This doesn’t have the flashy futuristic appeal that we’d like to see from high-tech robots, but this amphibious wanderer is well suited for it’s intended purpose. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to navigate mostly wet environments, collecting data about water quality as part of a distributed army of sensor bots.
The two little arms sticking out in front of it are made of carbon fiber and attached to servo motors inside. The video below the fold shows the trapezoidal body tumbling end-over end to get around. But the awkward, baby-turtle-like locomotion isn’t the only thing in its bag of movement tricks. It can also adjust its buoyancy to float, sink, or hover somewhere in the wet stuff.
To get a better look at what went into developing this, take a look at the Adelopod developed at UMN a couple of years back. We also embedded a video of that tumbling robot because they share the build details we’re always on the lookout for.
Continue reading “Aquabot gets around more than you’d think”
There are so many good things about [Jose Julio’s] robotic spider. It’s design is dainty yet robust, and the behaviors encoded in the firmware are nothing short of spectacular.
The body is built from a piece of balsa wood in between sheets of carbon fiber. The legs are carbon rods, using two servo motors for left and right leg movement, and a third servo which can move the intermediary legs like the roll axis of a plane. An IR sensor rides on the front for obstacle avoidance, with system control courtesy of an Arduino. For more hardware info check out his build log.
Don’t miss the video after the break. You’ll see that the little bot can be manually controlled, or allowed to roam free. As we said before, the behavior is fantastic. Not only has [Jose] programmed interesting characteristics like the spider getting tired and sitting down for a while, but when it is awakened it leaps into the air. The movements are fun to watch for human and feline alike; if only your house cat could be so lucky.
Continue reading “ArduSpider entertains children and exercises pets”
If you’re thinking of working with carbon fiber this guide should be a big help. The example is aimed at the automotive crowd but the principles transfer quite easily. Carbon fiber parts are constructed in a similar manner as fiberglass parts. A mold is covered in a release agent, the fibers are put in place and covered in epoxy. With fiberglass the fibers are often sprayed on but carbon fiber components use woven mats of the material to build up multiple layers. Vacuum bags are used to hold the layers together, removing air and impregnating the fibers with the epoxy. This guide even outlines the construction of a vacuum pump needed for that step.
The benefits of carbon fiber are many, including strength and weight reduction. This makes it a great material for adding parts to weight-sensitive hacks such as quadcopters. But the mesh also has an interesting look which is why it shows up in custom electronics cases. The one real drawback is that when this material fails it is a catastrophic failure, tending to crumble across the entire structure rather than limiting damage to a small area. That means that a rough landing might be the end of your new parts.
Finally, an answer to the problem of sidecar dorkiness. [François Knorreck] spent ten years hand crafting a sidecar with a beautiful design and a luxurious interior for two. The frame is aluminum, the body is mostly carbon fiber, and there are countless details such as automatic chain tension control and steering for the sidecar wheel that make this more than just a pretty paint job.
I was looking up some construction tricks and ran across this little gem. Vacuum bagging is used to compress/remove air from resin/fiberglass/carbon lay-ups. This setup uses a common refrigerator pump with some plumbing to create the constant vacuum necessary.