Archive for August, 2007

KHR-2HV Humanoid Robot Starter Kit

Monday, August 20th, 2007
Now you’re ready for action!

Have you been waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump on humanoid robot bandwagon?  Well, the time has come!  Trossen Robotics is now offering a KHR-2HV starter kit.  The kit includes everything you see in the picture above: the stock KHR-2HV kit, plus an 800 mAh battery (quite an improvement over the stock 300 mAh battery), a KRG-3 gyro sensor, and the KRC-1 remote kit (which, for a limited time only, includes a USB dongle so you can control your robot from the remote or from your computer!).  With this kit, you get the gear you need, plus you save money!  Everybody likes saving money.

If you’re still reading this, it means that you aren’t looking at the KHR-2HV starter kit yet.  Go!

New IR Distance Sensor Kits!

Monday, August 20th, 2007

Add a layer of spatial awareness to your next PC-based robot!  We started offering these kits because we wanted to show you how easy it is to set up an IR distance sensor array using the Phidgets 8/8/8.  The kits come with either 4 or 8 Sharp GP2D12 IR distance sensors.  These sensors can measure distances from 4 to 30 inches.  If you want better close-range sensing, no problem!  When you place your order, just state in the comment section that you want GP2D120 sensors instead.  GP2D120’s will measure distances ranging from about 1.5 to 12 inches.

It’s kind of like an infrared octopus.

Hey look, we have videos!

Dave appears in the most videos because he has the least dignity!


If you were at Maker Faire 2007, you may have already seen this kit in action.  This interactive display, controlled by our USB IR sensor kit, was a big hit with the kids.


Follow this link to check out the 4-sensor kit!

Follow this link to check out the 8-sensor kit!

Tom Atwood to Deliver Keynote at Robotics Educators Conference

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

We received this email earlier this morning and thought we’d share it with everyone:)


Ridgefield, CT, August 15—Tom Atwood, Editor-in-Chief of Robot magazine, will present the August 16 keynote address to the Robotics Educators Conference sponsored by the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The address, “Growing an Industry: A National Priority,� will give conference participants an overview of the current state of robotics research and development in the United States and worldwide and outline the critical role of educators in preparing students to meet the needs of this critical national industry in the coming years.

“I am looking forward to addressing the Robotics Educators Conference on this important topic,â€? said Tom Atwood. “Robotics researchers in the United States make significant contributions to private industry, national defense and scientific exploration, placing the U.S. in a strong position with regard to the rest of the world in the strategic use of robotics technologies. In all of these areas, our continuing ability to identify and meet the technological challenges will play a key role in determining our national future. […]â€?

“For Robot magazine,� continued Atwood, “The educational robotics community is an important component of our readership and the opportunity to be involved at this level with educators is very exciting. Robot is committed to continuing to support this important group to help them achieve their goal of creating the human resources necessary to advance our future in robotics.�

2005 Winter Botmag

Two more ways to control your Bioloid!

Monday, August 13th, 2007

We would like to let our dedicated blog readers (all 5 of them) know that we’ve expanded our line of Robotis products!  We recently added the USB2Dynamixel and Zig2Serial adapters to our catalog.  USB2Dynamixel allows you to control a network of Dynamixels directly from your computer, which is cool because it frees you from the limitations of the CM-5 controller.  It has a TTL serial port for the AX series of Dynamixels, an RS485 port for the DX and RX Dynamixels, and an RS We’re anticipating that Dynamixel serial actuator networks controlled by the USB2Dynamixel will soon begin to replace traditional parallel hobby servo systems.

The Robotis USB2Dynamixel adapter.  TTL serial, RS232, RS485.  Everything you need for PC-based Dynamixel control.  This can all be yours for $69.99.

Zig2Serial is also a significant addition to our catalog.  This gadget lets you control a Zigbee-equipped Bioloid robot wirelessly from your computer.  Get yourself a set of Zig-100 modules, install one in the Bioloid CM-5 controller and one in the Zig2Serial adapter, and you’re ready to go.

Zig2Serial adapter.  For those of us who hate wires.  Available for the low, low price of $19.99.

