Robot-sumo bouts can be a great way to pit your automation skills against others. Participating normally means a lot of hard work to get your bot functioning properly, and likely a fair amount of travel to meet your opponents. SurrogateTV, however, has a new alternative with their SumoBots Battle Royale game that allows you to fight actual robots over the Internet.
Their customized “pushers” from JSumo are made out of steel sheets, powered by an Arduino, a motor shield and a lithium-ion battery — all housed inside a 3D-printed enclosure — and tracked by a computer vision system. Four motors are used for movement and a servo on the top flips them right side up as needed.
The ring isn’t just a traditional circle either, but an area that is always dynamically changing. SurrogateTV decided on an interactive floor that drops as the game goes on, voted upon by the chat/viewers. A quick overview of the build process and how it works can be seen in the video below.
YouTuber MrTeslonian was asked if he could create an automatic fishing pole for someone with a serious disability. While this would seem like a daunting task, he was able to build one using a spring-loaded mechanism, a number of motors, and an Arduino board.
His portable device takes commands over WiFi, allowing control from a smartphone or computer. When it receives the signal, the pole is automatically pulled back and tension is added to a large spring via a winch. This tension is then released with a servo-actuated system, and a small gearmotor reels the bait back in… hopefully with a fish attached!
Maker Jeremy S. Cook has been building Theo Jansen-style walkers for literally years, and after several iterations has come up with what he calls the “ClearCrawler.”
This little guy stands at just over 15 inches tall — including its comparatively large clear cylindrical head — and travels around via a pair of motors that move four legs on either side like tank treads.
For control, Cook is using an Arduino Nano onboard, along with a motor driver, plus an Uno and joystick shield as the remote unit. Communication between the two is accomplished by a pair of nRF24L01+ radio modules.
Code for the project is available on GitHub, and the build is split up into an electronics and mechanical section in the videos below.
If you’d like to build your own vaguely humanoid robot, but don’t care about it getting around, then look no farther than Aster.
The 3D-printed bot is controlled by an Arduino Uno, with a servo shield to actuate its 16 servo motors. This enables it to move its arms quite dramatically as seen in the video below, along with its head. The legs also appear to be capable of movement, though not meant to walk, and is supported with a column in the middle of its structure.
Aster’s head display is made out of an old smartphone, and in the demo it shows its eyes as green geometric objects, an animated sketch, and then, somewhat shockingly, as different humans. Print files for the project are available here and the design is actually based on the more expensive Poppy Humanoid.
As robotics advance, the future could certainly involve humans and automated elements working together as a team. The question then becomes, how do you design such an interaction? A team of researchers from Purdue University attempt to provide a solution with their GhostAR system.
The setup records human movements for playback later in augmented reality, while a robotic partner is programmed to work around a “ghost” avatar. This enables a user to plan out how to collaborate with the robot and work out kinks before actually performing a task.
GhostAR’s hardware includes an Oculus Rift headset and IR LED tracking, along with actual robots used in development. Simulation hardware consists of a six-axis Tinkerkit Braccio robot, as well as an Arduino-controlled omni-wheel base that can mount either a robot an arm or a camera as needed.
With GhostX, whatever plan a user makes with the ghost form of the robot while wearing an augmented reality head mount is communicated to the real robot through a cloud connection – allowing both the user and robot to know what the other is doing as they perform a task. The system also allows the user plan a task directly in time and space and without any programming knowledge.
First, the user acts out the human part of the task to be completed with a robot. The system then captures the human’s behavior and displays it to the user as an avatar ghost, representing the user’s presence in time and space.
Using the human ghost as a time-space reference, the user programs the robot via its own ghost to match up with the human’s role. The user and robot then perform the task as their ghosts did.
The droid scoots around on what appears to be one large wheel, which conceals the Arduino boards as well as other electronics, batteries, and mechanical components. Denton’s wheel design is a bit more complicated mechanically than it first appears, as its split into a center section, with thin drive wheels on the side that enable differential steering.
On top, a cone-shaped head provides sounds and movement, giving the little RC D-O a ton of personality. The droid isn’t quite finished as of the video below, but given how well it works there, the end product should be amazing!