MorpHex MK-II in Action!

March 19th, 2014

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Zenta has just posted a video of his MorphHex MK-II in action! This robot is an improved version of the original MorpHex robot. This robot still can transform from 6 legged cralwer to a rolling robotic bawll. The latest version of the MorphHex has 2DOF on the upper half of the sphere, giving it much more freedom and the ability to make a variety of different shapes and patterns. We can’t help but think that the MorpHex looks like a robo-flower during some parts of the video.

The video also shows off the new and improved symmetric rolling engine and a special test at the very end. And don’t forget to check out Zenta’s MorpHex Forum Thread on the Trossen Robotics Community.

CORE Studio’s Robotic Kinetic Sculpture

March 18th, 2014

Core Studio's Kinetic Sculpture

Trossen Customer CORE studio has just unveiled their newest creation: a DYNAMIXEL and Arduino / ArbotiX based kinetic sculpture.

CORE Studio is the virtual incubator for the structural engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti, so it was natural that CORE Studio would build this sculpture in the Thornton Tomasetti San Francisco office.

The group started by building a quarter scale model of the final sculpture, which allowed them to test motors, sensors, code and their custom 3D printed assemblies.

Once the prototype was shown to be viable, the group began work on the final sculpture. Using their in-house MakerBot 3D printer, the CORE Studio team printed out over 350 custom parts! Over three days the group installed the 150 square foot sculpture. Each DYNAMIXEL servo can move the carbon fiber rods independently while several ArbotiX boards keep the DYNAMIXELs synchronized and working together. ArbotiX boards can be controlled via XBee wireless communication. The overall orientation of the sculpture is effected by movement in the room, which is reported to the ArbotiX boards by a series of sonar sensors.

Over the coming weeks the CORE Studio team will be fine-tuning the sculpture’s behavior to create new and interesting configurations.

Toro-bots – the PhantomX Based Robotic Japanese Garden Lamps!?

February 25th, 2014

torobot
Trossen Customer Cassinelli Alvaro has just posted a video of his newest creation, the Toro-Bots. These robots have Japanese style lanterns affixed to the top of a PhantomX Quadrupeds. The cralwers allow the lanterns to become a dynamic part of a garden landscape.

From the videos description,

We propose here a garden that takes care of itself, that somehow understands and re-interprets the rules of harmony and equilibrium, and reconfigures itself depending on the season, the presence or absence of a human observers – that develops structure in a generative way, creating a dynamic conversation between the elements in the garden.

Each lamp is programmed with a different behavior, giving it it’s own personality. Using infrared rangefinders, allowing them to sense the presence of other objects and react by moving away or towards those objects. The robots are connected to an XBee network with a central computer allowing for easy control of the robots from a mobile device, like an iPad as shown in the video.

And as if this setup wasn’t cool enough as is, each lamp has blinking infrared beacon at its top. An infrared camera watches the entire garden, allowing for tracking of the lamps within the garden. This can allow the system to react to many more variables and perform more complex behaviors.

Golem: The MX-64 Hexapod

February 24th, 2014

golemHexapod
Forum Moderator KevinO just released photos and a video of his newest creation - Golem: the DYNAMIXEL MX-64 based Hexapod.

KevinO wanted to learn ROS and to further that goal he built a custom robotic development platform. Golem is 76.2 cm in diameter and weighs in at 7.3 kg. The body plates are custom CNCed T6 Aluminum plates. Golem’s brain is an Intel NUC D54250 and has a gyroscope, accelerator, and compass attached for positional/orientation awareness. Right now KevinO controls the robot manually via a Playstation 3 controller over Bluetooth. An entire deck of the robot is dedicated to the massive 6000mAh LiPo battery.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! KevinO has plans for Golem, including adding a camera system mounted on the MX-28T turret and using the Intel Nuc’s 4th Gen i5 processor to do some amazing things with vision tracking. If his previous ‘bot Charlotte is any indication, we’re in for a real treat.

