[Mark Dufour]’s TACO VR project is a sort of robotic platform that mimics an omnidirectional treadmill, and aims to provide a compact and easily transportable way to allow a user to walk naturally in VR.
Unenthusiastic about most solutions for allowing a user to walk in VR, [Mark] took a completely different approach. The result is a robotic platform that fits inside a small area whose sides fold up for transport; when packed up, it resembles a taco. When deployed, the idea is to have two disc-like platforms always stay under a user’s feet, keeping the user in one place while they otherwise walk normally.
It’s an ambitious project, but [Mark] is up to the task and the project’s GitHub respository has everything needed to stay up to date, or get involved yourself. The hardware is mainly focused on functionality right now; certainly a fall or stumble while using the prototype looks like it would be uncomfortable at the very best, but the idea is innovative. Continue reading “DIY Robotic Platform Aims To Solve Walking In VR”
[Aldric Négrier] wrote in to let us know that his DriveMyPhone project has been open sourced. The project is a part telepresence, part remote-controlled vehicle, part robotic rover concept on which he says “I spent more time […] than I should have.” He has shared not just the CAD files, but every detail including tips on assembly. He admits that maybe a robotic chassis for a smartphone might not seem like a particularly new idea today, but it was “an idea with more potential” back in 2010 when he first started.
The chassis is made to cradle a smartphone. Fire up your favorite videoconferencing software and you have a way to see where you’re going as well as hear (and speak to) your surroundings. Bluetooth communications between the phone and the chassis provides wireless control. That being said, this unit is clearly designed to be able to deal with far more challenging terrain than the average office environment, and has been designed to not only be attractive, but to be as accessible and open to repurposing and modification as possible.
Continue reading “Smartphone-based Robotic Rover Project Goes Open Source”
Browsing around today, I saw this little kit on kickstarter called Kinetic Creatures. These flat packed models are made from cardboard and can be assembled without tools. Their mechanical legs are operated either by a simple cam that you turn by hand or by a motorized attachment. I love the basic idea here. This is the kind of thing that my 6 year old would really enjoy doing that also serves to get him into making things (he’d probably insist on motorizing it with scraps, he collects dc motors and has quite a collection).
I did notice that they mentioned using it as a robotic platform, adding custom electronics to the empty space allowed in the body of the animal. This initially got me quite excited, thinking that I could, for $30 have a 1 foot tall quadruped platform that looked awesome, then I realized it can’t turn. I guess I’ll have to hack it a little bit to put separate drives in for each side. That would be a cool upgrade they could offer.
Have any of you tried to do turning with a set of only 4 [jansen] legs before?