Tag Archives: Robotics

Transform a pile of clothing into the robot of your nightmares

via Arduino Blog

While whatever you heard bump in the night was probably nothing to be concerned about, if you see a suspicious blob of clothing on the floor, you might give it another look. Although not particularly dangerous, YouTuber “Sciencish” has come up with a robot that causes a pile of clothes to turn and face, then travel towards the light source you used to check it out.

The device features four photoresistors, along with an Arduino Uno and two steppers on a robotic chassis for movement. It also accommodates a filament or wire frame on which clothing can rest. When a light is shined at it, the LDRs pick up this “signal” through the clothes. The robot then waits until the lights are off, pauses a bit more, and then rotates to face the person and incrementally advances.

It’s a terrifying idea, and something that could be implemented in many forms, such as the Minecraft spider disguise Sciencish made for it out of cardboard — perfect for some Halloween fun!

DIY quadruped robot brought to life for under $60

via Arduino Blog

Animals like dogs, cats, raccoons, rhinoceroses, and many more get around on four legs. To help imitate this natural phenomenon, maker “Technovation” decided to create a low-cost quadruped robot using 12 servo motors and variety of 3D-printed and laser-cut parts.

Each leg features two servos that move inline with the body, as well as one arranged with its rotation axis at 90 degrees. This enables it to walk forward, scoot side-to-side, and perform a variety of twisting motions.

The robot is powered by an Arduino Uno, along with a sensor shield for easy motor connections. Inverse kinematics can be used to properly calculate servo moves, which is integrated into the device’s control sketch.

Check it out in action in the video below, and specifics are available in Technovation’s write-up.

This Arduino-controlled soft robot gets around like an earthworm

via Arduino Blog

After studying the way a worm wiggles, Nicholas Lauer decided to create his own soft robotic version. What he came up with uses an Arduino Uno for control, inflating six 3D-printed segments sequentially to order to generate peristaltic motion for forward movement.

The robotic worm uses a 12V mini diaphragm pump to provide inflation air, while a series of transistors and solenoid valves directly regulate the airflow into the chambers.

The build looks pretty wild in the video below, and per Lauer’s write-up, you’re encouraged to experiment to see what kind of timing produces the most expedient motion. Code, STLs, and a detailed BOM are available on GitHub.

Say hi to Sourino, a robotic mouse for kitties (and kiddos)

via Arduino Blog

Sourino — which comes from the French word for mouse, “souris,” plus Arduino — is a small robot by 11-year-old maker Electrocat, meant to entertain kitties and kids alike.

The device features a 3D-printed body roughly shaped like a mouse, controlled by a Nano along with three HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors poking out for autonomous navigation. An IR sensor is implemented for remote operation, and two small gearmotors with a driver board enable it to move around on the floor.

As seen in the video below, Sourino is able to travel a path made out of books and interact with (more like drive crazy!) the house cat. Full build instructions are found here, including a parts list, Arduino code, and CAD files.

Boston Dynamics’ Handle robot recreated with Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

You in the community seemed so impressed with this recent Boston Dynamics–inspired build that we decided to feature another. This time, maker Harry was inspired by Boston Dynamics’ research robot Handle, which stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4​ ​feet vertically. Here’s how Harry made his miniature version, MABEL (Multi Axis Balancer Electronically Levelled).

MABEL has individually articulated legs to enhance off-road stability, prevent it from tipping, and even make it jump (if you use some really fast servos). Harry is certain that anyone with a 3D printer and a “few bits” can build one.

MABEL builds on the open-source YABR project for its PID controller, and it’s got added servos and a Raspberry Pi that helps interface them and control everything.

Installing MABEL’s Raspberry Pi brain and wiring the servos

Thanks to a program based on the open-source YABR firmware, an Arduino handles all of the PID calculations using data from an MPU-6050 accelerometer/gyro. Raspberry Pi, using Python code, manages Bluetooth and servo control, running an inverse kinematics algorithm to translate the robot legs perfectly in two axes.

