Archive for July, 2007

Could you code in Basic still?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

There was an awesome display of old computers in the corner of the Microsoft room at Makers Faire. Danny Thorpe has some cool pics on Flickr pic 1, pic 2, pic 3.

Amal and I wandered by the display and he noticed that the Atari was actually running Basic all ready to go. So he jumped on it and started trying to dust the cobwebs off that ancient lobe of his brain. My memory sucks, I could never do this. Amal actually managed to write a few lines and make something happen. I was impressed.

Force Sensing for Robots

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Check out our new FSR & voltage divider kits available in the catalog. These kits make force sensing a breeze. Supply 5 volts and get an analog signal back. The variable resistor on the voltage divider also allows you to fine tune the sensitivity range of the force sensor. You can plug these into any A/D converter such as the Phidget 8/8/8.

FSR Combo Kit

Here is a video of Dave explaining how to read from an FSR on your PC using the kit and a Phidget 8/8/8.

And here is a 2nd video demonstrating an FSR on a gripper with feedback stop.

Trossen Robotics @ Makers Fair with Magic Air Tubes

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Could we be any more behind on posting our Makers Faire videos? I don’t think so…

We were invited out to Makers Faire by our friends over at Microsoft Coding4Fun. They wanted us to build some fun stuff using Visual Studio Express that would entertain the kids and families attending the event. The Visual Studio Express is a free version of Visual Studio that is aimed at the hobby market place. We use it in a lot of our projects and find it has most everything you need even if you are a serious developer.

We built two projects for the Faire. One was a shooting gallery which we have no good footage of and the other project was our magic air tubes. Below is the only descent footage we got of the air tubes because we were so swamped the whole time we could only grab a camera when there wasn’t a sea of ankle biters swarming the booth :)

See if you can figure out how we built it before scrolling down to the answer below.

Behold the magic air tubes!








How we built the project.

Input: 8 IR sensors plugged into a Phidgets 8/8/8 Interface Kit (A/D converter)

Then we wrote a program which converted the variable signal input caused by people waving their hands into a variable fan speed output.

Output: 2 Phidget 4-servo motor controllers plugged into 8 Banebot DC motor controllers plugged into 8 high speed fans.

And that my friends is how you entertain Makers Faire Attendees.

i-Sobot Information Posted

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Tomy is about to break a lot of barriers with their upcoming iSobot humanoid.

Coming in October 2007!


Coming in at just $349 this humanoid has an amazing amount of features. Tomy has raised the bar on this one!

– Only 6.5″ tall! Wow.
– Seventeen (17) custom-designed miniature servos
– Hundreds of pre-programmed actions
– Program a sequence of up to 80 actions from joystick
– i-SOBOT recognizes 10 voice commands
– Runs on 3 standard AAA NiMH batteries
– 18 pre-programmed special actions

Read more on the iSobot Product Page

RC Car Robot & Mouse Traps !

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

We posted some old projects in our forums. For us it’s like a trip down memory lane…

Laptop Controlled RC car robot platform

Read about the project here

The Trossen Robotics Humane Mouse Trap

Read about the project here

Bioloid Hand Gripper using a Firgelli Actuator

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

We just ran across this video on Youtube, check out this awesome home made Bioloid gripper by Jon Hylands using Bioloid parts and a Firgelli actuator. Nice job Jon!

Short Circuit’s Johnny Five on eBay for $100,000

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Johnny 5

If we had $100,000 in spare change we would totally buy him to greet people at the front door!

More details at Gizmodo where we stole this post from.

eBay link

No Hubs Attached – Phidget InterfaceKit 8/8/8

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

As many of you probably already know, the 8/8/8 IntefaceKit is an I/O board that has 8 analog inputs, 8 digital inputs and 8 digital outputs.

old Phidget 8/8/8

At the surface level this seems pretty standard. That is, until you check out the downloads section and see that you can use this IntefaceKit (along with all other Phidget USB boards) on all the major Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, and more recently Windows Mobile/CE. Once you dive in a little deeper into the Phidgets, you’ll see that there are also nicely written COM, C, Java, .NET and even CE Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) that break away from the traditional lower level communication and COM Port interaction, and allow you to start rapidly deploying applications using high level objects, methods, events, properties, etc. For all you MSRS fans out there, yes, Phidgets has MSRS services.

