Posts with «robots» label

Standbeest-inspired ClearCrawler robot clomps around on 8 legs

When you want to build a walking robot, the normal route is to individually control each leg with a number of servos or other actuators. Maker Jeremy S. Cook, however, took a different approach with his ‘ClearCrawler,’ using only a pair of motors to power eight legs. These legs are divided up into sets of four on either side of the bot, allowing for differential control similar to a tank.

The leg linkage design is based on Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest mechanism, and a clear head is also implemented with a pair of 8×8 MAX7219 LED matrix eyes. Onboard control is handled by an Arduino Nano and an L298N driver board, while an Uno with a joystick shield serves as the user interface. Radio transmission is via two nRF24L01 modules.

Code for both the transmitter and receiver can be found on GitHub.

Arduino Blog 23 Jul 19:40

Zeus is a humanoid that can hold a conversation

As seen in the videos below, Zeus is a metallic humanoid robot capable of moving its head and arms around, featuring a pair of hand grippers that should be quite useful when the time comes. For now, creator Luis appears to be focusing on its vocal skills, with plans to eventually teach it how to walk.

The robot can engage in conversation with its companion, whether it’s answering questions like “What’s your name?” with“My name is Zeus,” or “What’s your favorite movie?” with “I wasn’t that impressed with the special effects, also the plot was not deep.” Zeus even lets Luis know when he “has no idea what to say.”

Zeus’ communication and movement are accomplished through a variety of hardware, including an Arduino Mega and an AAEON UP board, as well as an Intel RealSense Camera SR300 for vision. Luis is also using CMUSphinx for voice recognition, eSpeak for text-to-speech and AIML chatbot for interactive responses.

Perhaps we’ll see this ~1/2-sized humanoid traipsing around on its own in the future, though hopefully its comment about “taking over the world” was just a joke!

Store and replay this robot’s movements from your phone

Robotic arms can be interesting, as are robots that roll around—especially on a semi-exotic Mecanum wheel setup. Dejan Nedelkovski’s latest How To Mechatronics build, however, combines both into one package.

This project actually starts out in a previous post, where he constructs the moving base with Mecanum wheels, enabling it to slide and rotate in any direction.

In this final(?) stage, he adds a five-axis robot arm mounted on top of its boxy frame, or six-axis if you count the gripper. Either way, the arm uses a total of six servos for actuation, and the base of the bot travels around under the power of four stepper motors. Each motor is controlled by an Arduino Mega, using a custom shield, allowing repeatable movements in any direction. These can be stored and replayed via the robot’s custom Android app as desired.

Random sticks made to walk under Arduino control

What if you were to neglect a robot’s mechanical design entirely and instead construct it out of unusual materials like random sticks? Researchers from the University of Tokyo and Preferred Networks have done just that. To accomplish this feat, the engineers first scanned and weighed the branches, then used deep reinforcement learning to teach the new contraption to walk.

The branch-bots were then constructed in the real world using generic servos, and controlled via an Arduino Mega tether setup with a motor driver and a separate power supply.

You can see one of these bots moving around in the video below, though this configuration ironically seems to have more trouble when dropped off at its native forest habitat. Be sure to read more about this research in IEEE Spectrum‘s article here.

This project aims at creating bricolages of robots out of tree branches found at hand. Through the process in which natural objects learn how to walk by themselves, the artwork portrays the perspectives of objects. Unlike the top-down process where functions of mechanical systems are explicitly defined by designers, this project puts an emphasis on the emergence of functions, which is a bottom-up process where found objects seek for the function as a whole.

Images: Azumi Maekawa/University of Tokyo

This robotic fish is powered by its own artificial circulatory system

Hydraulically-actuated robots are nothing new, but normally they come with a battery or external supply of some sort. This lifelike robotic lionfish developed by Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania researchers, however, has its own artificial circulatory that pumps synthetic ‘blood’ to help flap its fins and as the device’s power source itself. 

The trick is that the liquid is actually the cathode of a battery built into the fish, which powers its two hydraulic actuators, as well as the Arduino Uno control system. This integral battery—which would be analogous to blood in a real fish—gives it enough energy to operate untethered for 36 hours, though as it swims at 1.56 body lengths per minute, so it can use all the time it can get!

As James Pikul, a co-author on the study and researcher at Penn, told Gizmodo:

In our synthetic vascular system, the fluid stores chemical energy which we can use to power the fish robot. As the fluid is pumped through the fish robot, the moving fluid also causes the robot to move. The vascular system, therefore, is multifunctional. It is these multiple functions that allow the robot to maintain its dexterity while also having a long operational time.

