It’s been 14 months since I started working on this project… and it’s ready for some critique. It’s a robot… which seems simple enough right?
The project goal is to create a foundation / approach to integrate STEM (or STEAM if you like) into just about any discipline from grade-school to university.
You want to make a cool robot, maybe a hexapod walker, or maybe just a piece of art with a lot of moving parts. Or maybe you want to drive a lot of LEDs with precise PWM output. Then you realize that your microcontroller has a limited number of PWM outputs! What now? You could give up OR you could just get this handy PWM and Servo driver breakout.
The world’s first Hexapod Conference and Convention will be held on May 4th, 2013, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and we are accepting proposals for talks, workshops, and demonstrations.
The aim of this conference is to foster relationships between academics and non-academics working on hexapod (six-legged robot)-related topics. Additionally, a major aim of this convention is to have a lot of fun, especially since this conference is made possible by the DeFlorez Humor Fund.
Hexacon will take place at the MIT International Design Center on the third floor of building N52, right next to the MIT Museum.
Scholarships to cover travel and lodging of up to $100 will be awarded on a needs-based basis. To apply, please fill out this form: http://hexacon2013.mit.edu/?page_id=8. Additionally, if you seek lodging and are willing to couch-surf, we may be able to match you with an MIT student host for the duration of the event. Please fill out: http://hexacon2013.mit.edu/?page_id=29
There will be a prize for the most humorous hexapod demonstration as well as the best presenter.
Here we evolve the bodies of soft robots made of multiple materials (muscle, bone, & support tissue) to move quickly. Evolution produces a diverse array of fun, wacky, interesting, but ultimately functional soft robots. Enjoy!
This video accompanies the following paper: Unshackling Evolution: Evolving Soft Robots with Multiple Materials and a Powerful Generative Encoding. Cheney, MacCurdy, Clune, & Lipson. Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. 2013.
This video shows the result of a learning by imitation approach that allows two users to demonstrate an assembly skill requiring different levels of compliance. Each item to assemble will have specific characteristic that needs that are transferred to the robot. Re-programming the robot for each new item to assemble would not be possible. Here, the robot can learn this skill by demonstration. One user is grasping the robot and moving it by hand to demonstrate how it should collaborate with another user (kinesthetic teaching). A force sensor mounted at the wrist of the robot and a marker-based vision tracking system is used to track the position and orientation of table legs that need to be mounted at four different point on the table top. After demonstration, the robot learns that it should first be compliant to let the user re-orient the table-top in a comfortable pose to screw the current leg. Once the user starts to screw the leg, the robot becomes stiff to facilitate the task. This behavior is not pre-programmed, but is instead learn by the robot by extracting the regularities of the task from multiple demonstrations.
The BrickPi is a slide-on board that turns your Raspberry Pi into a robot. The BrickPi is a board for the Raspberry Pi that helps you connect LEGO® Mindstorms sensors, motors, and parts to easily turn your credit card size computer into a powerful robot.
Here’s an interesting Pi + PIC project by MrValkeerie that is using a Raspberry Pi to run face detection analysis via an inexpensive webcam and then in turn trigger position adjustments for a series of hobby servos hooked up to his PIC breakout board. His intended application? A costume where many eyes track the human faces that it detects! From the video description:
This is a stock Model B Rev 1.0 256Mbyte, 700Hz Raspberry Pi running Raspbian. It is interfaced to a PIC 16F690 through a homebrew 3.3V-5.2V level convertor based on a couple of 2N7000 Mosfets (circuits online). The protocol is I2C, with the Pi acting as master and the PIC as slave.
The Pi uses I2C to update 8 registers in the PIC holding angles in the range 0-255, which in turn converts the angles into pulses of 1-2 milliseconds every 20 milliseconds (this is normal for servos). The servos are low-cost generics ordered off Ebay direct from China.
The Webcam came from a thrift store and is reported as “Pixart Imaging Inc”. The face detection uses the Python bindings to OpenCV and is based on Haar Cascades. The eyes were found in a graveyard.
The face detection is slow … but I only integrated everything this morning, and I am sure I can speed it up a little.
My passion for Star Wars and one of the most iconic robots of all time has carried over to my upcycled art. C3PO “Woody” was created using recycled materials from computer parts, adding machines, calulators, check printers and typewriters.
