With Halloween around the corner, hackers are gearing up for festivals and trick-or-treaters, hoping to spook visitors or simply impress others with their automation prowess. DIY bloggers Ash and Eileen are no different, and decided to enter a local scarecrow contest in the “Out of this World” category. Their entry? Moo-Bot, an Arduino-powered sheet metal cow that looks like it came straight off the set of a 1950s sci-fi flick.
Not that that is a bad thing; somehow this retro-futuristic bovine looks quite interesting. Making it even better is that the robotic cow’s eyes are made out of two OLED displays, and that it can interact with observers through an internal speaker.
When someone presses a button on its nose, the onboard Uno powers up and tells a pre-recorded series of cow jokes via an MP3 player module. Power is supplied by eight D batteries, which is enough to keep the Moo-Bot going for a few months.
While it might seem like a long time away to most people, if you’re looking to make an amazing automated display for Halloween, it’s time to start planning! One idea would be an automated skeleton robot like SKELLY.
This particular robot was built using an Arduino Mega, a Cytron PS2 Shield, a modified sensor shield, and a wireless PS2 controller. SKELLY is equipped with a total of eight servos: six for bending his shoulders, elbows and wrists, one for running his mouth, and another for turning his head. There is also a pair of LEDs for eyes, and a small motor in his head with a counterweight that allows him to shake.
SKELLY is programmed using the Visuino visual programming environment. As seen in the videos below, the robot–which is the author’s first–is quite nimble, waving and moving along with an automatic piano!
With the lack of people capable of turning written or spoken words into sign language in Belgium, University of Antwerp masters students Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys, and Jasper Slaets have decided to do something about it. They built a robot known as Aslan, or Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node, that can translate text into finger-spelled letters and numbers.
Project Aslan–now in the form of a single robotic arm and hand–is made from 25 3D-printed parts and uses an Arduino Due, 16 servos, and three motor controllers. Because of its 3D-printed nature and the availability of other components used, the low-cost design will be able to be produced locally.
The robot works by receiving information from a local network, and checking for updated sign languages from all over the world. Users connected to the network can send messages, which then activate the hand, elbow, and finger joints to process the messages.
We present a computational design system that allows novices and experts alike to easily create custom robotic devices. The core of our work consists of a design abstraction that models the way in which electromechanical components can be combined to form complex robotic systems. We use this abstraction to develop a visual design environment that enables an intuitive exploration of the space of robots that can be created using a given set of actuators, mounting brackets and 3d-printable components. Our computational system also provides support for design auto-completion operations, which further simplifies the task of creating robotic devices. Once robot designs are finished, they can be tested in physically simulated environments and iteratively improved until they meet the individual needs of their users.
What has eight legs, a tail, and is powered by an Arduino Mega? The ClearWalker, of course!
This Strandbeest-style walker employs two motors, controlled by individual H-bridge relay modules to traverse forwards, backwards, and slowly rotate to one side or another via a hesitating leg motion. You can see how the electronics (including a bunch of LEDs) were integrated into this build in the video below.
If you’re familiar with the Segway or other vehicles that balance in what is known as an “inverted pendulum” configuration, you may think that while interesting, creating something similar would be too complicated or out of your budget. Though perhaps still not simple, Joop Brokking takes you through his design for this type of bot in the video seen here, making it accessible if you’d like to build your own.
The robot, which will cost about $80 in parts, uses two stepper motors for greater movement precision than could be had with normal DC models, and employs an Arduino Pro Mini, along with an MPU-6050 accelerometer/gyroscope for control. It can be driven around by a Wii U-style nunchuck, which transmits to the robot via an Arduino Uno and wireless transceiver module.