Dexterous hexapod rocks an Atom processor

[Matt Bunting's] hexapod caught Intel’s eye (and their wallet). This coordinated little bot runs Ubuntu on an Atom Z530 processor, popular in netbooks like the Dell Mini 10, and uses a webcam to coordinate and monitor its motion. Intel picked up two of them from [Matt] to exhibit at trade shows. As you can see, the 18 servos provide some gorgeous motion to the beast. It’s no DJ Roomba but it approaches the zen-like perfection that is the A-Pod.

[Thanks Miked]

21 thoughts on “Dexterous hexapod rocks an Atom processor

  1. I blame the A-Pod for starting my obsession with ee and hacking crap together from old printers and scanners (without success so far – but thats because I am a dick).

    So…with that background, in my humblest of opinions, I think the A-Pod is/was better. The motion was creepy, and certainly more realistic. Its a shame it and this walk so spazzy.

    Sorry, but spazzy was the best term I could think of that didn’t poo poo someones super efforts and skills…I would be interested in being sent to some resources that talk about the rationale behind hexapods walking ‘spazzy’. Is it weight, power/torque of the servos, programming???

    Looking to learn, never to burn
    tehgringe.

  2. I could totally see these things being the main source of space exploration for NASA in 5-10 years. No more buggy wheels, but they definitely would have to make a fail-safe.

  3. Actually, maybe the atom in there isn’t overkill for this little thing, as it apparently crunches some AI in order to calculate a path, which may or may not need more processing power than a relatively puny MCU can supply.

  4. To me it seems like the hexapod spent more energy moving it’s legs than it was worth to get to the desired destination. Someone do some genetic algorithms and see what the most efficient way to move six legs is.

  5. Great build. Atom is the perfect on the market processor for this application. Swift, quick and has a relitive low power consumption. High end high capacity batteries cost big dollars and for a beta type unit I do not see anything wrong with use an external power source. Heck NASA does the same thing with there beta testers.

  6. @isama : Well, yes, if all it’s doing is controlling the servos. But if there’s real vision going on you want all the horsepower you can get.

    @droidguy : Right, that’s why you’ll never see Atom based portable devices such as, say, netbooks :p

  7. The interesting bit of the project is the learning algorithms. Anyone can make the hardware nowadays, and do some inverse kinematic solutions, yet half the posters on this thread can’t seem to get beyond that with the scope of their comments.

    Efficient adaptive algorithms for this kind of application are a fascinating and broad area of research, and the creator should be congratulated for having a go. The hardware is pretty too, but that’s by-the-by.

  8. The processor chip is described as a little more recent design amount however it and the GPU are most likely the similar pace as the 3GS. The old Contact with the same CPU and GPU as the 3G was quicker. Besides having the clock speed turned up greater the Touch has less software programs to run because it is not a telephone. It ought to defeat any iPhone to day in overall performance.

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