Archive for July, 2013

New Edge Kits and an Octopod

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Interbotix Octopod

Interbotix Labs is proud to announce our first entry into our line of Edge Kits!

Edge Kits are robotics kits that we are releasing from our R&D labs early. In an effort to make more kits available to the community and to accelerate the innovation cycle we have decided to start releasing “Edge Kits” for advanced builders. The name comes from the term “cutting edge” to denote that these kits are on the front edge of development. The kits are intended as hardware kits and may or may not come with certain levels of code that we and the community is working on, though code will often be available in unsupported beta formats which people are sharing and banging away on to improve.

We made the choice to release kits in this format due to the demand we have seen over the years from the community wanting to get their hands on advanced kits faster than the normal cycle. We as roboticists are notoriously impatient people and when we want to build, we want to build now. So the Edge Kit was born. The kits do NOT come with the same level of documentation, code, and/or assembly instructions that our fully support Interbotix Kits do. As a result, these kits are best suited for individuals with previous experience with our kits or other similar applications.

Our first Edge Kit is the Interbotix Octopod. As the name suggests, the kit is an eight legged crawler. Community member KevinO has already gotten his kit up and running with some seriously advanced features and sensing capabilities. His robot Charlotte started life as a PhantomX Hexapod running an Arbotix and from there he modified the legs several times to his liking (a great feature of the modular AX-12 bracket system). Soon a Raspberry Pi and Kinect 3d Camera sensor were added, and he ported over the Phoenix-Phoenix code (another community project for our crawlers lead by KurtE) to run natively on the Raspberry Pi. As he experimented with face tracking, obstacle avoidance and gesture tracking, KevinO expressed a desire to make Charlotte a bit closer to a real spider by adding an additional pair of legs and bringing the total up to 8. And thus, the Octopod project was born.

This is a perfect example of how the synergy of small companies and online communities are ever increasing the speed of innovation in technology. A big thanks goes out to Kevin for his VERY impressive project, we can’t wait to see where he takes it next! Check out his video of Charlotte taking some of her early steps:

Fermilab’s Electromagnet Passes by Trossen Robotics HQ Tonight!

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Fermilab ring

For the last month, the Trossen Team has been following the journey of Fermilab’s 50-foot-wide electromagnet. The electromagnet boarded a barge in Brookhaven new York on June 22nd, then slowly made it’s way down the coast, into the gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and finally landed in Lemont Illinois. This entire week the Fermilab Team/Authorities have been closing down roadways at night to let the massive magnet pass. Well tonight, the magnet will pass right next to our offices! We’re getting ready to have a roof party and greet the ring in style.

The ring is currently residing at a parking lot about 6 miles away from our office. They’re planning on moving the ring at about 11:30, so we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of it sometime around midnight. We’ll keep you posted with video and photos as it passes by.

T8 the Bio Inspired 3D Printed Spider Octopod Robot

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

We always get a lot of comments about how life-like our crawlers can be, but Robugtix has taken it to a whole new level. The T8 Octopod has 26 motors (3 per leg, and 2 in the abdomen) and produces some amazingly arachnid-like movements. The robot’s hardware has been 3D printed to complete the illusion. The movements are so smooth that there was even a debate in the youtube comments as to whether or not the robot was real or an animation!

The T8 should be ready for order in September, so keep an eye out for it!

Awesome 3D Printed Arm Uses a PhantomX Gripper

Friday, July 19th, 2013

3darm

Maker n8zach has built himself an amazing 3D printed arm. The arm is powered by 1 MX-106, 3 MX-64s, 1 MX-28 and 2 AX-18As (one of which is used with our PhantomX Gripper The arm is contorlled via a PC using a USB2DYNAMIXEL and the DYNAMIXEL SDK.

This arm on its own is pretty amazing, but on top of everything else, n8zach can control his arm via a Kinect. He can control the arm manually, or he can set it to automatically perform certain tasks.

pyPincher, an IKGUI tool for the PhantomX Pincher

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

pypincher

Phil Williammee has created an application that can communicate with the the PhantomX Pincher through PyPose. pyPincher will allow you to control the Pincher via rotation, extension, and height, along with gripper angle and the gripper itself. The program will then also give you a 3D representation of the arm’s current position. You can even load different coordinates and toggle between them! This is just another great example of how users can leverage the open software and firmware of the InterbotiX robots to create custom setups.

You can grab a copy of the code at his GitHub page

Check Out Chicago’s Innovation Lab

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

128

We’re just around the corner from Chicago, so we’re thrilled to hear that The Harold Washington Library Center is giving free access to its Innovation Lab. The lab has three Makerbot 3-D printers, laser CNCs and even a milling machine.

This is a great opportunity for makers, hackers, teachers, students and, well, everyone. We truly believe that open access to this kind of technology will enable and inspire makers to build more and more amazing things. The future is looking bright, better print up some sunglasses!

Check out ‘Through the Wormhole’ tonight to see one of our Hexapods!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

throughthewormhole

Tonight’s episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman is titled ‘ARE ROBOTS THE FUTURE OF HUMAN EVOLUTION?’ – and guess who is making a guest appearance? That’s right, one of our PhantomX Hexapods! We know we’re looking forward to hearing Morgan Freeman’s silky smooth voice narrating over our hexapod, we hope you are too! Tune in tonight, Wednesday July 10th at 10pm to see our hexapod. From the Science channel website:

From our smartphones to our vacuum cleaners to our cars, we have robots that live and work beside us. We are designing these everyday objects to think for themselves giving them the power to learn to move on their own. Is it possible that these new life forms evolve to be smarter and more capable than humans or will we choose to merge with the machines, combining the best of our world with the best of theirs?

DYNAMIXEL Pros are here!

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The wait is over, ROBOTIS has finally released the first two of their DYNAMIXEL PRO Line! The L54-60-S300-R and the H54-100-S500-R are ready for pre-order. The DYNAMIXEL PRO line of Robot Actuators is ROBOTIS’s new solution for full-scale robots. These new actuators have incredibly high power and precision, making them ideal for for everything from advanced robotics to industry applications.

These two models use the RS-485 communication protocol and are compatible right out of the gate with the USB2DYNAMIXEL. In the future we can look forward to 7 more DYNAMIXEL PRO models, communication protocols, a robust set of frames, and more gear-box options like right-angle and belt. Check out our DYNAMIXEL PRO page for more information.

The DYNAMIXEL PRO line are built to order and there is an 8-10 week lead time on both of these models. For more information about pricing and availability call us at 877-898-1005 or e-mail us.