Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Zero Moment Blog Finds the First “Robot” US Patent

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

ZM_robotnavigator

Erik Sofge over at the Zero Moment blog has a great post about Patent #2058306 – the first U.S Patent to use the word ‘Robot’.

Erik’s post gives us some insight into the nature of the patent (a navigational system something akin to a retro GPS system) as well as some information about a much earlier “teleautomation” patent by none other than Nikola Tesla.

The ArbotiX-M is here!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

ArbotiX-M

The next generation of the ArbotiX Robocontroller is here! The ArbotiX-M uses the same ATmega 644p processor, but has a variety of features that make it even easier to build robots with:

  • -A smaller footprint(61mm X 61mm)
  • -10 more general purpose I/O pins
  • -Barrel Jack for DC Power
  • -Separate Power Bus for 4 PWM Digital outputs for Hobby Servos
  • -Improved 5v Regulator
  • -Still compatible with ArbotiX Robocontroller code
  • -Price Dropped to $39.95

Pick up one of these new boards by itself, in the ArbotiX Starter kit, or in any of our InterbotiX Labs Robot Kits. For more information on the ArbotiX-M check out our Documentation Page

Checking out the Chicago Public Library Innovation Lab

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

CPL Maker Lab panoramic

Last week we had the opportunity to check out the Innovation Lab, a Maker Space at the Harold Washington Library Center. At the innovation lab users can learn to design objects on a computer, and bring them to life with the Lab’s hardware. This hardware includes three MakerBot Replciator 3D printers, 2 Full Spectrum Laser CNCs and a vinyl mat cutter. The lab also has a large library of materials to create your objects from, ranging from oak and bamboo to plastic and textiles.

The innovation lab even has the hardware to scan people using a Kinect Sensor, then print the model out using the Replicator! So next time you’re in Chicago, check out the CPL Innovation lab and get a personalized bust!

Check out more photos after the jump.

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Laser Hexapod?!

Friday, September 6th, 2013

laserhexapod

User Plasma We’s has some fun mod’s to the PhantomX Hexapod – each leg gets a laser and the main chassis gets two super bright RGB LEDs. Just add music and this crawler is a one-bot dance party!

Check out
Plasma We’s youtube Channel for more laser hexapod goodness.

5 Legged Hexapod Learns to Walk Again

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

hexapod damaged

IEEE Spectrum has a great article on researchers with ISIR, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris running experiments with out PhantomX Hexapod.

In these experiments the researchers are examining algorithms for robots to ‘recover’ from damage. In this case, they shortned a leg of the hexapod, and use a T-Resilience Algorithm to calculate a new walking pattern/gait.

Their initial gait was able to acheive a top speed of 26cm/s. When they shortened one leg to half it’s original length, the performance dropped to 8cm/s. At this point the robot begins to calculate a new gait. It runs 40 simulations, then trys the best of these simulations in real life. The hexapod will run this experiment 25 times to determine the best new gait. In only 20 minutes the hexapod is able to use a new gait that gets 18cm/s – three times the performance of the original gait under damaged conditions!

Now this is no normal PhantomX Hexapod. This model has a custom chassis, an IR camera, MX-28s, an on on-board computer, and a custom built ‘damaged’ leg.

Researchers Sylvain Koos, Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Mouret have done a great job with this experiement as well as documenting it. More information about the paper can be found here and here. A PDF of the paper can be found here.

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.

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?