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!

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Move Aside Boston Dynamics, ATRIAS is Coming!

ATRIAS has just taken its first steps outside on grass, marking an impressive achievement for this university robotics project.

Built by Oregon State University, ATRIAS is a bipedal robot whose name in jest stands for “Assume The Robot Is A Sphere”. It’s an old physics joke really, which describes how any complex scientific model can be reduced to its simplest form in order perform calculations — but sometimes (always) makes its application in reality a challenge…

We’re sure you all remember BD’s Big Dog and its impressive ability to throw freaking cinder blocks — but remember, it has four legs and a tail — or is it a trunk — an arm? ATRIAS on the other hand is a true threat to humanity and our unique ability to walk around on two legs. And the mechanism they made for it is pretty damn clever.

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Project Sentinel — A Bipedal Walking Robot

Bipedal-Walking-Sentinel-Project-500x375

[Ye Guan] has always been fascinated by walking robots — so he decided to build his own. It’s called Project Sentinel, and he’s loosely based the design off of the Sentinel Walker from Warhammer 40K, and the two-legged AT-AT walker from Star Wars.

Both of these robots are based off of a bird’s walking style. Scientifically this is called the digitgrade walking style, which means they stand and walk on their digits (toes) — this typically allows them to move more quickly and quietly than most other animals.

[Ye] has managed to achieve this for his project using 8 servo motors, balancing the center of mass directly above the feet. Think about it like a reverse pendulum, which is supported by the servos torque and balanced by a gyroscope. He plans to have it fully autonomous with sensor feedback.

It’s not done yet, but he’s already released all the CAD files and a nice build log for anyone to attempt it themselves — we’re excited to see the final product. Just take a look at it walking in place after the break!

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RC car transforms into RC robot

Transformer

After nearly 30 years since the first episode of Transformers aired, someone has finally done it. A company named Brave Robotics out of Japan has created a true transformer robot that is half remote control car and half remote control bipedal robot.

According to the Brave Robotics’ site, this creation is the result of more than 10 years. In 2002, the first version of the Transform Robot was completed – a relatively simple affair that transformed but couldn’t walk or drive. Over the last 10 years, the prototypes have seen incremental improvement that included a drive system for the wheels, a steering mechanism, and even the ability to move its’ arms and shoot plastic darts.

Surprisingly, you can actually buy one of Brave Robotics’ transforming robots for ¥1,980,000 JPY, or about $24,000 USD. A little pricy but we’re sure we’ll see a few more transforming robots in the future.

Check out a few more videos of the Brave Robotics transform robot after the break.

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Update on [James’] bipedal robot

From the looks of the latest update [James] has made quite a bit of progress on his bipedal robot. He added to the top of the post just a few days ago, but didn’t include the video link which you’ll find embedded after the break. There’s about ten minutes of explanation before he gets down to demonstrating the static and dynamic balance which can be chosen using the buttons on a TV remote.

We looked in on the project about one year ago. The most notable change is the control electronics anchored in the torso of the robot. At first it makes us a bit nervous that he hasn’t built a protective cage around the components. But after seeing the latest stability demonstration we guess it’s because this thing is fantastic at staying upright. The torso is connected at the hips in such a way that no matter where each leg is it will always remain upright. All together the thing stands twenty-six inches tall, but that will grow when he gets around to building a head for it.

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Humanoid robot will eventually take over the world

Over the last two years, [Mark] at the Harford (and Baltimore) Hackerspace has been building 401k, a humanoid robot that will soon be able to walk on two legs, detect objects, and fight along with its comrades in the robot insurrection that leads to the extinction of man.

To get an idea of how complicated a humanoid robot is, realize the Honda ASIMO has been an ongoing project for over a decade now and can be easily defeated by stairs. [Mark] doesn’t have the benefit of millions of dollars in funding or dozens of lab assistants – in one video, [Mark] shows us the foot pads made out of [George Foreman] grill lids and hip joints made out of DVD players. Even though he’s using “unconventional” parts, 401k still has a very advanced pair of legs that model their human analog very well.

Even though it’s still a work in progress, there’s an incredible amount of work and expertise that is going into this build. [Mark] is wants to take 401k to this year’s RoboGames next month. We hope he gets his build walking in time, even for a few baby steps.

You can check out more of the 401k build vlog on [Mark]’s YouTube channel.