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.

BAMF2011: Google’s SKPR Bot, not for arachnophobes

Google’s Maker Faire exhibit space is swarmed with robots…er, androids. Amidst some cool bipeds and Segway-balancers, our inner sci-fi nerd was most smitten with this hexapod design, which they’ve dubbed SKPR Bot. The “Skipper” is on hand to showcase the ease of various Google technologies: SketchUp, Android OS and the Android Open Accessory Development Kit. The whole project came together in less than six weeks.

18 servos are mounted to a framework designed in SketchUp and laser-cut by Ponoko. The low-level servo PWM control is handled by the Dev Kit (essentially a rebadged Arduino Mega, as we’ve seen), while an Android OS phone provides a slick GUI and handles all the inverse kinematics calculations required as the robot takes each step. The coolest bit is that it’s all up for grabs. At this moment you’ll have to scrounge around the ’net a bit to find the plans and code, but some time post-Faire they plan to bring everything together at the SKPR Bot site.

Jittering hexapod dances to the strokes of your Bluetooth keyboard

Here’s a small but functional hexapod that is controlled via Bluetooth. [Sigfpe] started with the hexapod kit sold by Polulu and added a BlueSMiRF modem to get the little guy’s communications up and running. But since the bot is merely three servos, a microcontroller board, sensors, and miscellaneous parts it’s an easy build for most electronic hobbyists.

Check out the video after the break to see the delightful dance it can perform at your bidding. When we first looked at the project we thought that the keyboard was directly paired with the bot for control, but a look at the code makes us think the computer is controlling it after processing keystrokes. Either way the BlueSMiRF should have no problem pairing with other Bluetooth devices so it’s just a matter of coding to get it taking commands from your device of choice. We’d love to see Android control but for the really hard-core code monkeys we think this should be voice controlled with a Bluetooth headset.

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Crank-arm Style Hexapod

The latest robot out of Nolebotic is Al.I.S.E, or Aluminum, Infrared Scanning Entity. Don’t let the name fool you, its a pretty simple take on the classic hexapod walking platform using a crank arm and leavers made into the legs.

The body of the robot is made out of aluminum which is pretty easy to work with at home, lightweight, and sturdy. Bolted to the body are a pair of beefy gear head motors, a 9.6 volt rechargeable battery pack, along with a basic stamp 2 and its own 9 volt supply, and a Solarbotics 1198 CMD driver board.

Obstacles are handled right now with rudimentary infrared detectors and emitters, but it seems to work pretty good avoiding some library books in the demo. Combine that with clean mechanics and a pretty good stride and this thing can get up and move pretty quick.

Improving a hexapod design

[JC] built himself a hexapod based on a project he found on the Internet. It worked fairly well, but was mechanically weak and prone to breakage. He set out to improve the design and came up with the unit seen above. It uses three servo motors to control the six legs, and walks quite well as seen in the quick clip after the break. It’s not quite as agile as the little acrobatic six-legger we saw yesterday, but the movement is quite pleasing and it’s capable of moving forward, backward, and turning. [JC's] post is four pages in all so don’t forget to seek out his links for the construction, linkage, and servo control pages to find concept drawings, cad designs, and his thoughts on the process.

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Single-motor walker for Santa-Pede Challenge inspiration

This LEGO hexapod uses just one motor for motion. In the video after the break you can see that what [Valetnin Bauer] accomplished is almost magical, using just 210 parts. A central drive shaft uses worm gears to transfer motion to each of the legs. The limb mounting technique results in a sort of rowing motion that closely mimics what you’d expect to see from a biological hexapod.

We thought this might provide some inspiration for the Buy Break Build: Santa-pede challenge. Sure, using LEGO is a lot easier than reusing Santa parts. But a lot can be accomplished with a little creativity. Another point of inspiration might be this one-motor walker that should be a snap to adapt to the challenge. Better get going, just twenty days let until the project deadline!

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Hexapod controlled by Android and iPhone

This video is a blatant example of having too many high-end toys but we love it anyway. [Robert Stephenson] is controlling a rather awesome-looking hexapod via a Bluetooth connection to his HTC Hero. The app allows on-screen selections to decide which portion of the robot will move as a result of accelerometer data from the handheld. The only thing we saw that was missing is a camera feed to the phone.

But this hack doesn’t stop there. The Hero can be used to host a WiFi network while still connected to the hexapod. The second half of the video shows an iPod Touch connecting via WiFi and controlling the bot. Now head on over to the laser cutter to start that hexapod build, and finish up by getting elbow-deep into some Android development.