The Aimbot V3 Aims To Track & Terminate You

Some projects we cover are simple, while some descend into the sort of obsessive, rabbit-hole-digging-into-wonderland madness that hackers everywhere will recognize. That’s precisely where [Excessive Overload] has gone with the AimBot V3, a target-tracking BB-gun that uses three cameras, two industrial servos, and an indeterminate amount of computing power to track objects and fire up to 40 BB gun pellets a second at them.

The whole project is overkill, made of CNC-machined metal, epoxy-cast gears, and a chain-driven pan-tilt system that looks like it would take off a finger or two before you even get to the shooty bit. That’s driven by input from the three cameras: a wide-angle one that finds the target and a stereo pair that zooms in on the target and determines the distance from the gun, using several hundred frames per second of video. This is then used to aim the BB gun stock, a Polarstar mechanism that fires up to 40 pellets a second. That’s fed by a customized feeder that uses spring wire.

The whole thing comes together to form a huge gun that will automatically track the target. It even uses motion tracking to discern between a static object like a person and a dart fired by a toy gun, picking the dart out of the air at least some of the time.

The downside is that it only works on targets with a retroreflective patch: it includes a 15 watt IR LED on the front of the gun. The camera detects the bright reflection and uses it to track the target, so all you have to do to avoid this particular Terminator is make sure you aren’t wearing anything too shiny.

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In Defense Of Anthropomorphizing Technology

Last week I was sitting in a waiting room when the news came across my phone that Ingenuity, the helicopter that NASA put on Mars three years ago, would fly no more. The news hit me hard, and I moaned when I saw the headline; my wife, sitting next to me, thought for sure that my utterance meant someone had died. While she wasn’t quite right, she wasn’t wrong either, at least in my mind.

As soon as I got back to my desk I wrote up a short article on the end of Ingenuity‘s tenure as the only off-Earth flying machine — we like to have our readers hear news like this from Hackaday first if at all possible. To my surprise, a fair number of the comments that the article generated seemed to decry the anthropomorphization of technology in general and Ingenuity in particular, with undue harshness directed at what some deemed the overly emotional response by some of the NASA/JPL team members.

Granted, some of the goodbyes in that video are a little cringe, but still, as someone who seems to easily and eagerly form attachments to technology, the disdain for an emotional response to the loss of Ingenuity perplexed me. That got me thinking about what role anthropomorphization might play in our relationship with technology, and see if there’s maybe a reason — or at least a plausible excuse — for my emotional response to the demise of a machine.

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Robots: How The Pros Keep Them Safe

Robotic safety standards are designed for commercial bots, but amateur robot builders should also consider ideas like the keepout zone where a mobile robot isn’t permitted to go or how to draw out the safety perimeter space for your experimental robot arm. After all, that robot arm won’t stop crushing your fingers because you built it yourself. So, it is worth looking at the standards for industrial robots, even if your aim is fun rather than profit.

The basics of this for fixed robots like robot arms are defined in the standard R15-06. You don’t need to read the full text (because it costs $325 and is *incredibly* tedious to read), but the Association for Advancing Automation has a good background on the details. The bottom line is to ensure that a user can’t reach into an area that the robot arm might move to and provide a quick and easy way to disable the motors if someone does reach in.

Robots that move, called Industrial Mobile Robots (IMRs) or Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) bring in a whole new set of problems, though, because they are designed to move around under their own control and often share space with humans. For them, the standard is called R15.08. The AGV network has a good guide to the details, but again, it boils down to two things: make sure the robot is keeping an eye on its surroundings and that it can stop quickly enough to avoid injury.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go With Stop Motion Animation

Robots made of broken toy parts, stop-motion animation, and a great song to tie it all together were not on our bingo card for 2023, but the results are perfect. [Mootroidxproductions] recently released the official music video for I Fight Dragons 2019 song “Oh the Places You’ll Go”.

The song was written by lead vocalist [Brian Mazzaferri] with inspiration from the classic Dr. Seuss book. [Brian] wrote it for his newborn daughter, and we’re pretty sure it will hit any parent right in the feels.

[Mootroidxproductions] isn’t a parent themselves, but they expanded on the theme to create a video about sacrificing oneself to save a loved one. With a self deprecating wit, they take us through the process of turning broken Bionicle parts, bits of Gundam, Lego, and, armature wire to make the two robots in the film. He also explains how he converted garbage into sets, greebles, and lighting effects.

The robots had to be designed so that they could fulfill their roles in the film. From the size of their hands down to their individual walking gaits, he thought of everything. His encyclopedic knowledge of Bionicle parts is also on full display as he explains the origin of the major parts used to build “Little Blue” and “Sherman”

Click through the break for both the main video and the behind-the-scenes production.

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Life-Sized Rock’em Sock’em Robot Will Definitely Knock Your Block Off

He knocked his block off! That’s what [Zach] of Byte Sized Engineering is planning on saying when he completes this Rock’em Sock’em Robots replica. The twist? His replica is going to be life-sized. The original game involved two players, each controlling a robot that could punch and block with two lever-driven arms. [Zach] is looking to scale that up to human sized, but with a few interesting technical additions.

This build might be a bit large to be driven by a small child, so for the punching action [Zach] is using a four-bar linkage moved by a pneumatic cylinder. After some modelling, he decided on a 16mm bore and 100mm stroke cylinder that should provide a good, quick pneumatic action, but without putting so much force in that it destroys the whole thing. The aim is to knock his block off, not to permanently remove his block and take someone else’s  block with it. This first video details his first prototype of the arm and the first set of tests, with later videos hopefully getting more into the mechanism and technical details of the build. We’d also like to see  (hint, hint [Zach]) some of the files and code to follow up with.

Bonus fact: as older Brits may tell you, the game was marketed for some time there under the name “Raving Bonkers“, with the robots renamed as Basher Bonker and Biffer Bonker.  The name didn’t catch on, and they changed back to the Rock’em Sock’em robots name.  Ask someone in the UK these days if they want to play raving bonkers with your basher, and you will probably get your own block knocked off. Video below the break. Continue reading “Life-Sized Rock’em Sock’em Robot Will Definitely Knock Your Block Off”

Helping Robots Learn By Letting Them Fail

The [MIT Technology Review] has just released its annual list of the top innovators under the age of 35, and there are some interesting people on this list of the annoyingly accomplished at a young age. Like [Lerrel Pinto], an associate professor of computer science at NY University. His work focuses on teaching robots how to do things in the home by failing.

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Ask Hackaday: What’s The Deal With Humanoid Robots?

When the term ‘robot’ gets tossed around, our minds usually race to the image of a humanoid machine. These robots are a fixture in pop culture, and often held up as some sort of ideal form.

Yet, one might ask, why the fixation? While we are naturally obsessed with recreating robots in our own image, are these bipedal machines the perfect solution we imagine them to be?

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