Archive for the ‘Mech Warfare’ Category

Giger v2.0 – Initial Walking Gait Progress

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

New upgrades! Giger now uses 10x EX-106+, 6x RX-64s, and 8x RX-28s for a total of 24 DOF.


Giger’s upgrades got finalized late Sunday night and I had a bit of time to sit down and start to work on the walking gaits (from scratch). The EX-106+ is roughly 4x more precise than all previous Dynamixels, so the positional values do not translate over well when upgrading from a previous model. What does that mean? It was far simpler to just start over rather than try to scale the values step by step. All new custom brackets used in the legs and feet, as well as new elbow/shoulder brackets and arm extensions. Brackets were designed in Autodesk Inventor 2008 and machined by Rapid Sheet Metal. It’s worth mentioning that all of the custom, as well as the stock, brackets and frames that are used in Giger’s arms and legs are available in our store on our Dynamixel Servo & Bracket page! Even his ankles/hip joints or his entire legs!

A lot of projects tend to only show updates after many dozens and/or hundreds of hours of progress, but I like to show the little steps as I feel it gives one a better view of the evolution of a project and what goes into making a robot work. Keep in mind; I have this gait tuned to a very slow rate so that I can work on the balance and COG shifting correctly, it can then be sped up to a more realistic, useful speed. Here’s a short video of my initial walking gait progress (about 2 hours of programming work so far) on Giger 2.0:

Giger: Humanoid Robot Overview

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I’ve been busy at work with Giger installing some upgrades before Robogames (in the tune of 10x EX-106+ actuators, as well as brand new machined brackets from Rapid Sheet Metal). That said, we decided to use some of the random footage we had taken of Giger to give an overview of the robot in it’s first revision, when it only had RX-64s powering its legs. We’ll have a lot more information, pictures, and video on Giger v2.0 in the near future!

BTW- If anyone is looking for a solid place to get some sheet metal cut/bent or some parts machined, check out Rapid Sheet Metal and their sister company Rapid Machining. I’ll give a bit more in-depth review of them in the followup post where we’ll talk more about Giger 2.0, but I was absolutely blown away by their quality and customer service, so I’ll say it here as well. Check em out! Tell em we sent ya! =)

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.

SMALdog, Sorta Maybe Almost Littledog

Friday, December 11th, 2009

If this robot looks vaguely familiar, it’s because it is inspired by Boston Dynamic’s LittleDog.

SMALdog, or Sorta Maybe Almost LittleDog, is Mike Ferguson’s (creator of the Arbotix Robocontroller) latest addition to his AX-12+ based quadrapod robot lineup.

littlerdog

Rather than utilizing the more common ‘lizard-style’ leg configuration, SMALdog has a more ‘mammal-style’ leg configuration that provides some interesting walking gait variations. The biggest difference is even with very little gait programming done so far, it’s already faster than the award winning Issydunnyet quadrapod. There is still a lot of work to be done on refining the walking gait, and the turning gait is barely functional, but this platform certainly shows promise. Check out Mike’s thread for more information and updates!

T-Hex: Zenta just needs to knock it off at this point.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Seriously. I’m getting a bit tired of Phoenix hexapod inventor Kara Halverson, aka Zenta, constantly showing everyone up. We get it, you’re awesome at building awesome robots. Could you please just stop and give the rest of us a chance to catch up? It’s just cruel at this point.

The T-Hex is Zenta’s newest creation, inspired by all the Mech Warfare talk buzzing around the forums. He decided to jump in and build a ‘mech like’ hexapod, complete with a whopping 4DOF per leg. And of course, in the process, made the rest of us look like complete amateurs. Aesthetics aside this thing is amazing, and the fact that he has a working IK solution for it already just adds to the fact.

Autonomous Mech Warfare Robot Making Progress

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Forum member Xdream is working hard towards not only creating a bipedal Mech Warfare entry, but making it completely autonomous… and so far, he’s made some pretty solid progress. Heck, it’s more accurate than my current remote control setup. Check for updates on his project in the Autonomous Mech Thread.

Also, for those looking for an inexpensive bipedal Mech Warfare platform, the BRAT based Mech project over at Lynxmotion is turning out to be quite promising, with complete build instructions and code available.

Giger is ready for iHobby!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

We’ve been busily preparing for the iHobby 2009 show this week, but I figured I would share a little demo video of Giger. He now sports a TinyCylon eye from DaleWheat.com, and has a few new fighting moves up his sleeve, ready for some fights at Chibotica during iHobby! Walking gait is still obviously a work in progress, but what is being demonstrated in the video is the ability to pan/tilt the torso while walking, which makes the walking gait even more unsteady. Enough jabbering, here’s a bit of video!

Giger: RX-64 Based Custom Humanoid

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

With my Hagetaka project on hiatus (eventually being rebuilt using EX-106s), my efforts had been diverted to a simpler and more manageable design. Originally intended as a last minute work around for Robogames, this project ended up being a permanent effort, and one that I’ve grown rather fond of.

Giger is a 24″ custom 24 DOF Humanoid using 16 RX-64 and 8 RX-28 Dynamixel Servos, weighing in at 9lbs total. He uses the same Gumstix based onboard controller that Hagetaka did, designed by Farrell Robotics, and is powered by two 1900mAh 4S LiPo batteries.


Walking gait is being refined, I’ll have video in the near future but much progress has been made. If all goes well, I’ll have him up and running for iHobby 2009 next month! Here are a couple of pictures, for the full set that we took check out my gallery in the TRC!

Can You Smell What Lynxmotion Is Cooking?

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Our good friends over at Lynxmotion have been a force to be reckoned with for well over a decade in the robotics industry; producing some truly inspiring and amazing robots over the years. My first ‘real’ robot was a Lynxmotion Hexapod 1 (the 3 servo variety) that I picked up back in 1997, and their product lines were one of the driving forces that got me addicted to robotics.

hunchie7

Well, they’ve impressed me yet again; Lynxmotion owner Jim and his son James, being robot enthusiasts and likewise fans of the Mechwarrior franchise, were intrigued with the Mech Warfare competition. Specifically they loved the biped aspect of it and so they set out to create a low cost competitive platform for Mech Warfare, and succeeded. Nicknamed ‘Hunchback’ and based around their BRAT biped platform, this is turning out to be one of the lowest cost and straight forward platforms for the competition. Currently there is a work-in-progress tutorial showing the build and code, and it looks like we have a very high chance of being treated to a complete kit allowing you to build your very own. If you’re interested in seeing how it progressed from prototype to near final revision, check out the project thread over on the Lynxmotion forums. Check out the following video of the Hunchback in action!

Robots with Friggin Laser Beams on their Heads!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Giving robots weaponry seems to be a recurring theme with humanity’s technological progression in robotics. Not that there is anything wrong with that; it’s not like something could ever go wrong in the future. Right?

In America, we’ve got Mech Warfare which implements archaic Airsoft guns and rockets. Japan however, has decided to step it up a notch and have equipped their robots with lasers. Building exploding, blindness causing, movie theater annoying lasers of destruction. To add insult to injury, they’ve even adding awesome PEW PEW PEW noises to their lasers! Why must you taunt us Japan, why?!? Not only do you make cooler robots, but now you’re giving them lasers. Totally not fair. The Robot BLASER Battles are definitely awesome though, check out their 2nd annual competition video below:

Via Botjunkie, Thanks Evan!