We’re excited to see what KevinO will do with his Golem, but until then this gait test video will just have to sate our appetites.

DYNAMIXEL Based Robotic Arms at CES

February 18th, 2014

Marita Cheng, Trossen Customer and founder of 2Mar Robotics was at CES last month demonstrating her latest Robotic Arms and control apps. Venture Beat has a great article on Cheng and her goals to use these DYNAMIXEL based arms to assist disabled person’s with everyday tasks.

PhantomX Hexapod Phoenix Code Guide

February 17th, 2014

hexapodWe’ve put together a PhantomX Hexapod Phoenix Code Getting Started Guide.

The Phoenix Code is a unofficial firmware for the PhantomX Hexapod that has a wide variety of gaits and movements not available in the stock NUKE firmware. This code is a community collaboration led by Kurt Eckhardt (KurtE)with the help of Xan and Zenta. The code is based off of Xan’s original code for Lynxmotion Phoenix.

This guide will run you through the history, features, configuration, installation and control of the Phoenix code. Check out this video for a demo of the code in action!

Who Will Win – Man or Machine?

February 14th, 2014

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Kuka Robot Group has just posted a teaser trailer for an upcoming table tennis match. On March 11th Table Tennis wonder Timo Boll will be facing off against the Kuka KR Agilus, the “Fastest Robot on Earth”.

There’s no cash prize for this competition, but the victor (who/whatever it is) will have some impressive bragging rights. Now we’re going to be wondering about all sorts of matchups – maybe THOR MANG could go up against David Beckham?

Find out more here.

New MorpHex Video from Zenta!

February 14th, 2014

Forum Member Zenta has just posted a teaser video of his improved MorpHex MK-II. The MorpHex is a robot that is capable of transforming from a hexapod cralwer into a mechanically rolling ball. The Upper half of the robot has been upgraded from a 1 dof linkage to a more flexible leg . We’re excited to see more demos of the MorpHex in action!

ROBOTIS is looking for DYNAMIXEL XL-320 Beta testers!

February 12th, 2014

XL320ROBOTIS has posted a news article asking for applicants to beta-test their new XL-320 servos. These new servos are similar to the AX-12A servos, working with the DTYNAMIXEL data packet, allowing you to set position and speed of the servo as well as retrieve positional data, temperature data and more! You can even set the compliance slopes on the servo, just as you could with an AX-12A. The new servos are smaller than AX-12As, making them great for projects like ROBOTIS’s mini-darwin project.

To apply for the beta program, ROBOTIS has asked customers with DYNAMIXEL experience to share the news post on facebook and describe what makes them a good candidate for testing the XL-320. 10 teams/individuals will be chosen by ROBOTIS. Beta testers will receive 2 XL-320, a CM9 control board, 2 Li-ion battery packs, a charger and several OLLO pieces.

There is no release date for the XL-320s as of yet, but we’ll keep you posted on any news!

PhantomX Reactor Lends a Helping Hand (or Gripper)

January 30th, 2014

Forum member dburongarcia has been doing research and development for using robotics to assist people with cerebral palsy. He’s using a Arduino Uno with USB Host shield to control a pair of motors in a motorized wheel chair, allowing the user to control the chair with limited head movements. The system can even be controlled via facial recognition running on a PC.

What really caught our eye was the second half of his project – using one of our PhantomX Reactor Robot Arms to help the user feed themselves! The video is in spanish, but the project speaks for itself.

Using 4 pushbuttons, the user can pick food from 1 of 3 bowls, put the food back in the bowl, or get a drink of water. There’s also a version that uses facial recognition to feed the user – we’ll have the video of that up soon.

Projects like this really mean a great deal to us – we truly believe that robots are an amazing tool for assisting humans. When we see that our robots have been integrated into thoughtful designs like this, we know we’re doing something right. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing more documentation and details on this project.

UPDATE:Here’s the video of the facial gesture based commands