Tiny Robot

Tiny Robot
Tiny Robot

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Jamie has built a robotic arm

Jamie has built a robotic arm. The kit with over a hundred parts came together really nicely. It appears to be rock solid and reliable. We are looking forward to some robotic experiments using this device.

The "industrial robot" design provides five actuator motors, giving it considerable freedom(s) of movement.

The arm is controlled manually ... but I am thinking about how to hook it up to a computer. More on that later once I have discussed the idea with Jamie.

First step was to get this working, and then to get some video of the robot in action.

Here is a first video of the robot arm in action:

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Jamie's Robot Nation

This weekend was Jamie's birthday. As well as receiving an electronically controlled robot arm, he spent a couple of hours designing his very own 3D-Printed robot.

Electronically controlled Robot Arm
At MyRobotNation you can design, and print, a custom robot. It's very cool. If you have not heard of 3D Printing before, it's like inkjet printing, but in 3D. The object is built up layer by layer, either in plastic, powder or resin. It sets hard, and you have a real object in your own. Some people say that we'll all have 3D Printers in our own soon.

Jamie's Robot Nation
Jamie's robot will be printed on a ZCorp 3D printer. It's prints the object in a special powder bed, and can do so in full color. It's too expensive a machine to have one of these in the home yet, but you can buy cheaper printers that work in plastic.

Expensive ZCorp 3D printer
Three of the most popular home printers - which are about the price of a good PC, are the Cube, the MakerBot, and the Ultimaker.

Cube 3D printer
Ultimaker 3D printer
MakerBot 3D printer

Monday, 5 November 2012

Arduino experiments at the Purley Hackspace

Last weekend our good friends from France stayed over at the Purley Hackspace. Fearnley and Pierre had never encountered an Arduino but were intrigued. With no programming or electronics experience the teenagers set about replicating the simple circuits and demos that come with typical starter kits.

Spurred on by their success, they proceeded through a variety of their own experiments, gradually integrating more and more functionality onto the board. 

It surprised them how tricky it was to develop the digital code that, combined with a simple 'push-to-make' switch, could turn into what they wanted: a 'push-to-make push-to-break' toggle switch. They also began to understand how integrating the code from one experiment, into another, was not trivial, and they eventually realized that the concept of an 'interrupt' would be very useful.

The pièce de résistance came in the form of a circuit with many features: on/off, speed control, colored LEDs and a chain of relays able to control any mains voltage device (up to 40 Amps) such as lamps, toaster, power tools, vacuum cleaner, cooker and beyond. Here it is controlling the lamp:

In another refinement, they added a light sensor and were able to activate the Arduino 'hands off' by turning off the main room light, with the effect of turning on the table lamp via relay chain. Pretty cool!

An 'end of day' final experiment which would have triggered a firework in the garden simply by turning off the house lights, failed to work. There was probably insufficient power to the firework-ignition circuit.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Giant Hexapod Robotic Vehicles you can ride in are coming ...

If you want to ride a giant eight legged robot, you cannot buy one, you are going to have to make one. And this is precisely what one team are trying to do. Learn about 'Stompy' below in this video.

If you like what you hear, consider backing the project here

Monday, 23 January 2012

MouseBot works and seeks the light!

Jamie and Howard tested their Mousebot while at the London Model Engineering Show, Alexander Palace. The mouse worked perfectly.

We found a large open space and, managing to avoid the public, Jamie chased the Bot around the floor around a touch, and the robot responded to his commands.

We then let the Bot loose and it neatly turned towards the light at the end of the corridor and darted for the open door.

We forgot to take our camera to the event, so pictures of the MouseBot in action will have to wait until next time. Jamie tells me there is a large hall at his school. I think this would be the perfect place for some new tests.