Join us on Wednesday, September 29 at noon Pacific for the Robot Dogs Hack Chat with Afreez Gan!
Thanks to the efforts of a couple of large companies, many devoted hobbyists, and some dystopian science fiction, robot dogs have firmly entered the zeitgeist of our “living in the future” world. The quadrupedal platform, with its agility and low center of gravity, is perfect for navigating in the real world, where the terrain is rarely even and unexpected obstacles are to be expected.
The robot dog has been successful enough that there are commercially available — if prohibitively priced — dogs on the market, doing everything from inspecting factory processes and off-shore oil platforms to dancing for their dinner. All the publicity around robot dogs has fueled a crush of DIY and open-source versions, so that hobbyists can take advantage of what the platform has to offer. And as a result, the design of these dogs has converged somewhat, with elements that provide a common design language for these electromechanical pets.
Afreez Gan has been exploring the robot dog space for a while now, and his MiniPupper is generating some interest. He’ll stop by the Hack Chat to talk about MiniPupper specifically and the quadruped platform in general. We’ll talk about what it takes to build your own robot dog, what you can do with one once you’ve built it, and how these bots can play a part in STEM education. Along the way, we’ll touch on ROS, lidar, machine vision with OpenCV, and pretty much anything involved in the care and feeding of your newest electronic pal.
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, September 29 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.
After three huge mutant vehicle builds, [Tom Wilson] thought: “why not build another?” This time he decided to weld together a (comparatively) smaller more agile two-seater he calls the Boxer. We covered [Tom]’s previous quadbike, Big Dog, which features a similar tube frame, full suspension, and the familiar culvert pipe wheels. This time around [Tom] actually built an extensive jig out of plywood to ease in the build process. The Boxer is much lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 125lbs Vs the Big Dog’s 490lbs, and about four feet shorter. The shorter lighter vehicle makes for a much more agile ride. If you are interested in building your own quadbike [Tom]’s site is a really good resource with tons of detail.
We really look forward to seeing this latest creation at burning man, check out a video of the (comparatively speedy) Boxer in action after the jump!
Continue reading “Quadbike: Smaller Is Faster” →
While Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog is pretty impressive, check out this video of the US Army’s first attempt at a quadruped vehicle. Created in the early 1960s with the help of GE, this Army experiment was the first successful attempt of replicating a four-legged animal with a mechanical machine.
This “Walking Truck” was driven by a single operator who moved each of the vehicle’s legs using force-feedback hydraulic levers. Choreographing the machine’s movement was quite complicated, and during testing the Army found that the operator needed a mental break after only 15 minutes of use. As you can see in the video, the vehicle flexes some serious muscle. It kicks a Jeep out of its way with little effort, but it is still able to gently step on a light bulb without breaking it, due to the level of tactile feedback received by the operator.
If it weren’t for government budget cuts, we could be living out [George Lucas’] dream of AT-AT based combat right this minute!
[Tom Wilson] has finished his latest human powered quadcycle. The BigDog, as its called, seats 4 persons in lawn chairs who pedal to their destination. We say latest, for [Tom] also made a slightly smaller version called The DogSled. Some improvements include being taller (8 feet total), larger (11 feet by 6 feet), and surprisingly lighter (over half the weight, bringing it in to 450 pounds). The build process is just as impressive as the bike itself; using pneumatic disk brakes to golf cart axles to even drainage pipe, its a perfect fit for burning man. Catch a video after the divide.
Continue reading “Quadbike: Bigger Is Better” →