Archive for January, 2010

Amazing Robotics Presentation From RoMeLa

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Dr. Dennis Hong, who is in charge of the RoMeLa program at Virginia Tech recently made a presentation at TEDx showcasing some of his department’s very advanced, very cool robotics projects! I couldn’t help but notice watching through this rather lengthy video (it’s worth watching all of it, trust me) that a good number of Dynamixels from Robotis made an appearance. Check it out!

Lego NXT Scorpion Says: “Back Off Mah Skittles!”

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

If pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth like, a million right?

Wi-Fi Warhog Mayhem!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Our pals over at Coding4Fun wrote up a pretty extensive, and pretty awesome tutorial on how they made their Wi-Fi Warthog project a reality. Remember Power Wheel toys as a kid? Add in Phidgets, Nerf Guns, computers, and Xbox 360 controllers, and you’ve got yourself a real life videogame!

The video below shows the Wi-Fi Warthogs in action at PDC09!

Sparkfun Free Day Video!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

On Jan 7th, Sparkfun did an awesome thing for the DIY hobbyist community; they gave away $100,000 worth of stuff for free. Free Day was a massive thank you to all that supported them growing as a company, a way to give back to the community. While we at Trossen Robotics cannot fully express just how much we appreciate such a gesture, the move was one that sparked both love and hate from their many fans, customers, and followers. The website was up and down all day under the immense amount of traffic they were experiencing and many of those who were not able to get their free stuff were ‘outraged’. How one can be mad over such a generous gesture is beyond me, but as the age-old saying goes: “No good deed goes unpunished”.

Anyway, Sparkfun put together a pretty cool video highlighting the chaos from their POV, check it out!

MINI Robocontroller now available!

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Yet another great microcontroller from our friends over at Vanadium Labs; the MINI Robocontroller is now available for sale!

This is an extremely versatile Arduino-software compatible microcontroller that packs a lot of features in a very small footprint. It is also the board used for the target/scoring system in the Mech Warfare robotics competition. Read more below:

The MINI robocontroller is designed for small robots. It incorporates a powerful AVR microcontroller, XBEE wireless radio, dual motor drivers, and 3-pin servo-style headers for IO.

The board includes all circuitry needed to control a small differential drive robot. It can also easily control up to 4 servos.

See the user manual here.

RoboController Specifications

  • 16MHz AVR microcontroller (ATMEGA168).
  • 20 I/O, 6 of which can function as analog inputs
  • Servo style 3-pin headers (gnd, vcc, signal) on all 6 analog inputs, and 4 of the digital IO
  • Dual 1A motor drivers, with combined motor/encoder header.
  • XBEE radio sold separately. A typical setup will require 2 XBEE radios and an XBEE explorer to be able to wirelessly control your robot from your computer.
  • This board requires either an FTDI cable or ISP. We recommend the Sparkfun FTDI breakout.
  • 2.4”x2.4” with mounting holes in each corner.

Inverse Kinematics for Dummies!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

And… we’re back from our vacations during the holidays and hope that all of you had a great 2009!

Inverse Kinematics can be a scary thing to the robot hobby novice. There is a lot of trig involved, and if you’ve learned anything from reading this blog you’ll know that being Norwegian apparently makes it a lot easier to grasp.

Mike Ferguson of Vanadium Labs has just released NUKE (Nearly Universal Kinematics Engine) in Beta form, which is a comprehensive and easy to use IK system built around the arbotiX Robocontroller. To make things even easier, he’s created a step by step tutorial on how to implement NUKE on your arbotiX based robot.

The Nearly Universal Kinematics Engine (NUKE) is finally out in a first beta. NUKE is a PyPose tool that allows users to setup an IK/Gait engine for their ArbotiX-powered bot, regardless of the size, servo orientation, etc (as long as it fits within an available template). Right now our templates only support 3DOF Lizard-legged 4 and 6 leg robots, however 3DOF Mammal-style leg support isn’t far off, and low DOF Biped support is in the works. This is the same system that powered Issy, Roz, and Jeff to take the top 3 spots at CNRG’s Walker Challenge. It takes about 20-30 minutes to setup your bot once you get the hang of what’s going on. The output is fairly straight forward to expand/alter. It’s mostly been running on Quads, I’ve yet to fully test it on Hexapods (first person to post a video of NUKE powering a hexapod gets a cookie at Robogames..)

NUKE is written in Python, and it exports a C/C++ Arduino project that runs on the ArbotiX. NUKE can be downloaded from our Google code site: http://code.google.com/p/arbotix/downloads/list. Documentation is also on that site. We also have a google group for support (it’s very new, hence the low traffic) http://groups.google.com/group/robocontroller .