Archive for August 1st, 2007

PC Controlled Hexabot Using Visual Studio

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Very similar to the post below this is a Hexabot we built for PDC in ’05.

– Tethered PC control (code written in Visual Studio)
– Mechanics are Lynxmotion parts
– Motors are Hitec hobby servos (HS5645 & HS645)
– Controllers are Phidget USB 4 servo controllers
– 23″ long, 18″ wide
– 6 legs, 3 DOF each
– Input: Walking algorithms driven by computer program

I wrote a simple tri-gate walk for this crawler for the show. Later versions had different stances, turning gates, and a P&T camera head. This robot was another quick demo to show what can be built using common programming languages on a PC. Since this robot is tethered it can’t go far, but who really needs a crawling robot that runs around a forest? These are research or educational robots that won’t really leave the lab or classroom. Hexabot crawlers are a great way for teachers to create exciting challenges for students to work on. Everything is involved; mechanical design, creative problem solving, electronics, computer programming, physics, high level mathematics, team work, and more. I imagine a large obstacle course with the tether running to the middle. That would give about a 20 foot circular area to play in. plenty of room.

FSRs can also be added to the toes of these robots to give foot pressure sensory feedback.

Accelerometers or gyros can be used for tilt awareness.

PS: we have 3 hexabots, including this one, that have all been lightly used for shows that are up for sale if anyone wants them. They aren’t getting much use here lately and we would love to find them a good home. It’s a good way to pick up a lot of expensive hardware cheap. Just email us if you are interested.

Robotic Arm controlled by Visual Studio Express

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Can you tell we are going through all our old video tapes lately? :) Here is a project we brought to PDC back in ’05. This was another show that Coding4Fun invited us out to so we could show off the cool things you can do with Visual Studio Express.
Features of the arm:

– PC controlled (code written in Visual Studio)

– Mechanics are Lynxmotion parts

– Motors are Hitec hobby servos

– 15″ reach

– 4 DOF (we skipped the base rotation for the show because we are lazy)

– Input: logitech joypad being read from using DirectX

– gripper will hold angle via Inverse Kinematics (plotting X,Y of wrist joint)

Anyone who is a programmer in Visual Studio or Visual Studio Express can see how easy it is to start writing really cool code for these kinds of arms. The motor control is a cakewalk using the Phidgets Library. This is what we like about PC based robotics, it makes robotics intuitive for the millions of existing coders all over the world. It’s a natural horizontal move from writing regular computer programs to creating robotic programs.

If you want to discuss this arm you can visit the forum post about it here.