Sphero Riding Strandbeest Is A Robot With An Exoskeleton

[Theo Jansen] makes awesome things called Strandbeests; wind-driven automatons that roam beaches and art galleries. It has long been one of our favorite mechanisms. Newer, but also a favorite is the Sphero smartphone controlled orb. The combination of the two is epic!

You may remember seeing Sphero used to create a tiny BB8 replica. Inside the orb is a tiny robot capable of rolling itself hamster-wheel-style in any direction. It’s a rather powerful bot and that makes Sphero fast. The high RPM is what makes this hack possible. Sphero spins rapidly while perched on some rollerblade wheels. Gearing converts this to the rolling motion of the Strandbeest.

The original concept was posted a year ago but it was just now brought to our attention by [fhareide]  who is working on his own smaller Strandbeest driven by a Sphero. Since there are no assembly details on the original posting, you can follow along with [fhareide’s] documentation in order to complete your own build. So far [fhareide] imported the STL model into Autodesk Inventor, printed out one set of gears to insure the printer resolution could handle it, and assembled one set of legs.
We think of this as a kind of exoskeleton for a Sphero. We’ll keep an eye on this through the assembly, testing the drive mechanism and then the point where the whole thing becomes self-aware and either runs away to hide or terminates him.

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Mini BB-8 Droid Made from a Sphero

Hot on the heels of discovery that the BB-8 Droid from the new Star Wars movie is real, [Christian Poulsen] has made the very own miniature version of it!

It’s a brilliantly simple hack actually. Remember the Sphero? It’s a remote controlled ball you can drive around with your phone — great fun, but surprisingly not many people have hacked it…

The ball has an internal structure that allows it to roll around with ease. Which also means it has a fixed up direction — at least inside of the ball. All [Christian] had to do was crack it open and throw a magnet on the top of the inner-assembly. He then machined the droid’s head out of foam with another magnet (or metal, we’re not too sure) and boom-bada-bing it stays in place as the ball rolls.

Stick around after the break to see some GIFs of it adorably rolling around — and into things.

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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!