Hot glue appendages may be predecessor to the flow metal of the T-1000

The T-1000 was the shape-shifting robot from T2 (the second Terminator movie). It was so amazing because it could assume the form and texture of anything; humans, piercing weapons, inanimate objects. This robot doesn’t even compare, except for one small trait. When it needs a tool, it can build it as its own appendage. This really is nothing more than making tools with a 3D printer. However, the normal boxy infrastructure is missing.

The print head is mounted on a single robot arm, and the tool is printed using hot melt glue in order to stick to a plate which makes up the business end of robot arm. In this case the robot needed to transport some water. It sets down the plate, uses the hot melt extruder to print a cup on that plate, then picks it up again and uses it to move water from one bowl to the other. You can see it all in the video clip below the fold.

Sure, it’s just baby steps. But hot melt glue sticks are light weight, and don’t require much energy to melt. This makes for a perfect combination as a portable tool shop.

Continue reading “Hot glue appendages may be predecessor to the flow metal of the T-1000″

Adding speech control to an old robotic arm

[Joris Laurenssen] has been hanging onto this robotic arm for about twenty years. His most recent project uses some familiar tools to add voice control for each of the arm’s joints.

The arm has its own controller which connects via a DB-25 port. [Joris’] first task was to figure out what type of commands are being sent through the connection. He did some testing to establish the levels of the signals, then hooked up his Arduino and had it read out the values coming through the standard parallel connection. This let him quickly establish the simple ASCII character syntax used to command movement from the device. There’s only eight command sets, and it didn’t take much work to whip up a sketch that can now drive the device.

The second portion of the project is to use voice commands to push these parallel signals to the arm. Instead of reinventing the wheel he decided to use the speech recognition feature of his Android phone. He used Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A) and a Python script to interpret commands, push them to his computer via Telnet, and finally drive the arm. We’ve embedded the video demo after the break. He gives the commands in Dutch but he overlaid comments in English so you can tell what’s going on.

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Hackaday Links: December 11, 2011

Drilling square holes

We’re still a bit baffled by the physics of this, but apparently it’s possible to drill a square hole with a round bit. This video shows square holes being milled using a cutter which is offset from the center of the bit. [Thanks Jordan]

LED Motorcycle headlight driven by mains

[William] found a way to use a big capacitor and bridge rectifier to run this H4 LED headlight bulb in a mains sconce lamp.

Electronic slide whistle

Here’s an electronic instrument that [Dorian] made. It uses a linear potentiometer and a button and works much like a slide whistle would.

Robot rocks out to Daft Punk

[Adrian] didn’t just make a robot arm out of CD cases and a mints tin. He built the arm, then made a music video featuring it.

More light-pipe sensor experiments

[Uwe] has been working on an input sensor using a flexible light tube. It is a similar idea to these optical flex sensors, but [Uwe] tried several variations like filling the tube with alcohol.

Internet controlled robotic arm

The guys over at Rusty Nail Workshop have put up an Internet controlled robotic arm for your amusement. While you’re waiting for the turkey to be done (or, you know, working), try your hand at moving some LEGO pieces around with a remote-controlled robotic arm.

The build log goes through the parts needed for the build. The arm itself is a Lynxmotion AL-5D, a heavy-duty device that’s far more capable and looks a lot better than our old Armatron.

The arm is controlled by an Arduino Uno. The Arduino is connected to the arm’s servo controller. Movement commands are received by an Ethernet shield and translated into servo commands. The entire build runs independently of a computer just like this project’s inspiration, the Orbduino.

Of course you can imagine the mayhem that would ensue if multiple people tried to take control of the robot simultaneously. A bit of code on the project’s website makes sure only one person has control of the robot at any given time. Check out what somebody else is building out of LEGO blocks with a Waldo. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to knock that work down.

I’ll see your Launchpad controlled arm and raise you Arduino controlled autonomy

This OWI robot arm has been hacked to add position sensors and Arduino control. [Chris Anderson] took one look at the Launchpad controlled OWI from earlier today and said “wait a minute, I’ve already posted my own version of that project”. Well, that will teach him not to tip us off about his hacks!

The position control is a really nice addition. Potentiometers added to each of the joints (shoulder, elbow, and wrist) can be read by the ADC pins on the Arduino. Just a bit of calibration will let the microcontroller board know the position of the arm at any given time. The control technique is the same as the Launchpad hack, with one glaring drawback. [Chris] is using the Adafruit motor driver shield. It uses L293D H-bridge chips, but it only has four channels. There are five motors on this arm, so the video after the break shows it moving around without any outside instruction, but you won’t see it grab onto anything since the Arduino can’t move the gripper!

Still, the position feedback makes the case for this version. Just remember to order an extra chip if you want full control.

Continue reading “I’ll see your Launchpad controlled arm and raise you Arduino controlled autonomy”

TI Launchpad adds computer control to a robot arm

[Eric Gregori] had an OWI535 toy robotic arm. Although cheap (coming it at around $30) the arm is only set up to be used via a wired control box. [Eric] knew he could do better by adding computer control via a TI Launchpad and motor driver peripheral.

The arm has shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, a rotating base, and a gripper. All of these are actuated by 3V DC motors and have just two control wires. [Eric’s] motor driver add-on for the Launchpad works great in this case. It’s got three FAN8200 dual motor driver chips on board so it can control up to six motors. Once he made the hardware connections it’s just a matter of sending the commands to the Launchpad via its USB interface, but you will also need to use a larger microcontroller than comes with the Launchpad. Here he’s chosen an MSP430G2553.

In order to make things a little bit more fun he also wrote a GUI for controlling the arm from the computer. He used RobotSee, a programming language that lets you use an image of the hardware, and overlay the controls on top of it. Now he just needs to make this into a web interface and he can have a smartphone controlled crane game.

Don’t forget to check out the video after the break. Continue reading “TI Launchpad adds computer control to a robot arm”