Telepresence Robot Demo Unit Breaks Free of It’s Confinement

What happens when you put a telepresence robot online for the world to try out for free? Hilarity of course. Double Robotics is a company that builds telepresence robots. The particular robot in question is kind of like a miniature Segway with a tablet computer on top. The idea is you can control it with your own tablet from a remote location. This robot drives around with your face on the screen, allowing you to almost be somewhere when you can’t (or don’t want to) be there in person.

Double Robotics decided to make one of these units accessible to the Internet as a public demonstration. Of course, they couldn’t have one of these things just roaming about their facility unrestrained. They ended up keeping it locked in an office. This gives users the ability to drive it around a little bit and get a feel for the robot. Of course it didn’t take long for users to start to wonder how they could break free from their confinement.

One day, a worker left the office door cracked open ever so slightly. A user noticed this and after enough patience and determination, managed to use the robot to get the door opened. It appears as though the office was closed at the time, so no one was around to witness the event. A joy ride ensued and the robot hid its tracks by locking itself back in the room and docking to the charging station.

While this isn’t a hack in the typical sense, this is a perfect example of the hacker mindset. You are given some new technology and explore it to the extent at which you are supposed too. After that, many people would just toss it aside and not give it a second thought. Those with the hacker mindset are different, though. Our next thought is usually, “What else can I do with it?” This video demonstrates that in a fun and humorous way. Hopefully the company learns its lesson and puts a leash on that thing. Continue reading “Telepresence Robot Demo Unit Breaks Free of It’s Confinement”

Impressive Homemade Segway Is The Real Deal

Home Made Segway Makes use of Balanduino

[Kristian] just put the finishing touches on his full size Segway built from scratch.

Back in 2012, he made a small balancing robot using a gyroscopic sensor and a PID controller — you can see the original post here. The cool thing is, he’s basically just scaled up his original project to create this full-size Segway!

It uses two 500W 24V DC motors (MY1929Z2) on an aluminum check plate frame, with the rest of the structure made from steel plumbing and fittings. What we really like is the steering linkage; similar to a real Segway, you pull the handle in the direction you want to turn. He’s accomplished this by putting another length of pipe parallel to the wheels which is connected by an elbow fitting to the handle bar. It’s supported by two pillow block bearings, and in the back is a fixed potentiometer — when you lean the handle bars one way, the pipe rotates, spinning the potentiometer. To make it return to neutral, he’s added springs on either side.

There’s an impressive build log to go along with it, and a great demonstration video after the break.

Continue reading “Impressive Homemade Segway Is The Real Deal”

Self-Balancing Uni-board?

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There are skateboards, long boards, and snowboards. This was originally a snowboard, but we’re not quite sure how to classify it now… Introducing the Segbot Snowboard.

[Steve Ghertner] has been playing around with accelerometers lately and decided to try making something practical. He’s taken a snowboard and turned it into a two-wheeled, segway-like balancing board. The two parallel wheels are powered individually by 12V scooter motors. An Arduino Uno takes care of processing the data from a MPU-6050, which is a triple axis gyro and accelerometer.

You can control the board by leaning, or  by using a small two-button remote. He hasn’t taken it very far out of the lab yet, but plans to after cleaning up the programming a bit.

Stick around for the following video where he explains it at his local hackerspace in Nashville, the Middle TN Robotic Arts Society where members strive to “Control Them (robots) Before They Control You!”

Continue reading “Self-Balancing Uni-board?”

Hackaday Links: August 15, 2012

An Octopart for RC equipment

When [Zach] started building a quadcopter he found it very difficult to source the required parts. Thus was born CompareRC, an aggregation of several online RC retailers. There’s over 150,000 parts in the database, all searchable and sortable by lowest price.

Segway iPad Skype teleconferencing robot

It’ll be a while until robots completely eliminate the need for any human interaction, but until then there’s Double. It’s a two-wheeled balancing robot with an iPad dock, controllable via a remote iPad.

