saturday I performed a brain transplant on MANOI and replaced the old Arduino MEGA with a seeedstudio ADK and an Arduino MEGA Protoshield to keep the wires more organized. Haven’t tested it yet, maybe once I finish the CAD!
After Maker Faire everything has been sort of buzzing in my head. There’s lots of new things to try, learn, and share! Of course, I was pretty much blanked out afterwards with a cold, which meant I unfortunately couldn’t go to SecondConf where I was invited to speak , and then last Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday I was super tired. x_x But, here is a post with tons of pictures nonetheless
Learning Pet – Polymorph Phail, OpenSCAD and gEDA
To advance Learning Pet more, there has to be some sort of way to actually make these that doesn’t involve tens of hours of effort for each one. I was thinking maybe I could take a shortcut on this whole laser cutter/3d printer ordeal and use polymorph!
We created a stencil out of popsicle sticks:
First attempt was to lay the polymorph flat and use the stencil like a cookie cutter:
It turned out to be way to flimsy and thin. It would be more of a jello brrd than a RoboBrrd with the servos on it. Bah! Second try was to fill the stencil with the polymorph:
This was stronger in some parts, but it sort of broke at the top. Third attempt in the same way, but more better:
The third way is definitely strong, but it still takes ages to create. Not to mention, it destroyed the stencil trying to get it out. Plus, the polymorph extras are kind of hard to get rid of.
Polymorph is cool, but it may not be the best for creating the frame of a RoboBrrd. This is when I decided to learn OpenSCAD. Learning it isn’t that tricky. There’s some familiarities that you can draw from Matlab in there. The software itself is horrendous. You can rotate and zoom the viewer camera, but not translate, which makes it extremely annoying to try to use. Whatever. At least I don’t have to worry about trying to figure out what buttons on the screen to press to create a shape.
Here’s a screenie of an exploded view of the shapes that I created:
The school I mentor for FIRST robotics has a 3d printer, so we were going to print them out. This is them on the stl viewer. I like how it looks slightly Tron (original Tron) like:
They haven’t been printed yet, and actually I may not have the chance to pick them up if they were printed! But the idea was to experiment and see if the nubs would actually fit, seeing as how they are exactly the same size.
I learned later on about the same sort of technique with a laser cutter at Spikenzie Labs, you can read more into it in the next section
The boards are also going to be another thing to create. I’m attempting to try to learn gEDA (each time I try to pronounce the software it sounds like some sort of cheese), which is a PCB/schematics/board bundle of awesome! The learning curve for this though seems like a vertical line, it almost reminds me of Objective-C in that way. Which can only mean good things!
I didn’t save my original screenshot of playing with gEDA, but it looked like a board with chicken-pox, because there were lots of holes (which are called vias?). However, I was playing with text, and weird stuff happens with text. Depending on whatever colour you pick, it writes it normally, or it writes it flipped horizontally, so “w00t” becomes “m00f”, hahaha!
I couldn’t install gEDA on my Mac under fink or Macports unfortunately, but it works fine on Ubuntu. Oh yeah if anyone is wondering, the file I was playing with was the OHS badge. It’s cool. No idea how on earth they made the curved lines yet, but I hope to figure that out eventually. There’s lots of resources online about gEDA, so I just have to read them and figure it out, and climb this vertical learning curve ;P
There also has to be more software developed for Learning Pet, but I don’t want to go too crazy with it. I’ve been trying to figure out what platforms should be followed, and which ones should not. Or are we even at that point to make that decision? :/ I might just make some software for several platforms, then run some trials and see which ones are better.
Of course, Learning Pet itself is a platform! So it will also have to be able to play some *small* games. I’m looking forward to this part, like maybe I will save game data in an EEPROM or something? Or just save it in an SD card so that way it is more “modular”?
That’s about it for Learning Pet today. I’m working on a module where the sensor and button can sit on its own platform, making it have more of a purpose of working with a specific set of software. It will also have LEDs!
When I went in to visit my FIRST team, I also visited Spikenzie labs! Their laser cutter is awesome!
Here you can see some of the watch faces being cut out
They were also faced with the challenge of getting the slots to fit together. For them, they had to take into account the beam of the laser and all sorts of other interesting math. However, the result is nice slots that fit perfectly together:
This knowledge is great, and will definitely help This is the sort of technique that I would want to use in Learning Pet’s structure.
