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Archive for the ‘Robots’ Category

Maker Jeremy S. Cook has been building Theo Jansen-style walkers for literally years, and after several iterations has come up with what he calls the “ClearCrawler.” 

This little guy stands at just over 15 inches tall — including its comparatively large clear cylindrical head — and travels around via a pair of motors that move four legs on either side like tank treads.

For control, Cook is using an Arduino Nano onboard, along with a motor driver, plus an Uno and joystick shield as the remote unit. Communication between the two is accomplished by a pair of nRF24L01+ radio modules. 

Code for the project is available on GitHub, and the build is split up into an electronics and mechanical section in the videos below.

If you’d like to build your own vaguely humanoid robot, but don’t care about it getting around, then look no farther than Aster

The 3D-printed bot is controlled by an Arduino Uno, with a servo shield to actuate its 16 servo motors. This enables it to move its arms quite dramatically as seen in the video below, along with its head. The legs also appear to be capable of movement, though not meant to walk, and is supported with a column in the middle of its structure.

Aster’s head display is made out of an old smartphone, and in the demo it shows its eyes as green geometric objects, an animated sketch, and then, somewhat shockingly, as different humans. Print files for the project are available here and the design is actually based on the more expensive Poppy Humanoid.

As robotics advance, the future could certainly involve humans and automated elements working together as a team. The question then becomes, how do you design such an interaction? A team of researchers from Purdue University attempt to provide a solution with their GhostAR system.

The setup records human movements for playback later in augmented reality, while a robotic partner is programmed to work around this “ghost.” This enables a user to then plan out how to collaborate with the robot and work out kinks before actually performing a task.

GhostAR’s hardware includes an Oculus Rift headset and IR LED tracking, along with actual robots used in development. Simulation hardware consists of a six-axis Tinkerkit Braccio robot, as well as an Arduino-controlled omni-wheel base that can mount either a robot an arm or a camera as needed.

More information on the project can be found in the team’s research paper here.

We present GhostAR, a time-space editor for authoring and acting Human-Robot-Collaborative (HRC) tasks in-situ. Our system adopts an embodied authoring approach in Augmented Reality (AR), for spatially editing the actions and programming the robots through demonstrative role-playing. We propose a novel HRC workflow that externalizes user’s authoring as demonstrative and editable AR ghost, allowing for spatially situated visual referencing, realistic animated simulation, and collaborative action guidance. We develop a dynamic time warping (DTW) based collaboration model which takes the real-time captured motion as inputs, maps it to the previously authored human actions, and outputs the corresponding robot actions to achieve adaptive collaboration. We emphasize an in-situ authoring and rapid iterations of joint plans without an offline training process. Further, we demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of our workflow through HRC use cases and a three-session user study.

While it’s yet to make its premiere, Matt Denton has already built the D-O droid from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker using a MKR WiFi 1010 for control, along with a MKR IMU Shield and a MKR Motor Carrier

The droid scoots around on what appears to be one large wheel, which conceals the Arduino boards as well as other electronics, batteries, and mechanical components. Denton’s wheel design is a bit more complicated mechanically than it first appears, as its split into a center section, with thin drive wheels on the side that enable differential steering.

On top, a cone-shaped head provides sounds and movement, giving the little RC D-O a ton of personality. The droid isn’t quite finished as of the video below, but given how well it works there, the end product should be amazing!

MOREbot is an Arduino-powered educational robotic platform that’s currently available for pre-order. While the base kit is geared (literally and figuratively) towards building a small two-motor robot, MORE Technologies CEO Canon Reeves shows off how it can be reconfigured into an RC zip lining device in the video below.

The project uses the kit’s DC motors for traversing the cable, with O-rings that normally form the tires taken off in order to grip the top of a paracord. Everything is controlled by an Arduino Uno and a motor shield, while a Bluetooth module provides wireless connectivity. Control is via an iPad app, which simply rotates both motors at the same time as needed.

Since the parts are all modular, Reeves is planning on adding a few other attachments including a GoPro camera mount and perhaps even a servo that lets him drop a payload like a water balloon from it.

For the Warman Design and Build Competition in Sydney last month, Redditor ‘Travman_16 and team created an excellent Arduino-powered entry. The contest involved picking up 20 payloads (AKA balls) from a trough, and delivering them to a target trough several feet away in under 60 seconds.

Their autonomous project uses Mecanum wheels to move in any direction, plus a four-servo arm to collect balls in a box-like scoop made out of aluminum sheet. 

An Arduino Mega controls four DC gear motors via four IBT-4 drivers, while a Nano handles the servos. As seen in the video, it pops out of the starting area, sweeps up the balls and places them in the correct area at an impressive ~15 seconds. 

It manages to secure all but one ball on this run, and although that small omission was frustrating, the robot was still able to take fifth out of 19 teams. 

For the Warman Design and Build Competition in Sydney last month, Redditor ‘Travman_16 and team created an excellent Arduino-powered entry. The contest involved picking up 20 payloads (AKA balls) from a trough, and delivering them to a target trough several feet away in under 60 seconds.

Their autonomous project uses Mecanum wheels to move in any direction, plus a four-servo arm to collect balls in a box-like scoop made out of aluminum sheet. 

An Arduino Mega controls four DC gear motors via four IBT-4 drivers, while a Nano handles the servos. As seen in the video, it pops out of the starting area, sweeps up the balls and places them in the correct area at an impressive ~15 seconds. 

It manages to secure all but one ball on this run, and although that small omission was frustrating, the robot was still able to take fifth out of 19 teams. 

Although we can’t all have the MIT Mini Cheetah at home, Jegatheesan Soundarapandian decided to make his own version — measuring just 23 cm x 9 cm x 9 cm.

As shown in the video below, the aptly named “Baby Cheetah” does an amazing job of getting around on four legs, and is not only able to walk upright, but can even move at a crouch, turn, and tilt forwards or backwards.

The robot is equipped with eight SG90 servos to actuate each 3D-printed leg linage assembly, giving the limbs excellent mobility in a vertical plane. An Arduino Nano is used for control, while an HC-05 Bluetooth module links to a smartphone running a custom app for user interface. 

More info and Arduino code is available in Soundarapandian’s project write-up.

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have come up with a way to build soft robots that are compact, portable and multifunctional without the requirement for compressed air. 

Instead, they’re using a system of tubular actuators made out of heat-sensitive liquid crystal elastomer sheets. Heating elements are placed between two layers of elastomer, which is then rolled up into a cylinder, allowing the tubular digit to bend and contract.

With this novel method, they’ve been able to build a three-jaw gripper, as well as a robot that walks independently with four legs under Arduino control. While the grippers are slow at this point, taking 30 seconds to bend and minutes to return to their original position, the eventual goal is to have them react at the speed of human muscles.

As shown in the video below, Tristan Calderbank is a very talented singer and guitar player, but what’s perhaps most interesting about his performance is the percussion section. Instead of a person (or an entire band) standing beside him, a robotic shaker, tambourine, snare drum and bass drum all play together under MIDI control.

Each device is activated by an HS-311 servo—or two in the case of the snare—powered by an Arduino Uno and MIDI shield. Signals are sent to the Arduino by a laptop running Ableton Live, and servo velocity can be varied to further control sound. 

A write-up on Calderbank’s build process can be found here, including what didn’t work, plus info on sound isolation from the servos. Arduino code is available on GitHub.



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