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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An “Earthcore” Hexapod with Minimal Mechanical Parts

Although hexapod robots have been featured on [HAD] many times, this one features a really cool minimalistic design. With few mechanical parts to support the three servos, the “Earthcore Hexapod Robot” has a unique gait, tending to quickly slide the driving legs rather than picking the whole robot up. Although it would probably have trouble on rough terrain, for use on a smooth floor or counter, this ‘bot is perfectly suited.  Check out the video of it after the break.

Another thing that really stands out on this bot is the blue LED “eyes” and it’s tubing “hat.”  The “hat” hides the wiring for the three servos, while most of the circuitry looks to be in between the eyes. The main controller is a PICAXE 18M2 micro-controller. 3 AAA batteries seen behind the tubing power the unit.

As for the name “Earthcore”, it’s based on a book by [Scott Sigler]. If there is a movie version in the works, we hope he calls [onefivefour] to help with the special effects! [Read more...]

R/C Hexababy is guaranteed to give you nightmares

hexapod_baby

For this week’s hack, [Dino] was working on a mechanical cat toy, but the project fell apart towards the end for some reason or another. With time running out, he had to come up with something on pretty short notice, using whatever he happened to have on hand. Luckily he picks up some seriously weird stuff at the local thrift store and had a disembodied doll’s head kicking around for this last minute project.

Taking a cue from Toy Story’s [Sid Phillips], [Dino’s] doll’s head hexapod is as creepy as it is simple. He had a remote controlled hexapod from RadioShack sitting around, and thought it would be fun to combine it with the doll’s head. He replaced the dolls eyes with a handful of LEDs, which are green as the hexapod retreats, but glow a bright red as it advances towards you. The only way it could be any creepier is if [Dino] added a voice box that plaintively called for “mommy” as the doll crawls around!

It’s a relatively goofy project, but it gave us a good chuckle. The most disturbing highlight of the build is when [Dino] removes the doll’s eyes using a wood drill bit around the 6:00 mark.

If you’re looking to kill a few minutes, be sure to check it out – [Dino’s] work is entertaining as always.

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Obstacle avoiding hexapod from reused parts

 

[Rob] built this hexapod one day when he had some free time after work. Just like the last hexapod we saw, he based the build on the Pololu design which uses three servo motors for surprisingly reliable movement.

The hardware is very straight forward. A Dorkboard serves as the brain. It’s a PCB that is wider on each side by the width of one female pin-header than a standard AVR 28-pin microcontroller. This gives easy access to all of the pins on the Arduino chip while making it small and light. You can see that a four-pack of batteries hangs below the servo motors to provide power.

Protruding above the 6-legger is a PING ultrasonic rangefinder. This adds autonomy to the little robot, which you can see running some obstacle avoidance routines in the video after the break. We’ve asked [Rob] if is able to share his code and will update this post if we hear back from him.

Update: Here’s a link to the sketch, and we’ve updated the picture with one that [Rob] sent to us.

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Crafting a hexapod with an RC controller

Here’s a fantastic project that lets to drive a hexapod around the room using an RC controller. [YT2095] built the bot after replacing the servo motors on his robot arm during an upgrade. The three cheapies he had left over were just begging for a new project, and he says he got the first proof-of-concept module put together in about an hour. Of course what you see above has gone through much improvement since then.

The three motors are epoxied together, with the one in the middle mounted perpendicular to the motors on either side of it. Those two are responsible for the front and rear leg on each side, with the third motor actuating the two middle legs. It’s a design we’re already familiar with having seen the smaller Pololu version. You might want to check that one out as there’s some slow motion video that shows how this works.

[YT2095] added control circuitry that includes an RF receiver. This lets him drive the little bot around using a transmitter with four momentary push switches on it. We love the idea of using copper clad for the foot pads.

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