Posts with «robotics» label

Arduino-powered omni robot gets an upgrade

When we last saw this omni robot by Jeremy S. Cook, it was lurching around under Arduino Nano and Bluetooth command. After much work, he finally has it to a state where it rolls nicely on a flat surface—even carrying a little strandbeest at just after 8:30 in the demo video.

The biggest revision for the robot was new “grippier” wheels, but electronics were also enhanced, including a LiPo battery (with a voltage divider monitoring circuit), potentiometer for speed control, and LED eyes. 

Changes were facilitated by a screw terminal board attached to the Nano, which minimized solder work, while keeping the robot’s wiring secure. More details and code are available here, while the upgrade/troubleshooting process can be seen in the video below.

This robot is eggsactly what you need to cook breakfast

Normally, boiling an egg involves heating water in a saucepan, then dropping an egg inside to be properly heated. James Bruton, however, now has a bit of help in the form of his breakfast-making robot. 

The device uses two servos, along with a motor/encoder/screw assembly to rotate and lower the egg into place. It then takes it out after six minutes, and tips it out into a secondary container.

As of now, temperature is manually controlled, but it’s tracked with a DS18B20 temperature sensor to initiate the egg lowering procedure. An Arduino Uno takes care of the lifting screw assembly, while an Arduino Mega handles everything else.

A semi-autonomous circular robot for escape rooms

If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you’ve undoubtedly had to deal with a wide variety of puzzles that you have to solve in order to get out of the “prison” that you’ve willingly thrown yourself into. Beyond the puzzle that you’re trying to decode, the mechanisms used can be extremely clever, and coming up with a new device to use in these scenarios was a perfect challenge for this team of Belgian college students.

Based on the project requirements, they created a Roomba-like circular robot controlled by an Arduino Uno and motor shield that drives a pair of DC motors. The idea, while not fully implemented due to time constraints, is that it can be remotely operated only after solving a riddle and within a certain time period, then drive itself back to a designated spot once the game is over. 

Here is a summary of what happens in the robot:

– The non-autonomous part: a remote controller is linked to Arduino through a receiver. Players control the remote and therefore control the Arduino which controls the motors. The Arduino is turned on before the game starts, but it enters the main function when players solve a riddle on the remote controller. An IR wireless camera is already turned on (turned on at the same time as the “whole” (controlled by the Arduino) when switch on/off turned on). Players guide the car with remote controller: they control the speed and the direction. When the timer that starts when the main function is entered is equal to 30 minutes, the control from the controller is disabled.

– The autonomous part: the control is then managed by the Arduino. After 30 minutes, the IR line tracker sensor starts following a line on the ground to finish the parcours.

For inspiration on building your own, check out the team’s write-up (including code) and a clip of the prototype below.

OpenLH robot automates biological exploration

If you’d like an easy way to accomplish repetitive biological experiments, the OpenLH presents a great option for automating these tasks. 

The heart of the system is the Arduino Mega-controlled uArm Swift Pro robot, which is equipped with a custom end effector and syringe pump. This enables it to dispense liquids with an average error of just .15 microliters.

A Python/Blockly interface allows the OpenLH to be set up for creative exploration, and because of the arm’s versatility, it could later be modified for 3D printing, laser cutting, or any number of other robotic duties. 

Liquid handling robots are robots that can move liquids with high accuracy allowing to conduct high throughput experiments such as large scale screenings, bioprinting and execution of different protocols in molecular microbiology without a human hand, most liquid handling platforms are limited to standard protocols.

The OpenLH is based on an open source robotic arm (uArm Swift Pro) and allows creative exploration. With the decrease in cost of accurate robotic arms we wanted to create a liquid handling robot that will be easy to assemble, made by available components, will be as accurate as gold standard and will cost less than $1,000. In addition the OpenLH is extendable, meaning more features can be added such as a camera for image analysis and real time decision making or setting the arm on a linear actuator for a wider range. In order to control the arm we made a simple Blockly interface and a picture to print interface block for bioprinting images.

We wanted to build a tool that would be used by students, bioartists, biohackers and community biology labs around the world.

The OpenLH can be seen in the video below, bioprinting with pigment-expressing E. coli bacteria.

Arduino Mega is the brains of this ant-like hexapod

Six-legged robots are nothing new, but if you’d like inspiration for your own, it would be hard to beat this 22 servo-driven, 3D-printed hexapod from Dejan at How To Mechatronics. 

The ant-inspired device features three metal geared servos per leg, as well as a pair to move the heat, another for the tail, and a micro servo to activate the mandibles.

To control this large number of servos, Dejan turned to the Arduino Mega, along with a custom Android app and Bluetooth link for the user interface. While most movements are activated by the user, it does have a single ultrasonic sensor buried in its head as “eyes.” This allows it to lean backwards when approached by an unknown object or hand, then strike with its mandibles if the aggressor continues its advance. 

As the name suggests, the hexapod has six legs but in addition to that, it also has a tail or abdomen, a head, antennas, mandibles and even functional eyes. All of this, makes the hexapod look like an ant, so therefore we can also call it an Arduino Ant Robot.

For controlling the robot I made a custom-built Android application. The app has four buttons through which we can command the robot to move forward or backwards, as well as turn left or right. Along with these main functions, the robot can also move its head and tail, as well as it can bite, grab and drop things and even attack.

