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Industrial Light Painting Steps It Up A Few

industrial light painting

What would you do if you had access to an industrial ABB IRB 6640 robot? We’d probably make a giant 3D printer, but if you’re [Jeff Crossman] and [Kevyn McPhail], you’d make one of the most advanced light painting setups we’ve ever seen.

The setup itself is really quite simple — a single RGB LED is connected to a Teensy microcontroller on a tool-head for the robot — controlling the robot is the hard (fun?) part. To create the images, [Jeff] had several students come in to have their photographs taken using a Microsoft Kinect. This allowed him to create an RGB point cloud for the robot to recreate.

Using Rhino he created the tool paths required for the robot to build up a floating 3D image of the students for the camera taking the long exposure. Each demonstration made use of ~5000 points, which takes the robot arm about 25 minutes to place.

It’s a fascinating video, and yes it does seem like a bit of overkill, but hey — why not?

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The Un-Digital Robotic Arm

556When you think of a robotic arm, you’re probably thinking about digital control, microcontrollers, motor drivers, and possibly a feedback loop. Anyone who was lucky enough to have an Armatron knows this isn’t the case, but you’d still be surprised at how minimal a robotic arm can be.

[viswesh713] built a servo-powered robotic arm without a microcontroller, and with some interpretations, no digital control at all. Servos are controlled by PWM signals, with a 1 ms pulse rotating the shaft one way and a 2 ms pulse rotating the shaft the other way. What’s a cheap, popular chip that can easily be configured as a timer? Yep, the venerable 555.

The robotic arm is actually configured more like a Waldo with a master slave configuration. [viswesh] built a second arm with pots at the hinges, with the resistance of the pots controlling the signal output from a 556 dual timer chip. It’s extremely clever, at least until you realize this is how very early robotic actuators were controlled. Still, an impressive display of what can be done with a simple 555. Videos below.

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Velociraptor Robot Ready to Run with The Big Dogs


[Jongwon Park] and his team of students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have created a fast biped robot based upon the Velociraptor. Raptor weighs in at just 3Kg, and stands only 470mm tall, yet it is capable of running at 46 km/h. That’s almost as fast as Boston Dynamic’s Cheetah.

Raptor uses carbon fiber composite legs to absorb and release energy while running. The system is similar to that used in high performance prosthetic legs. A rotating tail assembly further helps to balance Raptor on rough terrain. We have to admit, the tail system does look a bit dangerous for any humans who might need to interact with the robot. It does work though, as evidenced by Raptor bounding over Styrofoam blocks.

The Raptor robot is quite impressive when running at full speed. Considering this project’s budget was nowhere near the resources of Boston Dynamics, it’s an amazing accomplishment. The video reminds us of  Boston Dynamics founder [Marc Raibert's] early robots at the MIT Leg Lab. We can’t wait to see what this team produces in the future.

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Automated Home Manufacturing Combining 3D Printing With Robotics

automated 3d printer

[Florian] has been hard at work creating this automated setup to queue jobs for his 3D printer in order for it to run while he’s not around. It’s not quite finished but the concept is there and he’s started doing some tests! 

He’s using the uArm, which was a highly successful kickstarter earlier this year – it’s an Arduino-compatible microcontroller driven 4-axis parallel-mechanism robot arm, based off of the industrial ABB PalletPack robot.

As soon as he got all the parts he setup a quick test to replace the build platforms using the uArm.

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Robot-Army IRL Plus a Massive Build Log


We went to “the dark room” at Maker Faire once more for an interview with [Sarah] of Robot-Army. She and [Mark], who handles software development for the project, were showing off 30 delta robots who know how to dance. Specifically they’re dancing in unison to the movements of another faire-goer. A Kinect sensor monitors those movements and translates them to matching motions from the deltabots.

You should remember seeing this project back in November. Now that the standards for this model have been worked out it was just a matter of sinking about three-weeks into assembling the army. We’re happy to see that the Kickstarter made it to 250% of the goal at the beginning of March, and with that there are even bigger plans. [Sarah] says the goal remains to fill a room with the robots and a we may even see a much larger version some day.

The interview is a bit short since the Robot-Army booth was right next to Arc Attack (hence the noise-cancelling headphones) and we had to try to get in and out between their ear-drum-shattering interruptions. But you can see a ton more about the project in this huge build log post over on Hackaday.io. Also check out the Robot-Army webpage. There’s a nice illustration of their adventures at MFBA and the foam Jolly Wrencher made it into the piece!

Meet Jimmy: An Open Source Biped Robot From Intel


Intel’s CEO [Brian Krzanich] stopped by the Re/Code conference to announce Jimmy, the first robot from the 21st Century Robot project. The project is the brainchild of [Brian David Johnson], Intel’s resident futurist. We love the project’s manifesto:

 Robot Is: Imagined first. Easy to build. Completely open source. Fiercely social. Intentionally iterative. Filled with humanity and dreams. Thinking for her/him/itself.

Jimmy may not be all those things yet, but he definitely is exciting. For starters, he wasn’t built in some secret lab at Intel HQ. Much of Jimmy’s construction took place at Trossen Robotics, a name well known to Hackaday. [Matt] and [Andrew] at Trossen describe all the details in their video down past the break.

This version of Jimmy is a research robot, which mean’s he’s not going to come cheap. Jimmy sports an Intel i5 NUC motherboard, 20 Dynamixel servos, a 5052 aluminum frame and a host of sensors. A  4S 14.8v 4000mAh LiPo battery will power Jimmy for 30 to 60 minutes between charges, so be sure to budget for a few spare packs. The most striking aspect of Jimmy is his 3D printed shell. The 21st Century Robot Project gave him large, friendly eyes and features, which will definitely help with the social aspect of their goals.

Jimmy is all about open source. He can run two flavors of Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or a custom version of Yocto Pokey. There is a lot to be said for running and developing on the same hardware. No specialized toolchains for cross compiling, no NFS shares to move binaries around. If you need to make a change, you can plug a monitor (or launch an VNC session) and do everything with Jimmy’s on-board computer. Jimmy’s software stack is based upon the DARwIn OP platform, and a ROS port is in the works.

We’re excited about Jimmy, but at $16,000 USD, he’s a bit outside our budget. Thankfully a smaller consumer version of Jimmy will soon be available for around 1/10th the cost.

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Synergizer: The Emergency Key-Turn Barbot

Synergizer: Emergency Drink Dispenser

It’s been a rough day at the office. You need a break. But by yourself? No, what you need is to be Synergized! This Barbot only works if all four keys are inserted and turned — kind of like a nuclear launch procedure — only then will it dispense four perfectly sized drinks to make your day better.

The Synergizer uses an Arduino to control a belt driven linear actuator which moves the spout from cup to cup. A series of reed switches along the length provide feedback to the system for positional control. The machine makes use of a peristaltic pump, called the Bartendro Dispenser, which pumps an exact volume of your liquid of choice into each cup. The cool thing with peristaltic pumps is they are self priming,and capable of pumping an exact volume of liquid every time.

[Nick Poole], the designer, also included a CPU fan and heat-sink paired up with a peltier plate in order to also chill the liquid as it is being pumped. To make it even more interesting, he added a four key override, so the Synergizer can only be used if all four unique keys are inserted.

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