The show-stealing droids of Star Wars, R2-D2 and C-3PO, are quite challenging to replicate at home, due to their size and complexity. [curiousmarc] had built the former, with much work going into drawing and design. The more humble Mouse Droid, as seen skittering about the halls of the Death Star, is a considerably easier build — especially with this somewhat improvised approach.
The build relies on reject parts from [curiousmarc]’s R2-D2 build, and other stuff laying around the house, like a toy eggbeater, a VFD, and other electronic bits and pieces. An RC car chassis was placed in the droid’s vacuum-formed shell in order to provide propulsion, with much of the rest of the work being decoration of the housing with various sci-fi ephemera. There’s also a pair of Arduinos inside, controlling the VFD, sound output, and the movable antenna dish on top.
It’s a build with a lot of personality. The sounds, flickering display, and moving antenna do a lot to imbue this droid with a soul, something Lucasfilm readily achieved with many of the robots in the series. It’s something we’ve also seen in robot companion builds from [Jorvon Moss], which are quite sci-fi in their own way, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “2022 Sci-Fi Contest: A Star Wars Mouse Droid Of Your Very Own”
The main character of Dexter’s Laboratory is a genius child inventor who inspired a lot of fans to become makers and inventors in their own right. [Jorvon Moss] a.k.a. [Odd_Jayy] counts himself as one of them. A serial companion bot builder, his projects are constantly evolving. But every once in a while he pauses long enough to share construction details. Like how we can build our own monkey companion bot Dexter named after the cartoon.
A slightly earlier iteration of Dexter attended Hackaday Superconference 2019. Perched on [Odd_Jayy]’s back, Dexter joined in a presentation on companion bots. We’ve been a fan of his work since Asi the robot spider and several more robots have been posted online since. Recently at Virtually Maker Faire 2020, he joined [Alex Glow] and [Angela Sheehan] to talk about their respective experiences Making Companion Bots.
[Odd_Jayy] starts with sketches to explore how a project will look and act, striving to do something new and interesting every time. One of Dexter’s novelties is adding interactivity to companion bots. Historically people couldn’t do much more than just look at a companion bot, but Dexter can high five their fans! Sometimes the excited robot monkey ends up slapping [Odd_Jayy] instead, but they’re working through issues in their relationship. Everyone is invited to see rapid cycles of iterative improvements on Twitter and Instagram. As of this writing, a mini Dexter is underway with design elements similar to the “Doc Eyes” goggle project running in parallel. It’s always fun to watch these creations evolve. And by openly sharing his projects both online and off, [Odd_Jayy] is certainly doing his part to inspire the next wave of makers and inventors.
A great many robots exist in our modern world, and the vast majority of them are highly specialized machines. They do a job, and they do it well, but they don’t have much of a personality. [Guilherme Martins] was working on a fun project to build a robot arm that could create chocolate artworks, but it needed something to humanize it a bit more. Thankfully, Jibo was there to lend a hand.
For the uninitiated, Jibo was a companion robot produced by a startup company that later folded. Relying on the cloud meant that when the money ran out and the servers switched off, Jibo was essentially dead. [Guilherme] managed to salvage one of these units, however, and gave it a new life.
With the dead company unable to provide an SDK, the entire brains of the robot were replaced with a LattePanda, which is a Windows 10 single-board computer with an integrated Arduino microcontroller. This was combined with a series of Phidgets motor drivers to control all of Jibo’s joints, and with some Unity software to provide the charming expressions on the original screen.
With the Jibo body mounted upon the robot arm, a simple chocolate-decorating robot now has a personality. The robot can wave to humans, and emote as it goes about its day. It’s an interesting feature to add to a project, and one that certainly makes it more fun. We’ve seen projects tackle similar subject matter before, attempting to build friendly robot pets as companions. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Humanizing Industrial Robots By Sticking A Jibo On Top”