You can see it in action and being assembled in the video below, and build files are available here.

Designing an omni wheel robot platform with Arduino

Omni wheels are devices that look like wheels with extra rollers positioned along their circumference. This allows robots to move forwards and backwards, as well as slide and spin depending on how the wheels are powered. Maker Jeremy S. Cook decided to create his own version, and after some consideration and careful design work, constructed a cylindrical frame out of MDF and PLA.

The Roomba-like unit features an Arduino Nano, which controls four NEMA 17 stepper motors via Easy Driver boards, while a Bluetooth module enables smartphone operation. Once a few intermittent motion issues are worked out, the stepper motors should provide precise positioning for further robotics experimentation.

Code for the build can be found here.

Animate a soda bottle structure with TrussFormer and Arduino

While you may not give soda bottles much thought beyond their intended use, researchers in Germany and the U.S. have been working on a way to turn empty bottles into kinetic art. 

The result of this work is a program called “TrussFormer,” which enables one to design a structure made out of soda bottles acting as structural beams. The structure can then be animated using an Arduino Nano to control a series of pneumatic actuators.

TrussFormer not only allows for animation design, but analyzes stresses on the moving assembly, and even generates 3D-printable files to form the proper joints.

TrussFormer is an integrated end-to-end system that allows users to 3D print large-scale kinetic structures, i.e., structures that involve motion and deal with dynamic forces.

TrussFormer builds on TrussFab, from which it inherits the ability to create large-scale static truss structures from 3D printed hubs and PET bottles. TrussFormer adds movement to these structures by placing linear actuators and hinges into them.

TrussFormer incorporates linear actuators into rigid truss structures in a way that they move “organically”, i.e., hinge around multiple points at the same time. These structures are also known as variable geometry trusses. This is illustrated on the on the example of a static tetrahedron that is converted into a moving structure by swapping one edge with a linear actuator. The only required change is to introduce connections at the nodes that enable rotation, i.e. hinges.

As for what you can build with it, be sure to check out the bottle-dinosaur in the video below! 

Winners of the Arduino/Distrelec Automation & Robotics Contest announced!

Earlier this year, Distrelec launched an Automation & Robotics Contest that invited our community to help advance Industry 4.0 leveraging the Arduino ecosystem. Submissions were required to use Arduino hardware—ranging from WiFi (MKR1000 and Yún Rev2) to GSM/narrowband (MKR FOX 1200, MKR WAN 1300, and MKR GSM 1400) to feature-rich boards like the popular Mega and Due—along with Arduino Create to set up, control, and connect their devices.

Fast forward five months and the winning entries have now been selected, with the top project receiving a Keithley DMM6500 Bench Top Multimeter and a trip to Maker Faire Rome to showcase their work. Other prizes included a Weller WT1010 Set (2nd place) and Grove Starter Kits for Arduino (3rd-10th).

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the winners!

1st Place: Arduino Data Glasses for My Multimeter

2nd Place: Industrial Line Follower for Supplying Materials

Runner-Up: Accessibility Controls for Droids

Runner-Up: Skating Robot  

Runner-Up: Autonomous Home Assistant Robot

Runner-Up: Object Avoiding FSM Robot Arm

Runner-Up: Automatic Monorail Control

Runner-Up: Smart Crops: Implementing IoT in Conventional Agriculture

Runner-Up: Building a Sensor Network for an 18th Century Gristmill

Runner-Up: Robot Arm Controlled Through Ethernet

Congratulations to everyone! Be sure to also check out the contest page to browse through several other projects, such as an IoT platform for vehicles, a universal CNC machine, a gesture-controlled robotic arm, and more!

Steampunk anglerfish is a mechanical marvel

Underneath the sea are a wide variety of strange and amazing animals. Perhaps none more so than the anglerfish, with its characteristic light-up lure in front of its face. Club Asimov decided to recreate this fish in a steampunk style, using a linkage system to actuate the tail, and another to open and shut its menacing mouth.

Three stepper motors provide power for the fish’s movements, and two Arduino boards are used for control. Additionally, the fish’s lure illuminate to attract human observers, along with a heart that rhythmically lights up.

You can see this mechanical marvel in action in the first video below, while the second provides background on how it was made.

Cat Robot’s Secret to Slim Legs? Banish the Motors!

The first thing to notice about [Bijuo]’s cat-sized quadruped robot designs (link is in Korean, Google translation here) is how slim and sleek the legs are. That’s because unlike most legged robots, the limbs themselves don’t contain any motors. Instead, the motors are in the main body, with one driving a half-circle pulley while another moves the limb as a whole. Power is transferred by a cable acting as a tendon and is offset by spring tension in the joints. The result is light, slim legs that lift and move in a remarkable gait.

[Bijuo] credits the Cheetah_Cub project as their original inspiration, and names their own variation Mini Serval, on account of the ears and in keeping with the feline nomenclature. Embedded below are two videos, the first showing leg and gait detail, and the second demonstrating the robot in motion.

There’s more than one way to make a robot cat, of course, and here’s another design that doesn’t completely evict motors from the limbs, but still manages to keep them looking sleek and nimble.

[via Let’s Make Robots]