Dancing Robot Copies Human Moves

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Using the HRP-2 Promet Humanoid, Japanese researchers, Shin’ichiro Nakaoka and fellow colleagues, have developed software that allows this 5ft (154cm) tall humanoid to imitate dance routines without falling on it’s [email protected]# via video motion capture technology.

dancing robot

The HRP-2 “watches” a routine, then accurately reproduces it just minutes later. More details about it can be found in the International Journal of Robotics Research (please don’t ask us where:) ).

Dr Nakaoka said: “The result that the robot stably imitated human dance motions including dynamic-style step while keeping the original motion rhythm is a novel achievement for biped humanoid robots.�

Click here to check out the video.

Read the full article at the

Thanks to rep001 in the Robosavvy forums for the heads up:)

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Courtesy of the Chief Delphi Forums

Spirit of Innovation

The X PRIZE Foundation’s Competition in Honor of Famed Astronaut Rewards High-School-Aged Teams That Develop an Original Concept to Benefit Personal Spaceflight.

The X PRIZE Foundation announced the availability of online registration for a new education competition designed to interest students in space, science and technology. The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award, named in honor of the celebrated Apollo astronaut, will be presented for the first time at this year’s Wirefly X PRIZE Cup in October. The award will be presented to the high school team that develops the most creative, new space concept to benefit the emerging personal spaceflight industry.

Teams of three students will be required to submit graphical representations, technical documents and business plans of concepts that can accelerate the personal spaceflight industry. Examples of concepts could include new space suit designs and accessories, advanced food items, zero-gravity games, or vehicle cabin design for a better passenger experience. The first place team will receive a $5,000 grant, followed by $2,500 for second place and $1,500 for third.

The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award is both the world’s premier student prize for innovative aerospace concepts and the premier educational tool for exciting and involving students in the rapidly growing personal spaceflight industry. The award creates a new level of excitement and dynamic participation in all fields of science and technology. It also provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect the most innovative students with the companies and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in opening the space frontier to the world.

The award itself is a large, bronze rocket ship trophy, created especially for this competition by Erik Lindbergh, artist, aviator and grandson of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. Students will also receive smaller individual rocket trophies.

Eligibility Rules

Entrant teams must be composed of three students and one adult Advisor over the age of 18. Teams can be formed from schools or social organizations (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.)

Student team members must be between the ages of 13 and 18 by Sept 15th, 2007.

Teams must be registered by the final registration date of Sept 7th, 2007.

All team members, including the team advisor, must be United States citizens.


September 7th – Final Registration Deadline
September 15th – Deadline for entry submissions
October 2nd – Notification of finalists
October 26th-28th – Finalist public voting & Award ceremony
For more detailed information and to register, please visit

About Charles “Pete” Conrad

Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr. was the third man to walk on the moon and served on Gemini 5 and 11, Apollo 12, and Skylab 2 missions. Conrad was the recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, awarded for his rescue of Skylab. He was posthumously awarded the Ambassador of Exploration Award by NASA in 2006.

About the Wirefly X Prize Cup and Holloman Air and Space Show

The Wirefly X PRIZE Cup is an annual two-day air and space exposition. This year the Cup will be held in conjunction with Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM to create the first ever Air & Space Expo with “live” fire / fly demonstrations and competitions. This event is free and open to the public and will be held on October 27th and 28th from 10am to 5pm. Launch and air show demonstrations will feature Rocket Racing League’s X-Racer, Air Force single-ship demos including F-22, F-16 and F-117, as well as the return of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge — a two-level, $2 million competition requiring a vehicle to simulate trips between the moon’s surface and lunar orbit. Nine teams are registered for this year’s competition, with NASA funding the prizes through its Centennial Challenges program. Additionally, visitors can tour a massive ground display featuring space and rocket exhibits and Air Force aircraft. For more information, please visit or call (310) 576-3473.

About the X Prize Foundation

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space twice in two weeks to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since expanded its mission beyond space exploration to offer new prizes for breakthroughs in the areas of life improvement, equity of opportunity and sustainability. In October of 2006, the X PRIZE Foundation announced the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for genomics, which will reward the first private effort to map 100 human genomes in 10 days ushering in a new era of personalized preventative medicine. For more information please visit or email [email protected]


Sarah Evans
[email protected]

Joshua Neubert
[email protected]

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.