It’s summer time in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means campfires for cooking hot dogs, keeping the mosquitoes away, and of course, making s’mores. For our far-flung friends, that’s a fire roasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate smashed between two graham crackers. So called because when you’re done, you’ll want s’more. It’s an easy enough recipe that any child can tell you how to make it. But what if you’re not a child? What if you don’t even have hands, because you’re an industrial robot? This is the challenge that [Excessive Overkill] has taken on in the video below the break.
Starting with a Fanuc S-420 i W industrial robot built in 1997, [Excessive Overkill] painstakingly taught his own personal robot how to make S’Mores. Hacking the microwave with pneumatic cylinders to get the door open was a nice touch, and so are the vacuum grippers at the business end of the S’More-bot.
We know, we said you were supposed to make them on a campfire — but who wants to risk cooking their vintage robotic arm just to melt some chocolate?
There’s a lot of story behind this hack, and [Excessive Overkill] explains how they acquired, transported, and three phase powered an out of date industrial robot in another of their videos. Of course, this is Hackaday so it’s a subject that’s come up before in the reverse engineering of an industrial robot that we covered some time back.
Continue reading “Industrial Robot Repurposed To Make S’Mores”
Robots that can dynamically reconfigure themselves to adapt to their environments offer a promising advantage over their less dynamic cousins. Researchers have been working through all the challenges of realizing that potential: hardware, software, and all the interactions in between. On the software end of the spectrum, a team at University of Pennsylvania’s ModLab has been working on a robot that can autonomously choose a configuration to best fit its task at hand.
We’ve recently done an overview of modular robots, and we noted that coordination and control are persistent challenges in this area. The robot in this particular demonstration is a hybrid: a fixed core module serving as central command, plus six of the lab’s dynamic SMORES-EP modules. The core module has a RGB+Depth camera for awareness of its environment. A separate downwards-looking camera watches SMORES modules for awareness of itself.
Combining that data using a mix of open robot research software and new machine specific code, this team’s creation autonomously navigates an unfamiliar test environment. While it can adapt to specific terrain challenges like a wood staircase, there are still limitations on situations it can handle. Kudos to the researchers for honestly showing and explaining how the robot can get stuck on a ground seam, instead of editing that gaffe out to cover it up.
While this robot isn’t the completely decentralized modular robot system some are aiming for, it would be a mistake to dismiss based on that criticism alone. At the very least, it is an instructive step on the journey offering a tradeoff that’s useful on its own merits. And perhaps this hybrid approach will find application with a modular robot close to our hearts: Dtto, the winner of our 2016 Hackaday Prize.
[via Science News]
Continue reading “SMORES Robot Finds Its Own Way To The Campfire”