Tag Archives: robots

WinchBot is a robotic arm composed of 3 winches and 5 servos

via Arduino Blog

Using an Arduino Uno along with a Raspberry Pi for control, hacker “HomoFaciens” came up with this clever delta-style robot.

If you were going to make a robot with five servos, many Makers would make a robot arm with them and call it a day. HomoFaciens, however, who is known for making amazing machines with minimal tools and improvised materials, instead made something that seems to be a cross between a delta robot and a Skycam.

His device, called “WinchBot,” uses three winches attached to an equilateral triangle frame to move a slider on a central pivoting square rod. This allows the robot’s 5-axis “hand” to be positioned within the robot’s work area. The servos are then tasked with keeping everything in the correct orientation, as well as opening and closing the gripper as needed.

If you’d like more details than given in the very entertaining video seen here, be sure to check out the project’s write-up.

A toast-buttering robot for your breakfast routine

via Arduino Blog

Tired of buttering your toast in the morning? Well, William Osman has just the solution for you, albeit slightly dangerous and excessive for the task at hand.

For his “extremely violent” machine, Osman used a jigsaw motor to hold the butter and an Arduino-driven linear stepper motor to move the slice of toast back and forth. The robot’s frame, spikes, and mounts are all crafted out of laser-cut wood, and everything is held together by a bunch of zip ties.

I was planning on making a more cohesive user experience. But then I didn’t. The jigsaw trigger was wired to a 12v lead acid battery, and the stepper motor was driven by a motion control driver I built several years ago.

Osman documented his entire build process and shared the end result in the video below. Be sure to also check out his other projects here!

Robocod

via Raspberry Pi

Fishbowl existence is tough. There you are, bobbing up and down in the same dull old environment, day in, day out; your view unchanging, your breakfast boringly identical every morning; that clam thing in the bottom of the tank opening and closing monotonously – goldfish can live for up to 20 years. That’s a hell of a long time to watch a clam thing for.

fishbowl on wheels

Two fish are in a tank. One says “How do you drive this thing?”

Indeed, fishbowl existence is so tough that several countries have banned the boring round bowls altogether. (There’s a reason that your childhood goldfish didn’t live for 20 years. You put it in an environment that bored it to death.) So this build comes with a caveat – we are worried that this particular fish is being driven from understimulus to overstimulus and back again, and that she might be prevented from making it to the full 20 years as a result. Please be kind to your fish.

What’s going on here? Over in Pittsburgh, at Carnegie Mellon University, Alex Kent and friends have widened the goldfish’s horizons, by giving it wheels. Meet the free-range fish.

Just Keep Swimming

Build18 @CMU . . . . . . . . . . . . * Jukin Media Verified * Find this video and others like it by visiting https://www.jukinmedia.com/licensing/view/949380 For licensing / permission to use, please email licensing(at)jukinmedia(dot)com.

Alex K, negligent fishparent, says that the speed and direction of the build is determined by the position of the fish relative to the centre of the tank. The battery lasts for five hours, and by all accounts the fish is still alive. Things are a bit jerky in this prototype build. Alex explains:

The jerking is actually caused by the Computer Vision algorithm losing track of the fish because of the reflection off of the lid, condensation on the lid, water ripples, etc.

Alex and co: before you look at more expensive solutions, try fixing a polarising filter to the camera you’re using.

All the code you’ll need to torture your own fish is available at GitHub.

Of course, Far Side fans will observe that there is nothing new under the sun.

Fishbowl on wheels by Gary Larson

Image from Gary Larson, The Far Side.

If you’ve got any good fish puns, let minnow in the comments.

 

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uArm Swift is an open-source robotic assistant for your desktop

via Arduino Blog

Need a hand? The UFACTORY team has got you covered with the uArm Swift, an open-source robotic assistant for your desktop.

The four-axis uArm Swift is a smaller and sleeker version of the company’s original device from 2014. Based on an Arduino Mega, the robot is capable of lifting 500 grams (1.1 pounds) with a working range of 5 to 32 centimeters (2 to 12.6 inches).

UFACTORY has launched two different models of the consumer-friendly arm on Indiegogo. Whereas the basic model is perfect for beginners and those looking to tinker around with robotics, the Swift Pro is designed for a more experienced Maker crowd with a stronger motor, more precision, and greater versatility. It also boasts position repeatability down to 0.2mm.

