[Horiken Engineering], which is made up of engineering students at the department of aerospace at the University of Tokyo have developed an autonomous quadcopter that requires no external control — and its tiny. By using two cameras and a sonar sensor, the quadcopter is capable of flying by itself due to its ability to process the data from the on-board sensors. To do the complex data processing fast enough to fly, it is using a Cortex-M4 MCU, a Spartan-6 FPGA, and 64MBs of DDRSDRAM. It also has the normal parts of a quadcopter, plus gyros, a 3D printed frame and a 3-axis compass. The following video demonstrates the quadcopter’s tracking ability above a static image (or a way point). The data you see in real-time is only the flight log, as the quadcopter receives no signal — it can only transmit data.
What was supposed to be a fun 1-day build ended up turning into a 3-day journey full of close calls when [Arthur] decided to give his Roomba Internet Connectivity.
The Roomba, whom [Arthur] calls Colin, has been in service for a couple of years, and once he got his hands on the Electric Imp, he had just the project in mind. With embedded Wi-Fi and a 32-bit processor all in an SD Card form factor, the Electric Imp makes it very easy to add the “Internet of Things” to just about anything you can think of. [Arthur] wanted to gain control of the Roomba, so he tapped into the SCI (Serial Command Interface). Now he can read out the Roomba’s on-board sensor data including battery voltage, current draw, and even the temperature.
These are the kind of walk-through’s we love to see, because he did it in real-time, so you get to experience all of the “surprises” along the way. For example, he removed an external charging port to make room for the added components, but that ended up disabling the dock charger. Then he discovered that when the Roomba was charging, the input voltage to the Electric Imp breakout board was too high, so he had to introduce an intermediate voltage regulator. But perhaps the biggest bump in the road was when he accidentally brushed the Electric Imp breakout board along the Roomba’s control board while power was on. Luckily the damage was isolated to just one smoked — a simple FET. The project turned out great, and (today) Colin’s data is actually visible through a public Xively feed.
There are a million tutorials out there for building a robot with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, but they all suffer from the same problem: neither the ‘duino nor the Raspi are fully integrated solutions that put all the hardware – battery connectors, I/O ports, and everything else on the same board. That’s the problem Rex, an ARM-powered robot controller, solves.
The specs for Rex include a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 with a Video SoC and DSP core, 512 MB of RAM, USB host port, support for a camera module, and 3.5mm jacks for stereo in and out. On top of that, there’s I2C expansion ports for a servo adapter and an input and output for a 6-12 V battery. Basically, the Rex is something akin to the Beaglebone Black with the hardware optimized for a robotic control system.
Because shipping an ARM board without any software would be rather dull, the guys behind Rex came up with Alphalem OS, a Linux distro that includes scripts, sample programs, and an API for interaction with I2C devices. Of course Rex will also run other robotics operating systems and the usual Debian/Ubuntu/Whathaveu distros.
It’s an impressive bit of hardware, capable of speech recognition, and machine vision tasks with OpenCV. Combine this with a whole bunch of servos, and Rex can easily become the brains of a nightmarish hexapod robot that responds to your voice and follows you around the room.
You can pick up a Rex over on the Kickstarter with delivery due sometime this summer.
[Trandi] can check ‘build a self-balancing robot’ off of his to-do list. Over a couple of weekends, he built said robot, and, in his own words, managed not to over-design it. It even kept the attention of his 2-year-old son for several minutes, and that’s always a plus.
He was originally going to re-purpose one of his son’s RC cars, but didn’t want to risk breaking it. Instead, he designed a triangular 3-D printed chassis to hold a motor and some cogs to fit both the motor shaft and some re-used Meccano wheels. [Trandi]‘s design employs an MPU 6050 6-DOF IMU for the balancing act and is built on an Arduino Nano clone.