They also gave me free stuff. LOTS of free stuff!
More about building them in the next section. Thanks for the free stuff Andy & Mark!
The VoiceShield looks really cool. Unfortunately mine doesn’t play sounds, only noise. It may be because I’m doing something wrong with the uploading or something. I should also go back and check all the soldering. In concept though, it is really cool. It lets you upload sounds to this chip, and you’re able to play them individually or in sequence, which would be really handy for some of RoboBrrd’s sounds!
Soldered the MPTH kit too. It’s also pretty cool! Send in serial and have it displayed on the screen. Nice!
The LoL shield! YAY! If anyone tells you it only takes an hour to complete this shield, they are either a professional, or completely wrong. I had some trouble with a few LEDs, but it turned out that they needed more solder. There are also a few LEDs that flicker. I haven’t figured out how to fix them yet though. The white LEDs are beautiful!
This poem on the back of the LoL shield is so deep.
I gave one of the Propellers a go, and made it so that if I press gently on the button thing, then the LED will light up! However, these button things are kind of weird in the way that if you press down, then it shorts out (I guess), making the value 0. If you press lightly on the middle pad, the value ranges up to 1. The default value is also 0. So it is kind of hard to figure out, either that or I’m doing something wrong, which is most likely
I’m in the middle of trying to organize everything. It’s INSANE. Luckily it doesn’t look like this anymore, but I still have a few other things to organize away.
DOGCOW’s Ping))) sensor has sort of been a running joke on the Robot Party. Turns out it does work, I was just doing it wrong hahahaha
Here are my broken servos. This would definitely make a GREAT Christmas tree ornament!
And with that, moving on to the next section!
Old Popsicle Stick Constructions
Popsicle sticks and hot glue are great for creating things. Here are some things that I started to create, but haven’t finished. They were mainly created to let me visualize things that I was thinking about.
This robot was supposed to have LEDs spinning on its motor. It got me thinking about this design challenge, where you will have to somehow be able to power the LEDs even though it is spinning. If the LEDs were to blink, it would be better just to have the blinking circuit also spinning.
Here is proto-brrd. It’s skeleton served as a way to play around with the beak mechanism. It was also good to try the design before building the green RoboBrrd It always makes me laugh the way the bottom beak falls down…
This is a weirdo LED giraffe type of animal/creation. Its weak legs jittered around the desk as the spinning counter-weight tail moved, and as the head spun around. It was fun to see how fast the pennys flew off of the counter-weight sometimes.
Last was this interesting stretching armature thingamajig. It had an elastic to pull the two arms tight, but the motor would be able to push them apart. Since the motor didn’t have that much torque, it didn’t work that reliably.
I also visited Robot Shop headquarters. Had a tour of the place, it’s pretty cool!
My friend & inspiration Jeri (link goes to one of my favourite videos) is going to be in this film called Pinball Donut Girl. She’s really cool. I’ve had the chance to play some pinball, and it’s really fun. There’s a lot of electronics that happens behind the scenes too. The film needs funding, and it’s being crowdsourced. So instead of your coffee today, consider putting the money towards this! I only donated $7, but collectively it can get funded! YAH! GO DONATE NOW!
Last but not least, winter is fast approaching! Get out there and enjoy the autumn nature
Here’s what you may not know about Learning Pet: It was created in 4.5 days.
When I heard about the Open Hardware Summit Scholarship contest, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. The prize would do more than wonders to get this idea flying. For example: A 3D printer would be able to be bought and used to create parts for kits. Also, we would have been able to order some custom PCBs online with the winnings, too.
When I heard about the contest later on that evening was when I started (Sept 8). I created the structure and beak mechanism all in that one night
The first day (Sept 9), the mini RoboBrrd character was crafted, and all servos and LEDs tested and functional.
The second day (Sept 10), the modular electronics board was created. Featuring a slide-out drawer for the Google Android ADK This was also my birthday! Hooray!
Third day (Sept 11), all of the circuits and wiring was complete. Had some pitfalls during the day trying to use different connectors, but switched to the ones you see below in the photo. The plugs are great, really sturdy!
Here’s a timelapse of some parts of the build:
Forth day was for creating the software and documentation, and submitting to the contest rather early. My train was leaving the next day, so I had to get everything done ahead of time
We didn’t win the contest, or place in the top 3. Somehow. So this became yet another unobtained opportunity, but I can definitely say that Learning Pet was a competitive entry. The documentation webpage was a force not to be reckoned with compared to the other entries. Learning Pet has a purpose that would benefit society. Furthermore, I created a demo prototype for the video about my idea.