Kit list

If you want to attempt this project yourself, the files for all the hard 3D-printed bits are on Thingiverse, and all the soft insides are on GitHub.

IKSolve is the class that handles the inverse kinematics functionality for MABEL (IKSolve.py) and allows for the legs to be translated using (x, y) coordinates. It’s really simple to use: all that you need to specify are the home values of each servo (these are the angles that, when passed over to your servos, make the legs point directly and straight downwards at 90 degrees).

When MABEL was just a twinkle in Harry’s eye

MABEL is designed to work by listening to commands on the Arduino (PID contoller) end that are sent to it by Raspberry Pi over serial using pySerial. Joystick data is sent to Raspberry Pi using the Input Python library. Harry first tried to get the joystick data from an old PlayStation 3 controller, but went with the PiHut’s Raspberry Pi Compatible Wireless Gamepad in the end for ease.

Keep up with Harry’s blog or give Raspibotics a follow on Twitter, as part 3 of his build write-up should be dropping imminently, featuring updates that will hopefully get MABEL jumping!

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Raspberry Pi Off-World Bartender

via Raspberry Pi

Three things we like: Blade Runner, robots, and cocktails. That’s why we LOVE Donald Bell‘s Raspberry Pi–packed ‘VK-01 Off-World Bartender‘ cocktail making machine.

This machine was due to be Donald’s entry into the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge, an annual event in San Francisco. By the time the event was cancelled, he was too deep into his awesome build to give up, so he decided to share it with the Instructables community instead.

Donald wanted users to get as much interaction and feedback as possible, rather than simply pressing a button and receiving a random drink. So with this machine, the interaction comes in four ways: instructions provided on the screen, using a key card to bypass security, placing and removing a cup on the tray, and entering an order number on the keypad.

In addition to that, feedback is provided by way of lighting changes, music, video dialogue, pump motors whirring, and even the clicks of relays at each stage of the cocktail making process.

Ordering on the keypad

close up of the black keypad

The keypad allows people to punch in a number to trigger their order, like on a vending machine. The drink order is sent to the Hello Drinkbot software running on the Raspberry Pi 3B that controls the pumps.

Getting your cup filled

Inside the cup dispenser sensor showing the switch and LEDs
The switch under the lid and ring of LEDs on the base

In order for the machine to be able to tell when a vessel is placed under the dispenser spout, and when it’s removed, Donald built in a switch under a 3D-printed tray. Provided the vessel has at least one ice cube in it, even the lightest plastic up is heavy enough to trigger the switch.

The RFID card reader

Cocktail machine customers are asked to scan a special ID card to start. To make this work, Donald adapted a sample script that blinks the card reader’s internal LED when any RFID card is detected.

Interactive video screen

close up of the interactive screen on the machine showing Japanese style script

This bit is made possible by MP4Museum, a “bare-bones” kiosk video player software that the second Raspberry Pi inside the machine runs on boot. By connecting a switch to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO, Donald enabled customers to advance through the videos one by one. And yes, that’s an official Raspberry Pi Touch Display.

Behind the scenes of the interactive screen with the Raspberry Pi wired up
Behind the scenes of the screen with the Raspberry Pi A+ running the show

The Hello Drinkbot ‘bartender’

screen grab of the hello drinkbot web interface

Donald used the Python-based Hello Drinkbot software as the brains of the machine. With it, you can configure which liquors or juices are connected to which pumps, and send instructions on exactly how much to pour of each ingredient. Everything is configured via a web interface.

Via a bank of relays, microcontrollers connect all the signals from the Touch Display, keypad, RFID card reader, and switch under the spout.

Here’s the Fritzing diagram for this beast


Donald shared an exhaustive kit list on his original post, but basically, what you’re looking at is…

Pencil sketches of the machine from different angles
Donald’s friend Jim Burke‘s beautiful concept sketches

And finally, check out the Raspberry Pi–based Hello Drinkbot project by Rich Gibson, which inspired Donald’s build.

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