Free electronic design

In case you weren’t aware, Fedora has an electronic design distro that includes just about everything needed to build electronic circuits called Fedora Electronic Lab. FEL has PCB designers, circuit simulators, editors for just about everything, and support for PICs, AVRs, and 8051 micros. Thanks for sending this in, [Simon].

Make your own Megadrive ROMs

Last month, [Lee] sent in a build where he connected an Arduino Mega to an old Sega Genesis/Megadrive cartridge. He’s figured out how to read the contents of the cartridge now, allowing you to preserve your 100% complete Sonic & Knuckles / Sonic 3 save for time immemorial.

A surprising amount of graphics tutorials

Khan Academy, every autodidacts best friend, is now teaching computer science. Right now, there is a heavy focus on drawing graphics, and everything is coded in the browser (using Javascript…), but at least it’s a start. The fundamentals of programming are platform and language agnostic, so this looks to be a great way to learn programming.

Here’s a blog post from the lead dev of the Khan CS project.

Another homebrew Segway clone comes in at under $300

[Matt Turner] tipped us off back in January about his homemade Segway project. Unfortunately that message slipped through the cracks but we’re glad he sent in a reminder after reading Friday’s feature an a different 2-wheeled balancer.

We like it that he refers to this project as being on the budget of a graduate student with a young family. We certainly understand where he’s coming from, and we hope he can ride this to job interviews to show them he truly lives engineering. The control circuitry is a bit higher-end than we’re used to seeing. He chose a Cypress CY8C29466 SoC to control the device. But the sensors are a common choice, using the Wii Motion Plus and Wii Nunchuk for the gyroscope and accelerometer they contain. This is a no-brainer since the sensors are high-quality, cheap and available locally, and communicate of the standard I2C protocol.

When looking for motors [Matt] was happy to find an old electric wheelchair on Craig’s List. This also gave him a gear box, wheels, and tires. He added a pair of motor drivers, with his own alterations to suppress feedback. Sounds like they run a little hot because he plans to add cooling fans to them in the future. But this first iteration is up and running quite well as you can see in the clip after the break.

Continue reading “Another homebrew Segway clone comes in at under $300″

Self-balancing transport is Arduino-controlled

[Nick Thatcher] has built several iterations of a homebrew Segway, and the latest version is very impressive. When developing the project he figured there was just no way the thing would ever work, which led to its name, the No-way.

After the break you can catch a video of [Nick’s] test-ride. Looks like the two-wheeler is ready for daily use. You can just make out a red kill-switch on the right side of the polycarbonate body. This lets you disconnect the power if things get out of hand, or just when you’re done riding it. But there is also a dead-man’s switch which we believe uses two sensors where your feet go on the enclosure’s top surface. The handle has some indicator lights built into it, as well as buttons under each thumb which are used for steering. Control circuitry includes an Arduino UNO which reads a gyroscope/accelerometer sensor board from SparkFun. Two 7.2 Ah batteries provide 24V for the pair of electric scooter motors that turn the wheel-barrow wheels.

We love looking at these Segway clone project. So if you’re working on one of your own don’t forget to document your progress!

Continue reading “Self-balancing transport is Arduino-controlled”

Self-balancing unicycle only for those with good balance

The only problem with this self-balancing unicycle is it’s inability to balance itself. You see, it automatically balances along the axis that is parallel to the line of travel. But since there’s only one wheel the rider is responsible for balancing perpendicular to travel. This is really not too much different from a bicycle; balancing while in motion is pretty simple. Only when you slow down or stop are you in trouble.

[Stephen Boyer] built the vehicle and uses it for most of his travel around the MIT campus. It carries a pair of 12V batteries that pack enough punch to travel five miles between charges. A 5DOF board senses motion and orientation, with an ATmega328 microcontroller calculating the corrections necessary to keep the rider upright.

The demo video after the break never really gives you good look at the thing, but it’s enough to prove that it does indeed work very well. We’re also glad to see that [Stephen] is using a kill-switch while riding.

If you’re aching for more electric unicycle video check out this other project too. Continue reading “Self-balancing unicycle only for those with good balance”