Star Wars fans, you’ve got to check this out. Instructable user ASCAS (Angelo) has made a full-size, app controlled BB-8 Droid. That in and of itself is cool, but Angelo has been kind enough to make an instructable so that you can build one too! This has gotten some discussion going around the office as to how we’re likely to make one. This is just awesome, and here’s to hoping this inspires many people to get involved with robotics!
Youtube User panthallion has installed Jasper on his HR-OS1 (with Raspberry Pi), and it’s pretty cool. The age of robotic personal assistance is upon us. Jasper is an open source platform for developing voice-controlled applications, similar to Siri, OK Google, Cortana, and so on. In this case, Jasper is being used in conjunction with an HR-OS1 to make a robot that can assist you with daily tasks, answer questions, tell a joke, and generally be responsive and helpful when given a voice command. It’s interesting to see the HR-OS1 physically reacting to the content it is delivering (it genuinely seems frustrated with one of the questions asked of it). Very clever!
In the process of making robots more accessible, sometimes a technology that has been around for a while presents itself to us in a new light. For many years, all of the Trossen Robotics mobile robot kits have come with Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. LiPo batteries are fantastic for their energy density, meaning that they give you the most run time for your robot for the weight of the battery. They are admittedly not the easiest battery to work with, having to make sure that the voltage isn’t too low, but they are fantastic for experienced users. To help remove the experience barrier for those new to robotics, and to offer those that are experienced an option that is easy to manage but still powerful, we now carry a Lithium Ion Battery! This battery operates at 7.4V, which works very well with RobotGeek Servos, and has a capacity of 4400mAh. It comes with a charger that features over-voltage protection, and the battery itself has built in under-voltage protection, making sure that the battery is safe and easy to use. This battery is a perfect pairing for a Geekbot, or if you would like to take a RobotGeek Snapper Arm on the go!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
We’ve got the littleBits Exploration Series, for your edutainment! Each littleBits Kit comes with magnetic snap together modules, designed to mitigate the danger of making a mistake, allowing for neophytes young and old to make electronics projects in a snap! No soldering, wiring or programming required. Your kids [and you!] can learn the basics of electronics, explore STEAM/STEM principles, form the foundations of critical thinking, or just have fun with blinking, buzzing creations. Kits range in price from $99.00 to $199.00.
If you’d like to learn Arduino Programming skills, which are a valuable foundation for getting involved in the realm of modern electronics, the RobotGeek Experimenter’s Kit line is for you! Each kit comes with the Geekduino and the easy to use RobotGeek Sensor Shield. With the RobotGeek System, students can dive right in to programming using Analog and Digital input modules, controlling a variety of output modules with Digital and PWM signals! With easy to follow guides, simple to assemble parts, and a large variety of modules, the RobotGeek Experimenter’s Kit line is a top notch choice for STEAM/STEM learners! We offer basic kits for new learners, and specialized kits, such as RFID, Touch, Linear Actuator, Floor Mat, and Display Kits to move you up to the next level and give your next project a swift and informed start. Kits range in price from $39.95 to $199.95.
Qian Wang, a student working in a group of researchers from the Institute of Media Innovation at Nanyang Technological University has done an excellent job making a set of motions that allows the HR-OS1 to climb up stairs! Keeping in mind the weight balance of each part, the movement looks both careful and acrobatic.
One of the major challenges, and often the first question we hear when discussing bipedal robots is, “Can it take the stairs?” and thanks to the efforts of Qian Wang, the answer is a resounding yes!
This was shared with us by Shihui Guo on the Trossen Robotics Forums, and there is an active discussion about how to improve this movement. They were kind enough to share the motion files, which can easily be added to your HR-OS1’s RME list with r3n33’s WinRME. Try it out, join the discussion, and get creative!