With a little programming, the Pro can perform a wide range of tasks from 3D printing to laser engraving to picking up and moving game pieces. You can even create your own actions through the team’s Blockly-based graphical software, uArm Studio, as well as control your Swift either directly from a keyboard-and-mouse setup, by making gestures, or over Bluetooth from the uArm Play mobile app.

The Swift is extendable with three different end-effectors (suction cup, metallic gripper, and universal holder) and a built-in socket for selected Seeed Grove modules. But that’s not all. Attach an OpenMV Cam and the robotic arm can detect faces, colors, and markers.

If you’re looking for an affordable and portable robotic arm, be sure to check out UFACTORY’s Indiegogo campaign.

Watch an Arduino Mega-based robot play the bagpipes

via Arduino Blog

Using gigantic hands scaled up from a prosthetic design, “XenonJohn” can now hear the sweet sounds of Scotland whenever he wants.

Seeing this invention, you might note to yourself that most instrument-playing robots don’t actually bother to have realistic—if huge, at 171% normal print size—hands attached. Then again, you probably haven’t seen a robot configured to play the bagpipes.

The robot named Ardu McDuino plays the bagpipes, or rather the chanter part that is manipulated with one’s fingers, using actual prosthetic fingers to cover the holes. It also has a less-realistic “thumb” to cover a hole on the back.

Everything is controlled using an Arduino Mega via a bank of opto-isolated MOSFETs, along with solenoids to let it grip the individual air holes for music generation. You can read more about this project on its Instructables page!

Kosovo’s First Pi Wars

via Raspberry Pi

British Engineer Andy Moxon recently contacted us to highlight a Pi Wars event he was organising in Kosovo.

I write to inform you about an event I am running akin to Pi Wars, here in the newly independent country of Kosovo, South-East Europe.

I am a British engineer and have been living in Kosovo as a volunteer for the last two and a half years.  For the past eight months I have been working with two groups of twelve to fifteen year old students in a club we have called ‘Young Innovators’.  It is an after-school club centred around the Raspberry Pi.  We have mainly focused on physical computing, with the aim of building Raspberry Pi powered robots, similar to those that compete in Pi Wars.

Eager to see the outcome of the event, Liz asked if he would write a blog post for us and, being the lovely chap he is, Andy agreed. We think Mike and Tim, creators of the original Pi Wars, will be thrilled to see this.

Here’s his rundown of the successful event:

Many people are confused about the country of Kosovo, and there’s much that could be written here to rectify this – perhaps most important to us is the fact that it declared independence from Serbia just eight years ago. However, even more importantly (for this blog at least!), the country is not without Python coding, physical computing, robots and a good number of Raspberry Pis.

Since the start of 2016, I’ve been running an after-school club called ‘Young Innovators’, diving into the world of the Raspberry Pi, to prepare for our (much smaller) version of Pi Wars, happening this December. Based in the small town of Shtime, the club aims to bring to life maths and physics, while also teaching the students programming and robotics.

Kosovo Pi Wars

In one sense our robots are pretty standard. A single Raspberry Pi Zero is powered by a thin mobile phone power bank, and four AA batteries power two motors via a L293D motor-controller chip. At the front, we have a HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor and two infra-red line sensors underneath. Additionally, we use two additional infra-red sensors to count wheel revolutions, having painted white stripes on our wheels using nail polish! This opens the robots up to some interesting autonomous challenges, such as the three-point turn, which was included in the last Pi Wars competition.

Kosovo Pi Wars

An area which has caused a lot of excitement in the club has been the recent introduction of an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer.  Using FreeCAD (available for the Pi2 and above) we have designed the chassis of the robots from nothing. This has been a tough but worthwhile exercise, demonstrating the wonders of 3D prototyping.

Kosovo Pi Wars

At the time of writing, the robots have been screwed together and the electronics connected. We’re now in the thick of programming using Pygame (now integral to Python), preparing our eight robots for the battle.

Kosovo Pi Wars

Big thanks must go to the Raspberry Pi blogging community.  I first used a Raspberry Pi just a year ago and, without the dedication of excellent bloggers, we would never have been able to reach this stage.

You can follow our progress on our blog: www.younginnovators-ks.com

See? Told you he was a lovely chap!

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