In many cases, you can treat your research like a hobby, or your hobby like a research, but the budget and technology used can affect your vision and goals for the project. A group of engineers designed a flexible robotic platform where a simple Android smartphone with abilities for an operations center and a multimedia device takes the place of the robot brain. A wide range of options makes the project to be very attractive for hobbyists, students and researchers, while the final cost is under control.
The Android Car is a DIY open project where was included an Android smartphone, an R/C wheeled robot platforms, several sensors, a set of free software plus many more free libraries for test, to control the wheeled robot remotely over Bluetooth, streaming the data, the application server that runs on a PC, and the main application that runs on the Android Car.
This project aimed to fill the gap between robotic kits without abilities to work outdoors on uneven terrain, or when the options for sensors and onboard computers are limited. The Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit is a good example of a powerful kit with limitless options to build different types of robots, but with limits in the number of sensors and processing capabilities, as well as limited abilities to work on uneven terrain. Another example could be a platform such as the 4WD Outdoor Mobile Platform designed to work on different types of terrain, but with expensive cost for additional equipment such as cameras, sensors, or on-board computers.
The main different between the Android Car and above examples, is that the smartphone brained robot has a modular platform able to work on almost any terrain. Other advantages are the size of the robot, which can be kept in normal limits since the brain of the robot is a palm-sized smartphone with many features and an affordable price. A smartphone integrate a powerful processor, memory, sensors, and a battery, which is much more than you need to build an autonomous robot.
Using a simple smartphone to stream data and control the robot is an opportunity to focus on fundamental research and the problems occurred, while the time spent to embed different technologies to replace the smartphone functions is now very small. (more…)
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Recently I shared with you the best 5 examples how to build a DIYquadcopter, and in this article I continue the series with more than 5 examples of self-balancing robot that can be built at home using cheap components and in some cases 3D printed components.
A simple two-wheeled balanced robot can become the perfect educational and hobbyist tool to explore the electronics and programming area. In this article, you can find at least 5 projects based on the Arduino or Raspberry Pi single board computers, and other several main components such as electric motors, IMU, accelerometer, or gyro sensors able to keep the robot in balance by measuring and reporting the velocity, orientation, and gravitational forces of the robot.
Any of these robots can be used for inspiration, and with a little imagination, you can build your custom self-balancing robot.
There are several advantages when you build a DIY robot:
- you can build the robot at home;
- are effectively very cheap;
- you can reuse components from other robots;
- some components can be printed using a 3D printer;
- all of these robots are customizable;
- you can combine both electronics and programming skills;
If for programming side is relatively simple to download and install a development environment, on the electronics side you need a set of tools including a soldering iron or wire cutters.
I started the DIY balancing robot compilation with this very simple two wheeled robot with a bamboo chassis, and two sensors mounted on the axis of rotation to maintain its balance.
On the project page you can find documentation about how to program the Arduino Uno board to keep the robot in balance, as well as few other steps necessary to have a functionally robot. (more…)
After a successful campaign on Kickstarter and several versions of the design, the Play-i Bo & Yana toys are ready to enter into production. The idea of this project is to get an excellent start into robotics for every child with fun and accessible tools.
The Play-i project was engineered with a great help from children and parents who exchange views in almost all stages of development. With a great set of accessories, features, and an opened platform for developers, both Bo and Yana robots are more likely to be cherished by children with an affinity for intelligent robots.
Two actors: Bo & Yana
The entire project is based on two robots with two different missions: Bo and Yana. The Bo is designed as an explorer robot able to learn new skills and increase its capabilities. With its playful and curious abilities, the Bo is a good partner willing to follow the users wherever they go.
If Bo is the partner with roles for explorations, the Yana plays the storyteller role. The Yana is able to entertain you with your favorite character any time and everywhere. It is a robot designed to be clever, full of imagination and with a great potential in playing a wide range of characters. (more…)
MOSS is a modular kit with electronic blocks transformed in a kinematic robot construction system that does not require wires or to write any programming line. The magic word is ‘fun’ because using the MOSS blocks you can feel like an engineer even you have 8 years old.
Digging inside the modular system you can find a lot of innovative technologies that makes the MOSS simple, intuitive, and a good tool for learning about robots and how they works.
Even from outside it seems to be a simple modular system, the magic blocks were designed after many years of research and studying several areas including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
As a short overview, the system consists of a set of cubes with sensors, inputs, outputs, and colors for easy assembly the parts.
For a platform dedicated to learning how to control a robot and how to interface several blocks to form a working system, probably you don’t expect to be a system that works without wires and writing any programming line. The biggest surprise is that the MOSS can work even without these essential parts that can be found in a Lego EV3 robot or a DIY robot for example.
The wires have been replaced with a single button contact able to send the power and data, while the ground passes through the steel spheres.
With several years of research, the MOSS system was started in 2010 with several sketches, ideas, and thousands of prototypes.
Eindhoven University of Technology has unveiled AMIGO, its new humanoid robot designed for domestic applications and expected to compete in the upcoming RoboCup@Home league. The AMIGO robot catches my attention due to its open-source software system based on ROS and Ubuntu, and by its ability to be part of the RoboEarth network and database, which is a very attractive mind-blowing combination for hobbyists and scientists.
The Autonomous Mate for IntelliGent Operations(AMIGO) has been proven over time its abilities among other advanced projects such as Bobbie Robotics or R3-COP, and the next challenge is to equip the robot with superior features able to learn different things from other robots. This is the case when the robot is able to access the RoboEarth network and database to download autonomously instructions related to a certain task and change information with other robots such as recognition of an apple.
What is very impressive is that the machines will be able to do autonomous tasks like navigation or object recognition just downloading from the RoboEarth project the proper information and store these on a memory card.
This learning method is very fast compared with the method of programming every conceivable situation, and we have to pay close attention of this Cloud Robotics infrastructure and future robotic projects designed to become part of the network.
Its anthropomorphic design is limited to the upper side of the body where two of the Philips Experimental Robotic Arms (PERA) are used for interaction with objects or humans. On the lower side is the storage zone with batteries, electronics, and four omnidirectional wheels. (more…)