Barobo is a spin-off of technology developed at the University of California, aiming to make robotics more affordable, adaptable for education and industrial applications.
“As 3D printers become more and more common place in the classroom there’s a need for engaging projects and curriculum to tie this powerful tool into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects,” said Graham Ryland, President and Co-founder of Barobo.
All the 3D printable plastic parts, accessories, assembly instructions, and curriculum for the Mobot-A will be available to download from the company’s website.
The Mobot-A kit includes the internal electronics, motors, and fasteners. Users print the rest. The launch of the Mobot-A kit follows a successful Beta program where over 300 robots were used in more than 30 high schools and middle schools to teach STEM subjects.
Once assembled, the Mobot-A can attach to other robots and accessories to form new and unique machines. Students can design their own accessories to attach to the robot and print on a 3D printer. In this way there’s no limit to what can be created. Curriculum ties these robot projects into math principles and students are exposed to basic programming.
“We’re breaking from traditional business models and relying on our users to, not just assemble the robot, but play an active role in manufacturing the plastic parts,” said Graham Ryland. “We’ve proven the technology in the classroom and want to get it into students’ hands as quickly and cheaply as possible. Relying on customers to manufacture their own plastic parts wasn’t an option just a few years ago, but 3D printing technology has made this new way of rolling out an educational product possible.” …
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) is sponsoring the Robots app from 6-14 April in celebration of National Robotics Week in the U.S. Get it free now! IEEE RAS is an international society of engineers and technologists that strives to advance innovation, education, and research in robotics and automation.
The musician and robotic instrument maker Patrick Flanagan of the “part human, mostly robot, electro band” called Jazari shared part of his latest EP “The Human Element” that he created using a cluster of custom-built instruments and “robotic performers.” He shared this story with us:
I bought a lot of illuminated, square arcade buttons and a number of other components from Adafruit about a year ago. Thanks again for the awesome customer service! Those sexy red arcade buttons are the crucial component in my Meganome MIDI controller, which I used to record my debut EP The Human Element. You can see the controller and buttons in action in this video for the track Quick Minute.
And here are details from his video description for “Quick Minute“:
This original mix consists of an improvised robot djembe solo with beats inspired by footwork, drum n bass, and trap music. It’s available as a FREE download What you hear was taped live at the video shoot and mixed later in Pro Tools.
I practice in a studio near a lot of trap producers, and the track grew out of playing along with their crazy hi hats and 808 basses. The instruments are djembe, bongos, cabasa, hi hat, and snare, which might be obvious. What probably is not obvious is that the bass sound you hear (you do have a sub, don’t you?) is the bottom of the djembe, miked with a kick mic. It has a booming, resonant sound that sounds absolutely massive on a good system.
All of the machines are controlled by Arduino microcontrollers, which receive MIDI signals sent from a laptop running MAX/MSP. The main controller is an 84 LED button monster I call the Meganome. I use it for drum machines and synths. Controllerism.com did a write-up on it.
You can read my liner notes to the free EP The Human Element on my blog at http://jazarimusic.com. And you can follow me on social media for robot music news, life coaching, DJ trolling, and music theory jokes.
New York City is home to a vibrant tech community researching and developing cutting-edge systems.
Join us for an evening of thought-provoking presentations and exciting live demonstrations in celebration of National Robotics Week 2013!
National Robotics Week is a week-long series of events and activities aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.
National Robotics Week is organized by an Advisory Council (see our Partners) which recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health-care, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. Robotics Week is a week-long series of events and activities aimed at increasing public awareness of the growing importance of “robo-technology” and the tremendous social and cultural impact that it will have on the future of the United States.
In May 2009, leading universities and companies appealed to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology. On March 9, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolution H.Res. 1055, officially designating the second full week in April as National Robotics Week. This resolution was submitted by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the Caucus, and other members.
Initiated in 2010, the inaugural National Robotics Week included 50 affiliated events around the country. National Robotics Week 2011 built on that success to include more than 100 events in 22 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. And in 2012, National Robotics Week included over 160 events in all 50 of the United States.
We welcome all collaborators from industry and academia who would like to join us. Get involved by hosting a National Robotics Week event next year or help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!