R/C Rock Crawler Prepped to Become Stair Climbing Robot

rc-robot-frame

[Starlino] is working on an autonomous mobile robot. Like many before him, he looked to the radio controlled car world for a base frame. He found a good candidate in a rock crawler model called “Mad Torque”. Crawlers have been around for years, but they’ve recently been getting more popular. As always, popularity leads to lower priced entry-level models, which puts this crawler at a reasonable price for a robot frame. As the name implies, rock crawlers are all about crawling. Relatively low speeds, locked differentials, four-wheel drive, and (optional) four-wheel steering.

Of course, [Starlino] had to test drive his frame out before tearing it down to install electronics. As long time R/C modelers ourselves, we can’t blame him. Testing uncovered one major problem. The Mad Torque wasn’t quite mad enough to climb the stairs in his house. The front tires would grab and pull over the first step, but the wheelbase wasn’t quite long enough for the rear wheels to grab hold.

[Starlino's] solution was to extend the wheelbase. For most 4WD R/C cars or trucks this would be a major problem, as the motors are mounted amidships. An extended wheelbase would mean also extending the drive shafts or belts. This isn’t a problem with rock crawlers. Crawlers need to support huge amounts of suspension articulation. Rather than create complex drive linkages, the common design is to place an electric motor on each axle. This isn’t the greatest idea in terms of unsprung mass, but it does make for easy wheelbase changes. [Starlino] found that the design was so modular he could bolt a second chassis up to the original. The new rear chassis bolted to the front at the top shock mounts. An extra set of battery brackets formed a lower brace. The new extended truck was long enough to clear the steps, though it does still struggle a bit, as can be seen in the video. We think larger diameter tires might help a bit here. [Starlino's] next step is to ditch the R/C unit and give this ‘bot a brain!

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Crawling zombie is shockingly creepy

When [Mark] sent in the tip about this crawling zombie prop he said that it didn’t sound scary but warned us that it is terrifying when you see it. He’s absolutely right, the video after the break shows some remarkably undead movement from the thing.

This crawler is actually radio controlled. Details are brief, but there’s plenty of pictures and the start of a build tutorial for the hardware. A wood frame serves as collar-bone and spine for the zombie. Attached to the spine are two  motors which allow independent shoulder operation. We’d wager that the realistic movements are due to a talented operator at the controls, but it can’t be too hard to master if you play around with it for a while. It looks like the initial build was headless, but we think the addition of the zombie head really makes finishes out the project!

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Crawling + SQL injection with Scrawlr

Scrawlr is the latest tool to come out of HP’s Web Security Research Group. It was built in response to the massive number of SQL injection attacks happening on the web this year. Most of these vulnerable sites are found through googling, so Scrawlr works the same way. Point it at your web server and it will crawl all of the pages and evaluate the URL parameters to see if they’re vulnerable to verbose injection. It reports the SQL server and table names if it comes across anything.

It only supports 1500 pages right now and can’t do authentication or blind injection. It’s still a free tool and a great way to identify if your site is vulnerable to automated tools finding you website via search engines.

[via Acidus]