[Trandi] is controlling the motor with an L293D, which has built-in flyback diodes to minimize spikes. He found that the Nano clone was not powerful enough to handle everything, so he added an L7805CV voltage regulator. After the break, watch [Trandi]‘s cute bot tool around on various types of terrain, with and without a payload.
Don’t have an IMU lying around? You don’t really need one to build a self-balancing bot, as this IR-based lilliputian bot will demonstrate.
[Rick], an Adafruit learning system contributor, is excited by the implications of STEM’s reach into K-12 education. He was inspired to design Red Rover, a low-cost robot that can be easily replicated by anyone with access to a 3-D printer.
This adorable autonomous rover is based on the adafruit Trinket microcontroller, but will also rove under the power of an Arduino micro. It really is quite simple—the Trinket drives two continuous rotation micro servos and pretty much any flavor of rangefinder you like. [Rick] tested it with Parallax PING))), Maxbotix, and Grove sensors, and they all worked just fine.
What’s truly awesome about Red Rover are the track treads. [Rick] initially experimented with flexible filament. While he had good results, it was not a cost-effective solution. What you see in the picture and the short video after the break are actually rubber bracelets from Oriental Trading.
The plastic part count comes in at seven, all of which can be printed together at once. [Rick]‘s gallery includes both small and large chassis and three different servo mounts. The Red Rover guide builds on other adafruit guides for Trinket general use, servo modification, and Trinket-specific servo control.
Update: Added [Rick]‘s demo video after the break!
Are you good at mixing drinks? We think this Barbot might give you a run for your money!
Not only does this Barbot have room for 5 different liquors, but you can combine them any way you want with an extremely slick web interface that you can check out for yourself.
During initial setup, you add your chosen liquors to the machine and then using the configure mode in the web interface, you tell Barbot what it has to work with. Once these fields are populated, Barbot will list various drinks that it is capable of mixing with the provided ingredients. It also has a cleaning mode, which allows you to prime the pumps and set administrative access for your parties.
The hardware behind this build is a BeagleBone Black running Ubuntu 13.04 with Apache2, MySQL, and PHP to host the web interface — bind and DHCP are used to create the web portal using a USB WiFi dongle. The online interface directly controls the pumps using PHP via the GPIOs.
To see a full demonstration stick around after the break for the included video.
[Jia Wu, Mary Sek, and Jeff Maeshiro], students at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, took on the task of developing a walking 3D printer. The result is Geoweaver, a hexapod robot with a glue gun extruder system. Hackaday has seen walking CNC machines before, but not a 3D printer. Geoweaver uses two servos on each of its six legs to traverse the land. The team was able to program several gaits into the robot, allowing it to traverse uneven terrain. Walking is hard enough on its own, but Geoweaver also uses a glue gun based extruder to make 3D prints. The extruder head uses two servos to swing in a hemispherical arc. The arc is mapped in software to a flat
plain plane, allowing the robot to drop a dollop of glue exactly where it is programmed to. Geoweaver doesn’t include much in the way of on board processing – an Arduino Uno is used to drive the 15 servos. Those servos coupled with a glue gun style heater pull quite a bit of power, which has earned Geoweaver nicknames such as Servo Killer, Eater of Shields, Melter of Wires, and Destroyer of Regulators.
Geoweaver’s prints may not be much to look at yet, however the important thing to remember is that one of the future visions for this robot is to print on a planetary scale. Geoweaver currently uses reacTIVision to provide computer control via an “eye in the sky”. ReacTIVision tracks a fiducial marker on the robot, and applies it to a topographical map of the terrain. This allows Geoweaver to change its height and print parameters depending on the flatness of the ground it is printing on. On a scaled up Geoweaver, reacTIVision would be replaced by GPS or a similar satellite based navigation system. Most of the software used in Geoweaver is opensource, including Grasshopper and Firefly, written by the team’s professor, [Jason Kelly Johnson]. The exception is Rhino 5. We would love to see an option for a free or open source alternative to laying out ~$1000 USD in software for our own Geoweaver.