VR environments are meant to be immersive, but if you’ve ever thought what was missing is being actually pummeled by robotic fists, then James Bruton’s newest project could be just the thing.
Bruton recently teamed up with students from Portsmouth University to build a robot that works in the real world, and coordinates its movements with a virtual setting displayed on the human’s headset.
The robot itself is controlled by an Arduino Mega, and features a differential (tank) drive with encoders for feedback. Shoulders can tilt from left to right, and the actual punching motion is handled by pneumatic actuators built from modified bicycle pumps. Robo-fists are covered by boxing gloves to keep humans relatively safe, and flesh-based competitors are given a small shield and sword-bat with which to fight back!
I worked on this project with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University CCI faculty. The robot hardware is controlled over a serial interface, the team built an VR game which controls the robot, so when you get hit in VR you get hit in real life! The robot is tracked back into VR with Vive trackers so it stays in sync.
Need a wave generator to test out your latest boat, barge, or submarine design, but can’t quite afford one? If so, then you might consider Subham Bhatt’s DIY tank that he was able to construct for around $1,200 USD.
Bhatt’s device features a pair of stepper motors and lead screws that push a stainless steel paddle through the water, producing waves formed to his precise specifications. An Arduino Mega is used for control, along with a single stepper driver to power both motors.
User interface is provided through the Arduino IDE’s serial interface, set up to take commands via a simple text-based menu system.
Light painting is an art form where dark areas are selectively lit to form interesting effects. While normally a manual operation, Josh Sheldon has come up with a rig to automate and enhance the process. The results are nothing short of spectacular, producing not static images, but astonishing animated light displays.
His device resembles a 3D printer made out of aluminum extrusion. X,Y, and Z axes are controlled by a series of stepper motors, but it uses a point of controlled light instead of melted plastic to form shapes.
Light animations are set up in Blender, and a hardware and software toolchain including Processing, an Arduino Mega, and a Dragonframe module are implemented for control.
Check out the whole story in the video below, or see code/build documentation are available on GitHub.
Cable-based robots are a common sight at sporting events as remote camera operators, but what about one for your living room? As spotted on Reddit, Nathaniel Nifong decided there was no reason not to have one of these devices, and made his own personal Skycam-like robot.
The system uses four servo motors to wind cables attached to the ceiling around 3D-printed wheels, and can be controlled using a smartphone via Bluetooth and an Arduino Mega.
The prototype—constructed using cardboard and what appears to be LEGO components—is seen moving around Nifong’s dwelling in the videos below, and the eventual goal is to let it move items around using a servo gripper assembly.
This is the first wireless movement demonstration of a robot I’m building. It’s based on parts from an XYZ 6-DOF robotic arm.
The Bluetooth control is done by using Nordic toolbox to send commands to a an MDBT40 Bluetooth module that was reprogrammed with an ST-Link V2. The module forwards the command to the Arduino.
Commands are to move 10 cm in any direction. It calculates what the change in rope lengths would be to achieve the new position.
The main character of this film is a mystery-solving feline, who is animated with the help of five servos that control mouth movements under Arduino control.
In order to get shots that move properly, Wilkinson also came up with his own motion capture rig, moved by a number of stepper motors via an Arduino Mega. His documentation is certainly worth checking out if you’re interested in animatronics or advanced filming techniques, and you can see a trailer for the film below.
The device is equipped with an Arduino Mega that helps regulate the temperature inside its clear octagonal structure via a reptile heating pad, along with a fan salvaged from a PC power supply. A DHT11 sensor is used to sense temperature and humidity, shown on top of the dome by a small LED display.
Aside from taking care of plants, the project is decidedly dinosaur-themed, specifically Jurassic Park/World. It even features a servo-driven wooden door assembly on the front that looks like it came straight out of the movie, which swings open automatically to allow heat (or dinosaurs) to escape.
You can check out the build process in the video below (in French), or see the second for a short dino-style glimpse of the assembly.