Posts with «robotics platform» label

Build your own life-size, multipurpose robot with Arduino

If you’ve always wanted a bot for a friend, personal assistant or butler, you’re in luck. John Choi, a Carnegie Mellon University computer science and arts student, has managed to build his own life-size robotics platform for about $2,000. Sure, a price tag like that may not seem “cheap” but in comparison to other research-grade platforms out there, it’s a bargain.

Ideal for Makers, students, educators, artists and researchers alike, the Multipurpose Mobile Manipulator Mk 1 is capable of playing the piano, drawing pictures, preparing meals, watering plants, and engaging in toy sword duels, among many other things.

The Multipurpose Mobile Manipulator is divided into three major parts: the base, the arms, and the chest. The base contains motors for mobility and batteries to power the robot, enabling it to navigate around. The arms contain adaptable grippers, shoulder and elbow joints, and an extensible limb for grabbing and moving things with its environment. Meanwhile, the chest connects all of these together with control electronics and serves as a platform for an intelligent laptop-for-a-face. An Arduino Mega at its heart makes interfacing with sensors and actuators super easy, while the robot’s functionality can also be expanded by simply attaching new electronics and sensors to its mounting areas.

The open-source platform is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, and supports Python 2.7 and Arduino libraries. According to Choi, libraries for Unity, Processing, ROS, MATLAB, C++, and Scratch are also in the works.

Those interested in building their own should check out Choi’s incredibly-detailed 80-step tutorial, and watch the robot take on some tasks below. Prepare to be amazed!


SparkFun launches ProtoSnap MiniBot for the budding roboticist

SparkFun struck a chord with many when it released the ProtoSnap series last year. The perforated perfboard housed not only a tiny Arduino compatible chip, but a small host of sensors and components that made assembling simple projects a snap (pun not only intended, but relished). Tomorrow, the company will begin selling the next member of its ProtSnap family -- the MiniBot. Just like its predecessors, the ProtoSnap MiniBot is based around an Arduino compatible microcontroller (specifically ATmega328) and features a number of components that can easily be detached when you're ready to move from prototype to a more permanent arrangement. The onboard selection components is fairly limited. The base is a relatively bare perfboard with a 9v battery holder on one side and two wheels connected to a motor on the other. Up front is two IR sensors that can be used for basic controls.

Of course, it's simple enough to expand on the basic platform with any host of sensors and components, like servos or RF receivers. Ultimately it's up to your imagination and skill level, which is why SparkFun is primarily targeting the kits at the educational market. The company's new educational outreach program is making a big push to put the ProtoSnap MiniBot in classrooms across the country, starting with high schools and trade schools, as a bridge from more simplistic robotics kits to the more advanced projects tackled at the university level. The completely open source robotics platform will be available tomorrow for $74.95. As soon as we can get our mitts on one our own we'll return with a thorough hands on... one that reveals just how much smarter the average high school kid is than us.

SparkFun launches ProtoSnap MiniBot for the budding roboticist originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 31 May 2012 16:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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