RC Strandbeest Is A Head Above The Rest

Prolific maker [Jeremy Cook] recently put the finishing touches (at least, for now) on his impressive ClearCrawler remote controlled Strandbeest, which includes among other things a surprisingly expressive “head” complete with LED matrix eyes. For anyone in the audience who was only mildly terrified of these multi-legged robotic beasties before, you may want to avert your eyes from the video after the break.

The clever locomotive design of [Theo Jansen] known as Strandbeest is a legged walker. What makes it special is that the legs themselves are not independent, but work together for a gliding action more akin to wheeled bots. [Jeremy’s] work with ClearCrawler has taken this to another level of precision and mechanization.

Before installation of the electronics, the ClearCrawler had to be tethered to a bench power supply, and could only move forward and backward. Once the locomotion was working as expected, [Jeremy] was ready to install some brains into the beast.

The robot is controlled by a dual motor driver and an Arduino Nano socketed in an I/O expansion board. Communication between the Nano onboard the walker and the hand-held remote control is provided by of a pair of nRF24L01 modules. The controller itself is a simple affair, comprised of a joystick shield plugged into an Arduino Uno.

The robot’s head is made up of a chunk of clear polycarbonate tube with a 3D printed internal frame to hold the dual 8×8 LED matrices that serve as its animated eyes. This arrangement is mounted on a servo pan and tilt mount, which is controlled by an analog stick on the controller. While the head doesn’t currently serve any practical function, it does give [Jeremy] a chance to emote a bit with his creation; a popular trick when he shows the ClearCrawler off.

A few years ago we covered this robot’s predecessor, the considerably larger ClearWalker. While that machine was surely a beauty to behold, this smaller and more agile iteration of the concept is quite a bit more practical.

6 thoughts on “RC Strandbeest Is A Head Above The Rest

    1. jeremey, question for you, I think you might have some valuable insight to my idea… How would you go about making a strandbeest based walking system for a BattleBot? I ask, because recently they allow a 100% weight handicap for any walking robots, so I figured give a giant full body spinner a tiny set of strandbeest walking legs, and it’ll be hopefully indestructible just due to having the heaviest weapon of all… The key is keeping the legs light, as you want to take advantage of the weight handicap and make your weapon bigger than anyone else… Thoughts?

      1. there are better leg systems for that then a strandbeest leg design. this leg design works best for flat surfaces and little to no debris. look for the veneration that are designed to deal with rougher terrain, they’re the same basic design over all but different lengths.

  1. i should of document the world i did on my steampunk strandbeest desk made two years ago you guys would have gotten a kick out of it. i still need to work out the bugs in the control program and make it walk aright.

    I’ll have to do better documenting that part

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