Maybe some people will think that it was crazy to pour in all this dedication to one robot. If it would have won, it wouldn’t have seemed crazy. Success is defined as getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down. I’ll still be continuing with Learning Pet, the idea is exciting and education desperately needs an effective use of technology in the classroom, rather than more technology in the classroom.
Thanks again to everyone who left a comment on my Google+ during the build progress! And thanks to the FIRST team that I mentor, COSI, the gang from FMCG, and all my friends for voting!
Also: I used some parts (the large servo and two RGB LEDs, specifically) from the parts that Adafruit Industries sponsored for the original RoboBrrd, so thanks to them also
Maker Faire NYC was great! We showed off four of my robots, Learning Pet, DOGCOW, RoboBrrd, and MANOI!
We were located at the Robot Square which turned out to be a really great location!
By far the most popular was RoboBrrd Food! It was so crazy. The kids kept feeding the RoboBrrd constantly, they wouldn’t stop! And if they had to stop, sometimes they would start to cry or whine to their parents. It was great! It was funny to see how the younger kids understood what to do right away, when the older ones didn’t really know. As for the adults, you had to tell them to try feeding the RoboBrrd, they never did it automatically haha! Here is a video of RoboBrrd food in action, thanks to VayaConQueso!
Learning Pet was a close second to the most favourite robot. It was great to see everyone interacting with it. Some of the kids played right through from level 1 to 5, so they could see the super duper Learning Pet victory dance celebration!
Here’s a video explaining Learning Pet thanks to the NY Hall of Science:
As for MANOI the hockey playing humanoid robot, most of the time its battery was running out! So lame! MANOI was always pretty much sitting down, like in this photo:
However, MANOI did appear at the 0:21 mark in the Engadget show. It was pretty crazy when they were filming, they were super professional, and no one knew they were from Engadget!
You can watch the Engadget show here!
One of the favourite things was explaining everything to all the people. It’s fun to see their reactions and what they think of the projects. Plus, since there are so many people, what you say each time becomes more fine tuned!
Check out all of the stuff that I brought home! I’m super excited to use all of this!
Some notables include:
- Tons of XBees YAY
- seeedstudio ADK kit WOOT
- netduino, pulse sensor, white lol shield, shapelock, tshirt (bought these )
- Maker Passport (a repurposed Hackerspace passport) with lots of cool signatures in it! AWESOME!
I also managed to see Arc Attack for the first time in person ever! It is super cool, definitely recommend it! The sound seems so much clearer than anything else. The blue shining in from the glass was really amazing too, and all of the waves in the wall. I waited in line with a friend from university, Matt Krass, and his friends so it was pretty awesome. (I then forgot to say bye as I left, DOH! Was in a rush to get back to my robots!)
At the end of the Maker Faire, there were these blue ribbons being given out, and everyone I asked had no idea what they were. I asked the guy giving them out, and he said that they are *only* for awesome projects. To be honest, I got a little upset at this (my projects aren’t awesome?! whaaat?!), but he was kind enough to visit my table and hear me explain all my projects!
Here’s a video of me explaining ALL of the robots thanks to Chris Connors:
And then after that, he awarded me his very last Maker Faire Editors Choice award! Wow! Yay! Thanks again, Chris!
The trek back home was interesting! My parents drove down to bring me back. The fog in the Adirondacks at night is intense! We slept in a Walmart parking lot too I was super tired the whole time, falling asleep a lot.
There were some people that I didn’t get a chance to meet, hopefully next time there will be that chance! Special thanks to Jonah and Katherine for letting me sleep on their (very nice) couch for OHS and Maker Faire! Thanks to everyone who made the Maker Faire NYC 2011 so much fun! It was a pleasure meeting everyone who came by the table, and hope to see you all next year!
Learning Pet had a fantastic time at the Open Hardware Summit!
Before the summit started, we were sitting at the sculpture robo-busking for votes! At that point, Ian came over and wanted to do an interview! It was an excellent interview, and he uploaded it really quickly at the summit so we could get more votes for the scholarship! Thanks Ian!
I actually did go to some of the talks! Specifically, the ones in the morning before the break. The Arduino Team’s keynote was really really great!
