Hexapod Robot Terrifies Humans and Wallets

hexapod

[Kevin] brings us Golem, his latest robot project. Golem is crafted not of clay and stone like his namesake, but of T6 Aluminum and Servos. We don’t have a banana for scale, but Golem is big. Not [Jamie Mantzel's] Giant Robot Project big, but at 2.5 feet (76.2 cm) in diameter and 16 lbs (7.3 Kg), no one is going to call Golem a lightweight. With that kind of mass, standard R/C servos don’t stand much of a chance. [Kevin] pulled out all the stops and picked up Dynamixel MX64 servos for Golem’s legs. Those servos alone propelled the Golem’s costs well beyond the budget of the average hobbyist. Kevin wasn’t done though. He added an Intel NUC motherboard with a fourth generation i5 processor, a 120 Gigabyte solid state drive, and 8 Gigbytes of Ram.  Sensing is handled by gyros, accelerometers, and an on-board compass module. We’re assuming from the lack of a GPS that Golem will mainly see indoor use. We definitely like the mini subwoofer mounted on Golem’s back. Hey, even robots gotta have their tunes.

Golem is currently walking under human control via a Dualshock 3 controller paired via bluetooth. [Kevin's] goal is to use Golem to learn Robotic Operating System (ROS). He’s already installed ubuntu 13.04 and is ready to go. [Kevin] didn’t mention a vision system, but based on the fact that some of his other robots use the Xtion pro live, we’re hopeful. We can’t wait to see Golem’s first autonomous steps.

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Roving Hexapod Poops Out 3D Prints

geoweaver

[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.

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Stompy, the 18-foot, 2-ton hexapod is ready for production

Stampy

Over at the Artisan’s Asylum hackerspace in Somerville, MA, something terrifically awesome is happening. They’re building an 18-foot diameter, 2-ton ridable hexapod that can walk over a car. It’s called Project Hexapod and they need your help.

Over the last year or so, the team behind Project Hexapod has developed an amazingly inexpensive hydraulic control system for each of the six legs and created a 1:1 model of the leg fastened to a wheeled cart to get the kinematics down pat. Now, with thousands of pounds of steel already watercut for the legs, they’re turning to the community for a little help with the welding.

The Project Hexapod team estimates they have about 1100 hours of welding time in front of them. They’re looking for a few people around the Boston area that are familiar with steel fabrication and are willing to work on a two-ton robot that can walk over a Volkswagen Beetle.

The guys have put up a little application form if you meet those basic requirements. You can also check out their Facebook page for any announcements and a whole lot of pictures.

Leap motion controls hexapod with hand signals

leap-motion-hexapod-hand-control

Moving your hand makes this hexapod dance like a stringless marionette. Okay, so there’s obviously one string which is actually a wire but you know what we mean. The device on the floor is a Leap Motion sensor which is monitoring [Queron Williams'] hand gestures. This is done using a Processing library which leverages the Leap Motion API.

Right now the hand signals only affect pitch, roll, and yaw of the hexapod’s body. But [Queron] does plan to add support for monitoring both hands to add more control. We look at the demo after the break and think this is getting pretty close to the manipulations shown by [Tom Cruise] in Minority Report. Add Google Glass for a Heads Up Display and you could have auxiliary controls rendered on the periphery.

While you’re looking at [Queron's] project post click on his ‘hexapod’ tag to catch a glimpse the build process for the robot.

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Charlotte, the hexapod with 3D vision

spider

Charlotte’s chassis comes from as a kit, but the stock electronics are based on an Arduino – not something for a robot that needs to run computer vision apps. [Kevin] ended up using a Raspi for the controller and gave Charlotte eyes with an Asus XTION. Edit: or a PrimeSense sensor These sensors are structured light depth cameras just like the kinect, only about smaller, lighter, and have a better color output.

Hardware is only one half of the equation, so [Kevin] tossed the Arduino-based stock electronics and replaced them with a Raspberry Pi. This allowed him to hone his C++ skills and add one very cool peripheral – the XTION depth camera.

To the surprise of many, we’re sure, [Kevin] is running OpenNI on his Raspberry Pi, allowing Charlotte to take readings from her depth camera and keep from colliding into any objects. The Raspberry Pi is overclocked, of course, and the CPU usage is hovering around 90%, but if you’re looking for a project that uses a depth sensor with a Pi, there you go.

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3d printed hexapod robot

3d-printed-hexapod

This hexapod was made almost entirely via 3d printing (translated). The parts that you need to supply include a few fasteners to make connections, twelve servo motors, and a method of driving them. As you can see in the video after the break, all those parts come together into a little robot that functions quite well. The only thing that we think is missing are some grippy feet to help prevent slipping.

[Hugo] calls the project Bleuette. It is completely open source, with the cad files and source code available on his Github repository. There is additional information in the wiki page of that repo. This gives us a good look at the electronic design. He’s controlling the legs with an Arduino, but it’s all dependent on his own shield which features a PIC 18F452 to take care of the signals used to drive all of the servo motors. The board also has some peripherals to monitor the current draw and regulate the incoming power.

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The Hexapod Hexacopter

Hexapod Hexacopter

Over at Mad Lab Industries, they had the idea of building a quadcopter that could walk and fly. By combining a hexapod with a hexacopter, they ended up with this creation.

The hexapod part started off with PhantomX Hexapod Kit, but it was far too heavy to fly. To reduce weight, they manufactured carbon fibre parts for the frame and legs. Even with the weight reductions, they still needed to six rotors to keep it stable.

The hexacopter part of the build uses more custom carbon fibre parts to mount the motors. The booms and mounts are also custom built out of aluminium. They used six E-Flite motors, propellers, and ESCs to provide lift.

A variety of controllers are used to run the robot. Two Arbotix devices handle the hexapod control, and a Hoverfly flight controller keeps it in the air. It’s controlled remotely using a Spektrum controller.

They have some ambitious next steps, including a mechanism that disconnects and reconnects the hexacopter and the base. After the break, check out a video of this impressive build in action.

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