As a part of their masters program at the University of Stuttgart, Jan Ingo Haller and Lorin Samija created a robotic pet that moves in a manner that may not be immediately evident. With the internals obscured by a cloth covering, the moving OLOID, or mOLOID, seems to roll from one vague lobe section to another like some sort of claymation creature.
The mOLOID’s unique locomotion is due to an internal “oloid” structure, an arrangement of two circles at 90°. Two servos move weights around the perimeter of each circle to vary its center of gravity, causing it to flop back and forth.
An Arduino Uno controls the mOLOID, which features a passive infrared sensor that allows it to react to the environment and an HC-05 Bluetooth module for user interface. A small speaker also provides audible feedback.
Corona has changed our lives: it requires us to physicially distance, which in turn leads to social distancing. So what could be a solution? Maybe a pet? But no, Corona comes from animals. Let’s save ourselves from another Corona 2.0. But if we have to keep away from humans (to not infect and not be infected) and animals but remain the social beings we are, what should we do?
Have no despair! We have found a solution: the moving OLOID a.k.a. mOLOID. It combines interesting geometry (a bit nerdy but nerdy is trendy!) with many aspects of pets: it can make you smile, moves on its own, makes cute sounds and listens to you — at least most of the time.
While 2020 may seem like a very futuristic year, we still don’t have robotic maids like the Jetsons’ Rosie the Robot. For his latest element14 Presents project, DJ Harrigan decided to create such a bot as a sort of animatronic character, using an ESP8266 board for interface and overall control, and a MKR ZERO to play stored audio effects.
The device features a moveable head, arms and eyes, and even has a very clever single-servo gear setup to open and close its mouth.
UI is via smartphone running a Blynk app, and Rosie’s antennas can light up along with a “beep beep” sound to let you know it needs your attention!
8 Bits and a Byte created this automatic bubble machine, which is powered and controlled by a Raspberry Pi and can be switched on via the internet by fans of robots and/or bubbles.
They chose a froggy-shaped bubble machine, but you can repurpose whichever type you desire; it’s just easier to adapt a model running on two AA batteries.
Before the refurb, 8 Bits and a Byte’s battery-powered bubble machine was controlled by a manual switch, which turned the motor on and off inside the frog. If you wanted to watch the motor make the frog burp out bubbles, you needed to flick this switch yourself.
After dissecting their plastic amphibian friend, 8 Bits and a Byte hooked up its motor to Raspberry Pi using a relay module. They point to this useful walkthrough for help with connecting a relay module to Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins.
Inspired by an old FlipFold TV ad, YouTuber Ty Palowski decided to make his own automated shirt folding machine.
Palowski’s device is made in four folding sections, which lie flat to accept the unfolded piece of laundry. When the shirt is properly placed, a capacitive touch sensor starts the process, which is controlled via an Arduino and motor drivers.
Two motors bring in the sides sequentially, then a third motor flips the bottom up. Activation is based simply on timing, with no sensor feedback. As seen at the end of the video, the project does save folding time and it works even better once Palowski gets some practice with it!
The Physical Twin travels on a three-wheeled chassis and mounts a four-axis arm with a brush. An operator controls the arm to dip the brush into an onboard paint container, and can then manipulate it for application.
The controller consists of a joystick for movement as well as a mini version of the arm. Four potentiometers measure arm input angles, which are duplicated on four corresponding servos on the robot. A pair of Arduino Mega boards are used for the setup — one on the mobile robot and another in the remote unit.
You can see the device in action in the videos below, showing off direct operation and the ability to play back prerecorded movements.
One of the simplest ways to make a mobile robot involves differential steering, where two wheels move at different speeds as needed to turn, and a roller on the back keeps it from tipping over. The MrK_Blockvader is an excellent take on this type of bot, demonstrated in the first clip below. It features a nice blocky body comprised out of 3D-printed parts, wheels driven by tiny gear motors, and an integrated roller ball on the back.
The MrK_Blockvader is controlled via an Arduino Nano, along with an nRF24 breakout that allows it to receive signals from a radio transmitter unit. The build includes LED lighting as well as a piezo buzzer for all the beeps and boops. It can also take advantage of various sensors if necessary.
The eventual goal is to use the MrK_Blockvader in a network of robots, hinted at in the second video with a worker at its side.