Archive for March, 2009

Want to win a Bioloid? Announcing the TRC Tutorial Contest!

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Time flies! It’s that time again to officially announce the next round of the Trossen Robotics Community (TRC) Contest. We had quite a bit of success with our previous Project Contests and a lot of very cool entries, however we are going to mix things up this time.
This round is going to be a Tutorial Contest , and is quite a bit different from our previous contests. Think of it as an ‘Instructables meets How Stuff Works’ style contest: We want you to submit entries in the form of a detailed step by step ‘How-To’ or Informative Tutorials.
We’re going to be asking a lot more of our participants this round, so we have raised the stakes and are giving away our biggest prizes yet! Without further ado here are the prizes being offered for this round!
1st place


Bioloid Comprehensive Kit:

2nd place

Bioloid Beginner Kit:

3rd place


Robotis Ollo Bug Kit

  • New Beginner Robotics Kit from Robotis!
  • Reconfigurable, modular design
  • Tons of parts to build with!
  • Instructions to build 4 different robots included
  • Remote controlled
  • Highly descriptive well documented instructions

You’re probably asking: “Well what’s the catch?” We won’t lie, we’re going to make you work for it and put your knowledge to the test!

Here are some examples of what types of tutorials we’re looking for:

  • What is a gyroscope/accelerometer/analog or digital signal?
  • How do servos/DC Motors/Batteries work? (explain inner workings, control, show example code, etc)
  • Choosing the right (Microcontroller/DC Motor/Sensor) for the job.
  • How to setup an Arduino/Xbee Communication/Basic Stamp. (basic projects with example code, videos, etc)
  • How to control a robot wirelessly. (many different methods of going about this, pick one and elaborate!)
  • Theory of Inverse Kinematics, Dead Reckoning, Spacial Mapping, etc.
We’re looking for well written, detailed entries that a beginner could read through and learn from. The emphasis on this is creating valuable tutorials and FAQs that the community as a whole can benefit from. Diagrams, pictures, source code, practical applications, text references and examples are welcomed and strongly encouraged. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, please cite any reference materials used. We are not looking for build articles during this round.
Entries will also be judged in a different manner than before: Contestants are encouraged to post as many tutorials as they like; in fact, the more tutorials submitted, the more points they receive towards their final score. Now that said, quality is greatly valued over quantity. One detailed, well written tutorial will hold more weight than five mediocre ones, but if you post numerous well written tutorials you’re going to be in very good shape.

Previous project submissions were based out of our Project Showcase forum, but this time all submissions must be entered into the Tutorial section.

Please visit our Project Contest Page to learn more about the contest, how to enter and for the official rules and guidelines. Somebody is going to be a proud new owner of a Bioloid Comprehensive Kit, Bioloid Beginner Kit, or Ollo Bug Kit, will it be you?

Resist Or Be Terminated!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theorist, right? Well, at least they’re good for a laugh from time to time. Take a gander at the new blog Resist Or Be Terminated, this nutcase has some insane conspiracy cooked up that our friends over at Skynet Research are up to something bad. What a joke! Skynet Research has been completely transparent in their intentions, they’re simply trying to foster along robotics development and have even been so kind as to share some of their technology with the robotics community. If you’re looking for a laugh, check out the video below showing some alleged ‘glitches’ in their system. People these days, ha!

Introducing the Roboard: The Robot Computer

Friday, March 20th, 2009

The Roboard RB-100 is a new breed of robotics controller: a fusion of a traditional microcontroller and a full function computer. Think of it as an OS capable microcontroller on steroids, boasting a 32bit x86 CPU running at 1000MHz and 256MB DRAM. The ability to load an operating system of your choice and have direct access to I/O, Comm ports, USB, and networking opens this controller up to a wide range of robotics based applications. Our Roboard Starter Kit comes with just about everything you need to implement this feature rich controller in your next robotics project! All you need to supply is a 1-2gb Micro-SD card to load an OS onto, 6-24v, and a robot!


