Meet Stompy, your new robotic overlord

In case you weren’t already depressed about not starting a summer project already, a couple of guys are building a gigantic rideable hexapod they call Stompy.

The project leaders, [Gui Cavalcanti], [Dan Cody], and [James Whong] have worked on a few crazy robotics projects before like PETMAN and BigDog. Stompy won’t be a military-backed project like the others (we sincerely hope), so they’re enlisting the help of fellow makers at Artisan’s Asylum to complete a 15-foot diameter, 1-2 ton rideable hexapod before the end of August.

Right now, the team is still in the planning and preliminary testing stages. So far, they’ve built a 1/2 scale model of one leg to figure out the control systems, and getting the repurposed forklift motor up and running. It may not look like much now, but we’re sure the team is going to have a very fun time building Stompy.

You can check out the updates and progress of Stompy on the Project Hexapod blog

Cardboard hexapod gets around with three motors

Here’s a lesson in doing a lot with very little. [Oldrobot] built this hexapod using cardboard for most of the pieces. He still had the box from his vacuum clear and it just happened to have a large black area the makes the top of the beetle look like it’s been painted.

The control board is from an old radio controlled airplane. Since RC airplanes used servos for flight control, it was a snap to hook up the three that make the bug go. One controls the set of middle legs which lift the body and change which of the propulsion legs are in contact with the ground. The other two servers move pairs of the front or back legs. It uses the same concept as this other RC controller hexapod, but much less time went into crafting the chassis and legs.

As you can see in the video after the break, the control scheme isn’t the most intuitive. But once you get a hang of which stick orientation affects each leg movement the bot ends up having fairly precise steering.

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Hackaday Links April 5, 2012

A Remote Sphero-Control Trackball

sphero drives car

Sphero is a cool little ball that can roll around under the control of a smartphone.  Although super-cool by itself, in this application it’s been hacked into a sort of trackball to drive a remote control car!

Arduino Voice Control

Arduino voice control

[Sebastian] Wrote in to tell us about this article about using the Arduino EasyVR shield to add voice control to your project. Worth a look if it your application calls for voice-control.

OpenBeam Tiny 80/20-Like Extrusion

openbeam extrusion

Openbeam is a Kickstarter project designed to produce an aluminium extrusion for building stuff.  Although we’ve seen lots of this kind of thing, the small 15mm profile is quite interesting, and it’s designed to use off-the-shelf hardware, which should save on costs!

Hexapod + iPad = Fun for All

hexapod-ipad

There’s not a lot of information on this hack, and the price or this hexapod device isn’t even listed, so we’ll assume it’s quite expensive.  On the other hand, it’s got a cool video of it being controlled by an iPad, so maybe it will give you some hacking inspiration!

USB Sound Card Write-Up

usb sound card

[George] wrote in to tell us about his USB sound card write-up. Before you think that this is a dupe of this post, he freely admits to building it nearly identically to the one previously posted. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but [George] is also requesting some feedback on his blog and the aforementioned post. feel free to let him know what you think in the comments.  Please be polite!

Sphere morphing hexabot now rolls around

[Zenta] has been building his MorpHex rolling hexapod for nearly a year now, and good things come to those who wait. After a ton of development and fabrication, [Zenta] finally has his mechanical jellyfish robot rolling and walking around.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Zenta]‘s MorpHex robot in action. A year ago, we saw the beginnings of the project with that included 25 servos mounted on a custom chassis. Last winter, the top hemisphere of the MorpHex was added, but rolling locomotion was still on the drawing board. A lot has changed since then, and now [Zenta]‘s robot can roll or walk across the floor.

From the video (available after the break), we see that [Zenta] kept the one degree of freedom for the panels on the upper cylinder. He’s thinking about making the MorpHex more symmetrical; just copying the plans for the bottom hemisphere onto the top, for instance. This plan would allow the MorpHex to roll in a straight line, so we can’t wait to see what [Zenta] cooks up next.

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Sphere morphing hexabot is a mechanical jellyfish

Once again, we’re wowed over [Zenta]‘s robotic skill. A few months ago, [Zenta] posted a video of his MorpHex hexapod spherebot that left us awed. After a few long months, more bits of MorpHex have made it onto the chassis. [Zenta] says his project isn’t done but it’s still enough to knock our socks off.

Going through the [Zenta] archives, there’s a little more to go on this time around. The MorpHex will be made up of two hemispheres, but only the bottom one will be able to walk. That’s really not that bad because [Zenta] gave the upper panels 1 degree of freedom. Just enough to scare off predators, we’re sure.

The chassis and the legs are amazing little pieces of engineering. Despite all the work [Zenta] has put into his MorpHex, there’s still work to be done. He hasn’t gotten the sphere to roll on command yet. We’ll be sure to post a video of the robot dancing to some lo-fi. Check that out after the jump.

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Robotic farming means more corn for everyone

You know we’re all going to starve, right? If the world’s population keeps growing exponentially and food production grows linearly, we’re eventually going to find out what Soylent Green is made of. This is where [David Dorhout]‘s Prospero robot farmer comes in. [David] has come up with the idea of using small autonomous robots to plant, tend and harvest fields. Right now, he’s working on stage 1: planting seeds.

A swarm of six-legged Prospero robots are dispatched to a field. There, each member of the swarm plants seeds one at a time. The robots keep in contact with each other over a wireless connection to ensure the optimal planting pattern for an entire field.

The Prospero prototype is based on the Parallax Propeller with a Ping ultrasonic sensor used to avoid obstacles. Each hexapod is equipped with a bunch of seeds, a small auger, and a supply of fertilizer for the future corn plant. The next step in the plan is to build a ‘tending’ robot that will monitor and apply nutrients if needed. Check out the Prospero video after the break.

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Morphing hexapod has us drooling

morphex_morphing_hexabot

Hexapod robots seem to be a dime a dozen lately, but we think you will be hard pressed to not be wowed by [Zenta’s] latest creation. He’s built a bunch of hex and octopods before, but hasn’t tried building anything quite like this.

His MorpHex bot might look like your standard hexapod, but once it gets moving, you can see that it’s quite unique. Utilizing over 25 servos driven by a single ARC-32 controller, MorpHex moves in smooth, fluid-like motions, making it almost seem like it’s alive. The inner portion of the body can fan out, extending the overall length of the bot, though it’s more meant to allow the bot to morph into a ball and back, rather than increase its size.

In the teaser video below, you can see MorpHex in action, with its parts flowing together more like a jellyfish than any sort of land animal. While [Zenta] is continuing to work on MorpHex’s sphere-morphing capabilities, we think it would make for an awesome and creepy spiderbot!

[Thanks, weaz]

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