Archive for January, 2016

New Product – Xevelabs USB2AX v3.2a

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

We have a new product, and it’s pretty gosh darn exciting for anyone using AX and MX series Dynamixel Servos for a single board computer robot! The Xevelabs USB2AX v3.2a USB to TTL Dynamixel Servo Interface is diminutive in size, but talks a big game with any device utilizing a half-duplex TTL interface 3-pin connector using the Dynamixel Protocol! The USB2AX works as a serial device, receiving messages from your PC via USB, and transmitting the data over to the DYNAMIXEL chain. You can send and read data to/from DYNAMIXEL servos just like you would with a microcontroller.

Often a USB2DYNAMIXEL adapter would be used to connect a PC to a DYNAMIXEL chain, but at just under 4cm in length, the USB2AX is a much more compact solution. The USB2AX also offers lower latency and more software features than the USB2DYNAMIXEL. If you want to use a small single board computer like the Raspberry Pi to control your DYNAMIXEL based robot, the USB2AX is the board for you.

Xevelabs has a plethora of documentation to get you started with the USB2AX in no time at all. The USB2AX is an Open Source project, allowing you to reprogram, hack, and configure the hardware and software as you deem fit!

New Instructable – Auto Turret with Pixy and Nerf Gun

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Autoturret with pixy and nerf gun
We have a new project that we’re excited for you to try! With the Auto-Turret Project, you can automatically track down and fire upon your enemies! This project utilizes a Pixy camera module, a RobotGeek pan/tilt base, a foam dart gun, and a Geekduino to coordinate the components. The Pixy can be ‘taught’ to recognize different colors, and when it ‘sees’ an object with the matched color, it will send data to the Geekduino. The Geekduino will then move the pan and tilt servos so that the object is in the center of the Pixy’s field of view. If the object stays still for too long, the foam dart gun will engage, firing a dart at the object!

You can find the Instructable here, or go to the RobotGeek Learning site here for the same instruction.

Thomas the War Engine will Haunt Your Nightmares

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Kick the baby

Roboticist Y. Nakajima has produced one of the most creative, yet nightmare inducing incarnations of Thomas the Tank Engine quite possibly to have ever existed. As noted in the blog post announcing the existence of this robot, the name of this creation roughly translates to “Multi-legged Agency Tank Thomas”, and it has a mythology drawing from the Thomas the Tank Engine children’s show involving Sir Topham suffering from madness and obsession after a great war, and modifying the gentle Locomotive, adding legs and a radioactive death ray to be an agent of destruction. In reality, the robot stands about a foot tall, and is outfitted with a 300mw laser, which can do some pretty serious damage to human eyes, balloons, and matches. Watch the video if you would like to ruin your childhood and potentially never sleep again.

Full Size Humanoid Braces for Falls Using Its Hands

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Kick the baby

A group comprised of members of Carnegie Mellon University, The Robotics Institute, and the Advanced Robotics lab at IIT, have been kicking around a full size million dollar humanoid robot. Don’t worry, this robot is fully equipped to brace itself for the fall, much in the same way a human would. Upon having a force acting upon the robot, leading it into what would be a catastrophic fall, it will hold out its hands to brace itself against a wall. It even accurately pushes itself back into proper standing position! Check out the video. It’s impressive work, but you might feel bad for the robot.

Robot Wars is Back!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Taking the Stairs

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the US series BattleBots getting a reboot, BBC has announced that Robot Wars is coming back to BBC2! After a decade of real robot battling blackout, 2016 is apparently a great year for robotic battle entertainment. If you want to enter your robotic creation into BattleBots fighting roster, check out the Rules and Entry page for all the details. Having just gotten the greenlight, details on entry to Robot Wars has yet to be announced. In the meantime, you can check out some savage battle footage from the original Robot Wars series.