A-pod: A Robot Ant’s Tale

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

TRC Member Zenta has once again amazed us all with a new hexapod robot

Inspired by insects, this time Zenta decided to mix things up a bit. Dubbed A-pod, this hexapod is fully custom built much like the original Phoenix hexapod. Time and time again Zenta never fails to impress, we can’t wait for the videos of it creeping around in its own lifelike way!

To see the full writeup including more pictures and to watch the progression A-pod, check out Zenta’s thread in the TRC.

Lynxmotion Robot Project Contest!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Our friends over at Lynxmotion are hosting their first ever Project Contest! Do you have an awesomely customized Johnny 5 kit you want to show off? How about a suped-up Phoenix? Head over to the Lynxmotion forums and submit a detailed write-up of your project, complete with pictures and videos for a chance to win some very generous gift cards. Here is the official posting:

We are happy to announce our first Robot Project Contest. People have been building awesome robots from our kits and parts for 15 years. We want to do a better job of recognizing and rewarding these efforts. The contest will have two categories.

The first category can be any project that is based on a Lynxmotion robot kit. This can be anything from a Robotic Arm or Rover to a Johnny 5 or 3DOF Hexapod. We’re looking for anything that has been added or modified to improve the aesthetics or the functionality of the robot. Your take on your favorite movie robot, or your version of a Mars Rover would be cool. Submitting a stock build is not likely to draw much attention.

The second category can be anything created with our Servo Erector Set series of brackets and components. For this category we are looking for something unique, interesting and different. It must use the SES components as the primary construction material.

The entries must be posted here in this section of the forum. Even if the robot has been posted in other sections of the website. The first post is the submission, so you should edit it to keep it up to date. The entry must have quality higher resolution images and clear video as a minimum. We will also require a full write up of the parts used, the problems solved, or the inspiration for the project, etc. We need details. At the time of this writing we do not have the ability to host the images or video. You will need to find a place to host them for now. You are encouraged to post what you have as soon as possible. You will have time to edit your post to fulfill the contest requirements as you require.

The contest time frame is three months, ending on May 31st. The awards are as follows:

Kit Robot Contest
1st Place = $350.00 gift certificate
2nd Place = $200.00 gift certificate
3rd Place = $100.00 gift certificate

SES Robot Contest
1st Place = $350.00 gift certificate
2nd Place = $200.00 gift certificate
3rd Place = $100.00 gift certificate

Our own custom Pico-ITX based Johnny 5 will be cheering from the sidelines! Go get em guys!

Big Pictures, Big Robots!

Monday, March 9th, 2009 published a great article featuring a wide variety of robots around the world. If you like robots, and you like big pretty pictures of robots, you definitely have to check it out. In style with the article, I’ll keep this short and let you check out the pictures yourself!

Flying Wifi Robots: Friend or Foe?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Sure, the researchers may state they are intended for assistance in disasters… but these wifi network creating robots could just as easily be used to spread the reach of the dreaded Skynet! I have my doubts, but Engadget seems pretty sure that these robots have good intentions. Time shall tell!

Researchers at Germany’s Ilmenau University of Technology are developing flying quadcopter robots that can be used to form a self-assembling ad-hoc wireless network in the event of disaster. Built with off-the-shelf parts (including VIA’s Pico-ITX hardware and a GPS unit) the robots are designed to provide both mobile phone and WiFi access — and they can do it far more quickly than a technician on the ground might be able to. The device comes in a kit for €300 (about $380), which includes all but the battery — the batteries currently run around €1,000 (over $1200) and only offer up 20 minutes of flight time. Once the device has found a perch, however, it can operate for “several hours.”

Full story via Engadget.

InventGeek’s Paintball Turret = Awesome

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Funny I found this, because I was just thinking that if (when) the Zombie Armageddon hits, I’d need to fortify my Costco fortress (find your own) with some automatic turrets capable of firing zombie repellent, and what better project to detail building exactly that? has painstakingly detailed all of their most excellent work that went into building this beauty, and while we have seen a paintball turret pop up over the years, none have even come close to such an elegant execution. Complete parts lists and even the ability to purchase the acrylic parts are available, so you too can build your very own “Zombie Repellent Paintball Turret” to fortify your “Post-Zombie Armageddon Costco Fortress” (dibs on the one by my office!).