Mike’s Robot Dog Is A First Step In The Right Direction

Mike's robot dog

Humans can traverse pretty much any terrain thanks to their legs and fast-acting balancing system. So if you want a robot which should have equal flexibility, legs are a good way to go, this confirmed by all the achievements of Boston Dynamics’ robots. It was therefore natural for [Mike Rigsby] to model his robot dog after Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robot, SpotMini.

The build log on his Hackaday.io page makes for interesting reading. For example, he started out with the legs oriented like SpotMini but found that when trying to stand, the front legs worked fine but the rear ones slid or the dog shifted rearward or both happened. His solution was to take a cue from his 1990s Sony robot dog, Aibo, by reversing the orientation of the rear legs. He then upgraded his servo motors to ones with double the torque and increased the strength of the legs’ structure. In the first video below, you can see that his dog now lifts itself up to a standing position perfectly.

So far, to give it more of a dog-like personality he’s mounted Google’s AIY Vision Kit which changes a light’s color based on the degree to which a person is smiling, though we think a wagging tail would work well too. The possibilities are endless but one step at a time. See the second video below for a demonstration of the use of the Vision Kit.

[Mike’s] entered his robot dog in the Hackaday Robotics Module Challenge, and rightly so. He talks about how the legs can be used as modules for other robots, but we think a four-legged walking platform would also be great as a module. All sorts of functionality can be added on top once he has the legs walking. There are the obvious neck and head, robot arms, and carrying platform all of which can help in the garden but can also help the sick or the elderly. On the whimsical side, it can be outfitted with cat counter-measures or act as a beer delivery system. What would you use it for?

13 thoughts on “Mike’s Robot Dog Is A First Step In The Right Direction

      1. Indeed, but in hindsight, some kind of pantograph mechanism would have been better, as with the rope, the motors have to overcome the springs that are used to stretch the legs.

      1. Patents & open source are not mutually exclusive. Seems like the open cat project owner has a really good understanding of just how much work open source is – done properly it’s not just a bunch of source files, and he seems committed to doing it properly but that takes time.

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