After that, I sort of hung around the cafeteria area showing off Learning Pet! A lot of people said they would vote, which was really great! After the crowd died down, I went into the cafeteria area to watch the stream and maybe work on some ADK stuff.
That was when the creator of ThingSpeak himself caught me and said Hello! ThingSpeak is a really cool Internet of Things website. It’s relatively small and new, which is why I like it compared to the others.
He told me about the location data parameter in the API. I never knew this existed! Then I was wondering how to get the location from Mac OS, if there was actually a framework for that. It turned out that there was! Wow! And it was since 10.6 too! I never knew this! Making it work was really great, it was only checking to see if it worked was what we really got caught on (because the XML file goes from oldest to newest).
It was then when I saw David Cuartielles from the Arduino team when I waved, who joined the table. We were talking about Learning Pet, and it turned out that he was the one who created the Processing ADK Tool! Wow! What a cooincidence!
I told him about all of the bugs, and asked how I can fix them. He showed me the code for the ADK tool, and walked me through how to build it in Eclipse! Building a tool for Processing is a little different because you have to tell ant that there are some things that are already pre-compiled, so it doesn’t have to check them.
I played around with the code for a while and sort of got used to the way things work. There are some places where it will be tricky to be able to do what I want to specifically do.
We also tried to figure out why there are four parameters on the Arduino side, and only three on the Android App side. It turns out that the Arduino is the one telling the Android what App it needs, rather than the other way around. This means that of course the Arduino side needs the description and website parameters. Which I guess makes more sense in retrospect
I’ll definitely be helping out more with this Processing ADK Tool stuff. The thing that motivates me the most is that when I first got the ADK and Android, I figured that this should be about 10x easier and 50x quicker than making an iOS App. It wasn’t, and many other people feel the same way, but now it is my goal to make it so.
We did listen to some of the talks while we were down hacking and learning on some code. They were really good! I didn’t manage to get to the breakout session, but they were all sort of scattered and I wasn’t listening to the directions anyway… playing with the code was more fun.
Oh yeah! And I also bought a hackerspace passport from Mitch Altman! It is so cool to see them in real life, they look like a real passport!
The Demo session was fun, lots of people loved Learning Pet and also said that they voted for it! However, when they announced the winners, Learning Pet didn’t place in the top three. I really appreciate everyone voting, though. To be honest and somewhat egotistical, I think Learning Pet’s documentation was the best and most complete. No one even came close!
Here is a video by johngineer about Learning Pet! Thanks johngineer!
Watch video on Vimeo
The one thing that I would improve though, is to make the organizers a little more friendly towards everyone, and not just caring primarily about the sponsors. Yes, it is important to make the sponsors feel good since without them then there wouldn’t be this event, but it is also important to make the people at the summit itself feel good also. For example, at the demo session one of the organizers was talking with all of these sponsors in front of my demo area and goofing around and taking photos, but never bothered to say hello or ask about my project. It was sort of uncool and unmakerly (if that’s a word). The way I think of it is… you might as well be friendly to everyone, because we are all in this together!
All in all, the Open Hardware Summit was great for connecting with some of the people I have met online! It also turned out to be a great learning experience for building tools for Processing, and seeing how the Processing ADK tool actually compiles with API v10 rather than v7 (it is literally just setting the number different hahahaha)!
Also, Learning Pet appeared in the Adafruit blog randomly! It was awesome!
Thanks everyone who voted for Learning Pet in the Open Hardware Summit Scholarship! It was much appreciated! We didn’t place in the top 3.
Here was a fantastic interview by Ian Cole, thanks so much Ian!
The future of Learning Pet is that there will be time spent on apps4arduino to make some money in order to be able to purchase some laser cut parts, 3d parts, and boards.
Here are some stats of the contest that I collected from the webpage:
- 51.9% had a prototype
- 48.1% showed a demo in their video
- 51.9% had a website
- 3.7% released their hardware files under a license for the open hardware definition
- 22.2% had their hardware files available
- 14.8% had a bom
- 5.6% released their source code under an osi license
- 22.2% had their code available
- 40.7% had documentation
- 22.2% had additional videos
- 59.3% said what they would do with the prize if they won
- 18.5% demoed while at the ohs
You can check out all the documentation for Learning Pet here:
Learning Pet will be at the Maker Faire this weekend, so be sure to say hi! (or whatever hi is in robobrrd language)