Biped Bob Walks and Dances

If you have a few servo motors, an Arduino, and a Bluetooth module, you could make Biped Bob as a weekend project. [B. Aswinth Raj] used a 3D printer, but he also points out that you could have the parts printed by a service or just cut them out of cardboard. They aren’t that complex.

Each of Bob’s legs has two servo motors: one for the hip and one for the ankle. Of course, the real work is in the software, and the post breaks it down piece-by-piece. In addition to the Arduino code, there’s an Android app written using Processing. You can build it yourself, or download the APK. The robot connects to the phone via BlueTooth and provides a simple user interface to do a few different walking gaits and dances. You can see a few videos of Biped Bob in action, below.

This wouldn’t be a bad starter project for a young person or anyone getting started with robotics, especially if you have a 3D printer. However, it is fairly limited since there are no sensors. Then again, that could be version two, if you were feeling adventurous.

We have mixed feelings about the BlueTooth control. BlueTooth modules are cheap and readily available, but so are ESP8266s. It probably would not be very difficult to put Bob on WiFi and let him serve his own control page to any web browser.

If Bob meets Jimmy, he may find himself envious. However, Jimmy would be a little more challenging to build. We’ve actually seen quite a few walking ‘bots over the years. Continue reading “Biped Bob Walks and Dances”

Walk Your Pet Robot

Anyone who’s ever tried to build a bipedal robot will quickly start pulling their own hair out. There are usually a lot of servos involved, and controlling them all in a cohesive way is frustrating to say the least. [Mark] had this problem while trying to get his robot to dance, and to solve it he built a control system for a simple bipedal robot that helps solve this problem.

[Mark]’s robot has six servo motors per leg, for a total of 12 degrees of freedom. Commands are sent to the robot with an RC radio, and the control board that he built, called the Smart Servo Controller, receives the signals and controls the servos appropriately. There are 14 outputs for servos, operating at 12 bits and 50 Hz each, as well as 8 input channels. The servo controller can be programmed on a computer with user-selectable curves for various behaviors for each of the servos on the project. This eliminates the need to write cumbersome programs for simple robot movements, and it looks like it does a pretty good job!

Full disclosure: [Mark] currently has this project up on Kickstarter, but it is a unique take on complex robot control that could help out in a lot of different ways. Since you don’t need to code anything, it could lower the entry barrier for this type of project, possibly opening it up to kids or school projects. Beyond that, even veterans of these types of projects could benefit by not having to do as much brute-force work to get their creations up and moving around!

Continue reading “Walk Your Pet Robot”

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.

Continue reading “Velociraptor Robot Ready to Run with The Big Dogs”

ROS gains full body telemetry

[Taylor Veldrop] has been playing with an NAO robot and ROS, mixed with a Kinect to get some pretty amazing results. The last time we saw any work done with ROS and the Kinect, it was allowing some basic telemetry using the PR2. [Tyler] has taken this a step further allowing for full body control of the NAO robot. Basic mimicking mixed with a little bit of autonomy allow the NAO to follow his steps around a room and even slice a bananna, or hammer nails. We think this is pretty impressive, especially if he were to mix it together with a motion tracking stereoscopic display. Follow along after the break to see it pull off some of these cool feats.

Continue reading “ROS gains full body telemetry”

Chumby takes its first steps

nice screen image, though I doubt he'll ever catch us at that speed.

[Eric Gregory] has gone a bit mad scientist on the Chumby, turning it into a bipedal bot. We expected all kinds of cool chumby hacking, but we can’t say we saw this one coming. [Eric] points out that with a 454Mhz processor, 64MB of RAM, 2GB of expandable storage and a USB host port, the Chumby is more than capable as a robotics platform.  With the addition of a mysterious and soon to be announced sensor board, he has made this chumby into a walking biped. While anyone who can write programs for linux, or even write flash applications can create software for the chumby, [Eric] chose to port the Robot Vision Toolkit over. This opens the doors to people who can write in Basic or who have written for the C64 or Apple][. You can see a video of this guy in action after the break.

Continue reading “Chumby takes its first steps”


At first, watching this video of MABEL, a bipedal robot for studying dynamic gaits, we didn’t know if we should be scared or feel sad. By the end, we know that sadness prevailed. Poor MABEL, forced into a  grueling routine, is not even allowed to rest when her leg breaks.

To be serious though, MABEL is quite impressive. Instead of using a direct drive on the legs, motors are attached to springs that act like tendons. This helps compensate for variances in the walking surface, hopefully allowing for smoother transitions between gaits as well. As you can see, MABEL handles the height differences quite well, albeit a bit slowly. It is worth noting that there are no visual sensors on MABEL and everything is done through feedback from her gait.

Biped walks with eight servos

This tiny biped shows a lot of coordination in its movements. As you can see, eight servo motors account for the locomotion with an ATmega8 as the brains of the operation. Posts for the first and second generation of this little guy feature several videos. We gather that a spreadsheet is being used to tweak the preprogrammed movement sequences. Trial and error, that’s how humans learned to walk, right?

[Thanks Lazas]