Robotic Open Source Puppy Needs A Home

Personally, I am a fan of the real thing, but dogs aren’t an option for all. Plus, robotic dogs are easier to train and don’t pee on your couch. If you are looking to adopt a robotic companion, Stanford Pupper might be a good place to start. It’s a new open source project from the Stanford Robotics Student group,  a group of robotic hackers from Stanford University. This simple robotic quadruped looks pretty simple to build, but also looks like a great into to four-legged robots.

This is the first version of the design, but it looks pretty complete, built around a carbon fiber and 3D printed frame. The carbon fiber parts have to be cut out on a router, but you can order them pre-cut here, and you might be able to adapt it to easier materials. The Pupper is driven by twelve servos powered from a 5200 mAh 2S LiPo battery and a custom PCB that distributes the power. That means it could run autonomously.

The brains of the Pupper is a Raspberry Pi running some custom code that translates the input from a joystick into movement. The movements Pupper can make include walking, trotting, running, jumping, and a series of dog-like look around moves, all calculated in code with inverse kinematics. There is no option to howl or tilt the head, though, as it doesn’t have a head.

It’s a pretty neat looking design that could be the basis of a rather cool robot dog. The designers estimate that it should cost between $600 and $900 to build, but I can see some potential for cost-saving in there using cheaper servos or other scavenged parts.

And because no post that mentions dogs is complete without a photo, here’s my non-robotic pup Jasper.

19 thoughts on “Robotic Open Source Puppy Needs A Home

      1. Look again, that is only for the mechanical hardware not including the $95 prefab CF parts. Electronics are another $468.91, with $240 in servos and a $47 PS4 controller.

        But let’s not focus too hard on that. This is a great project, and there’s a lot that we can contribute to make this more attainable.

    1. This isn’t a product, the group that built it says the parts cost them $600-900 per unit through front doors. If servos are more towards $1 ea for you, they’ll be jealous, that’s it. Go ahead, build some and impress them.

  1. I like ARM SBCs, especially R-Pi although there was a time ARM cared nothing for hobbyists… When their only experience of humanity was a toilet seat coming at them down a steel corridor.

  2. “The Pupper is driven by twelve servos powered from a 5200 mAh 2S LiPo battery and a custom PCB that distributes the power. That means it could run autonomously.”

    What does acting autonomously mean?
    1. Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent: an autonomous judiciary; an autonomous division of a corporate conglomerate. 2. Independent in mind or judgment; self-directed.

    What was the intended meaning of this sentence? It seems to be controlled by a PS4 controller, i see no mention of “autonomous” in the description of operation for this device?

      1. I am glad the comments are working again. The previous post showed comments are disabled and weirdly I could only see 11 comments while there’s supposed to be 21.

    1. Maybe the PS4 controller es for training purposes, or to take manual control, when it gets stuck. Or about to go for a swim. Autonomous, does mean intelligent… Even flesh puppies need lots of training, and a leash for a while…

  3. I built a Pupper myself. You can checkout my experience documented here: https://androiddrew.github.io/2020/06/pupper-pt1/ and yes this isn’t a product. You build it with sourced off the shelf parts, and that does cost some money. That being said it’s a lot of fun and it gives you are really nice platform to learn from. Pick up some college text books on the topic you can relate a lot of the design considerations to what was implemented. I’ll probably be forking the design and the code to build a little bit larger of robot. One that can accommodate a larger board like a Jetson, and mount the battery internally. Which is probably mean dismantling this one for the parts.

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