You can also read more in IEEE Spectrum‘s article here.

Arduino Blog 20 Jun 14:02

This self-balancing mech is piloted by an insect

You’ve seen self-balancing robots, where a pair of wheels suspend a mass above them in what’s known as an inverted pendulum configuration. As neat as they are, the “Augmented Arthropod” by Grzegorz Lochnicki and Nicolas Kubail Kalousdian puts a new spin on things. 

The structure for the build consists of three platforms separated on threaded rod and a couple of rather standard DC gear motors. Electronics include an Arduino Uno, a BNO055 IMU, and an L298N motor driver. 

Where things get a bit interesting, though, is that the mech is piloted by the movements of an insect placed inside a plastic case using two HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors. 

Perhaps the most valuable part of the project write-up is the discussion about how it balances via PID, or proportional, integral, and derivative control. 

Hoverboard motors turned into an RC skater

While the hoverboard craze has faded somewhat, the good news is that this means their powerful wheel motors can easily be found on online auction sites. Lukas Kaul took advantage of this component’s availability and created his own “HoverBot,” which as shown in Felix von Drigalski’s video below, acts as something in between a radio-controlled skateboarder and a rather large self-balancing bot.

The device is built around an Arduino Mega, which takes input from an RC receiver, along with a Bosch BNO055 IMU, and passes appropriate signals to the motors through an ODrive controller. 

The HoverBot is a bit unsteady at high speeds, requiring close operator supervision. However, it looks like a lot of fun, especially when attempting tricks—sometimes successfully—at a skate park.

Solving the Rubik’s cube with an Arduino-powered machine

Since its invention in 1974, Rubik’s cubes have been entertaining and frustrating those that choose to take on the challenge of aligning their shapes. More recently, however, people have been building algorithms and machinery to do it for them, including Mario Milanesio’s Arduino Rubik Solver, or ARS.

ARS, which was constructed with the help of Milanseio’s students, is comprised of several 3D-printed and laser-cut parts. The device utilizes a series of four stepper motors to rotate the cube, along with two more to pull the grippers back when needed. 

Solving is assisted by the ARS Studio software package, which lets users program in the existing color sequence. It then sends movement commands to an Arduino Uno over serial, which controls the motors via six A4988 Pololu drivers to complete the puzzle.

VR boxing robot actually punches back

VR environments are meant to be immersive, but if you’ve ever thought what was missing is being actually pummeled by robotic fists, then James Bruton’s newest project could be just the thing. 

Bruton recently teamed up with students from Portsmouth University to build a robot that works in the real world, and coordinates its movements with a virtual setting displayed on the human’s headset.

The robot itself is controlled by an Arduino Mega, and features a differential (tank) drive with encoders for feedback. Shoulders can tilt from left to right, and the actual punching motion is handled by pneumatic actuators built from modified bicycle pumps. Robo-fists are covered by boxing gloves to keep humans relatively safe, and flesh-based competitors are given a small shield and sword-bat with which to fight back!

I worked on this project with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University CCI faculty. The robot hardware is controlled over a serial interface, the team built an VR game which controls the robot, so when you get hit in VR you get hit in real life! The robot is tracked back into VR with Vive trackers so it stays in sync.

Arduino Blog 15 May 23:25

Clean your whiteboard automatically with Wipy

If you have to do a lot of drawing on a whiteboard, you also have to clean it. Why not have a robot do this instead? That’s the idea behind Wipy, an Arduino Uno-based robot that uses magnets to stick it to the board, plus grippy wheels and motors to power it across your scribbles.

Wipy employs an array of IR sensors that enable it to act as a line follower, along with a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to detect your hand on the board. While one might assume this sensing arrangement would prevent it from erasing your work-in-progress, it annoyingly allows it to start erasing immediately when you start drawing on the board. At least it has a cute LED face!

Did you ever get tired of cleaning the whiteboard? Have you ever wondered how much your life would improve if a robot could do this for you? You now have the chance to make this a reality with Wipy: the overly motivated whiteboard cleaner. Wipy will properly clean your embarrassingly bad drawings, and it will even do it with a cute smile. You don’t even need to activate it! It will just clean the board when you least expect it… Uhhh…*cough cough*…we, of course, mean: when you need it most!

– Our future friend will be able to stick to the board using magnets and is able to move through space using grippy wheels.

– It will be able to follow a line and erase it using a line-following sensor and a sponge.

– Wipy has the ability to measure the distance to your hand using a time-of-flight sensor.

– We will give Wipy a cute personality using a small OLED screen.