The Phidget InterfaceKit 8/8/8 always came with a two port USB Hub attached (see above). This was a nice convenience especially when customers had an application where they needed a two port hub and didn’t want to buy an extra one. Those that didn’t want to spend the extra cash nor wanted to sacrifice the additional space however, were stuck spending that extra dough.

That is until now…

Just last week, Phidgets announced that they are releasing a new version of the 8/8/8 Interface Kit without the USB hub which of course will mean smaller and less $$. Now, let me present to you the Phidget InterfaceKit 8/8/8 with no hubs attached:

New 8/8/8

Have fun with this new board, and don’t forget about our
Project Contest
to win some TR loot!

8/23 – 8/25/07: Robots at Play Festival in Odense, Denmark

Thursday, July 19th, 2007
Thought many of you would be interested in this email we just received. This definitely sounds very exciting:) Wish we were in Denmark!

Robots at Play

Robots at Play Prize 2007
10,000 euro cash prize to the most playful robotic system

The Robots at Play Prize 2007 is an international prize for the most playful and/or interactive robotic system. It is given in connection with the Robots at Play Festival in Odense, Denmark, on 23-25 August 2007, and sponsored by Fionia Bank.

Robotic systems are entering into the daily life on citizens all over the world. Vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, toys, playgrounds, rehabilitation equipment, fitness equipment, etc. are becoming robotic systems. In such a development, it is crucial to design robotic systems that are interactive and well integrated into the daily life in its natural surroundings, being at home, in the urban space, in sports club, in theatre, in hospitals, in developing countries, etc. This design challenge demands integration of different disciplines such as robotics, design, interaction design, and arts.

The Robots at Play Prize of 10,000 euro is aimed at reinforcing the integration of such disciplines and societal understanding in robotics. The prize promotes robotic systems for use in all aspects of daily life for the benefit of humans and interactivity with humans.

A prominent example of such a system is playware, which combines robotics, design, arts, play studies and industrial development to create the playgrounds of tomorrow – playgrounds that are based on robotic components in order to create joyful physical activity in fight against obesity. The Playware is developed by one of the committee members and therefore not nominated for the Robots at Play Prize, and serves only as an example.

Call for candidates:

The international Robots at Play Prize is open to any candidate robotic system world-wide. It is open for anybody world-wide to suggest candidate robotic systems. Candidate robotic systems will be evaluated during the festival by an academic/industrial committee based upon their qualities in terms of being

· interactive
· innovative
· playful

and also in terms of their

· design
· functionality
· potential impact on society

The committee will evaluate the nominated candidates. Nominated candidates are invited to join the Robots at Play Festival in order to showcase their robotic system to the public, as part of the evaluation for the prize. The Robots at Play Prize 2007 ceremony will be held on evening 24th August 2007 in Odense, Denmark, during the Robots at Play Festival.

Candidate descriptions including abstract, www-information, photo, and inventor/developer contact information should be sent to the committee chair Professor Henrik Hautop Lund, University of Southern Denmark, by email: [email protected], no later than 1st August 2007.

The committee consists of members from the Academy of Fine Arts, RoboCluster, and Danish industry

Robots at Play Festival:
The overall aim of the Robots at Play Festival is to spread knowledge about robotics by presenting interactive robotic systems in the daily life of the citizens. Therefore, the festival takes place on an open city square, in art museums, library, bars, cinema, etc. in the city centre of Odense that has nominated “play and robotics” as its future focus for industrial and city development. Apart from the prize, the festi­val hosts numerous events like robot construction, robot bazaar, robot film presentati­ons, play, learning, robot art exhibition, robot art performances, RoboMusic development, a stage show, an international Playful Robotic Art conference and a debate on robotics ethics. All events take place in the centre of the city amongst the citizens in their daily environment. Please have a look at the video from last year’s festival (Video), and the descriptions of activities and photos of some of the robots from the forthcoming 2007 festival (Image gallery) on the web-site.

Robots at Play Festival, Odense, Denmark, 23-25 August 2007:

Video: More Crabfu KHR-2HV Action

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Hello, readers! We’d just like to give a quick internet high-five to I-Wei (of Crabfu), who has posted a new video of his KHR-2HV this afternoon.

He modified the feel a bit, curling the edges and decreacing the surface area, allowing for a smoother gait.

Here are some links!
Crabfu Youtube vids
KHR-2HV product page