Saturday, January 15, 2022

Mojo4 - a little design cleanup (#5)

 Mojo4 has regressed in its ability to shuffle across the floor, unfortunately.  This regression could be due to various causes. I have some concerns over the battery current and the condition of the battery given the temperatures and current. It is also obvious to me that the 'Franken-Prototype' nature is having an impact on the testing of the robot.  It seems that the franken-prototype has taken the design as far as it can go, and an upgrade is necessary to continue forward.  on to --

Mojo4 - Robot is a mess, it needs a better frame or chassis


the majority of the robot is currently built with reused pieces. The is due to the focus being on testing how viable the legs will be for walking.  Having (somewhat) proved this, the next steps need to have a more reliable robot platform.  First on the list is to secure the 4 leg units with a better frame or chassis.  I would like to do this in a way that any new parts, will be used in the future robot (as much as possible).

I will create some Frame Sections that will separate the leg modules, a provide a more stable chassis.  Notice how the right side leg modules are actually not aligned with the rest of the robot - this will certainly have impact to the ability to have a precision walk. 

Backward compatible - should not exist as a design constraint of a NEW robot in the prototype stage! But the question comes to mind.  In order to only build the parts I need, I would need to ensure that the new replacement part fit the same configuration of the existing parts. This mean that the new part is 'backward compatible' with the older part.  This, however, wold be a design sin at this stage. It would limit the innovation of the future robot, tying it needlessly to an obsolete part.  

One note, since my parts tend to have regular 10mm spaced holes for M3 bolts, it does provide a lot of reuse potential.  Unfortunately, i found that my previous designs, I was less concerned with 'standard' parts; therefore many of my old parts do not have regular dimensions (around the rounded cm values). This has limited my ability to reuse.  Going forward I will be more careful to make sure parts I design fit into somewhat regular dimensions.

Frame Section:

I have designed a frame part that will help construct the prototype, while also being a useful part for the future build.  This Frame Section is a box of 10cm x 6cm x 4cm dimensions. It will have M3 holes on the outside and a basic 'floor' for holding components (battery box, or Micro controller).

Frame Section - useful and reusable building component

If I print out 3-4 of these, then I can replace most of the frankenstein-prototype parts used to hold the leg modules in place.  This should provide a more robot platform for testing the basic gait and servo strength.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Starting Animatronics

 Interested in Animatronics?  I always have been.

I guess the best place to start are the eyes - "the mirrors of the soul" - and the one thing that all humans look at.

There are a few videos on YouTube that go in how to make these.  I will start my design process on it. 

The challenge is having both Vertical and Horizontal movement.  The quick survey I have done suggests that for a typical animatronic, both eyes need to move the same direction and pointing.  Also, it seems to be really cool, you need eye lids.  That will add a few more servos to the mix.

more to come..

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Robot Art of George Beker

Bot by George Beker

Probably one of the most influential books of my computer development was Basic Computer Games. This book that was developed in the 1970s by David Ahl was ahead of its time. 

I was a pre-teen with an APPLE ][+ computer (48k RAM),  no disk drive, no hard drive.  I would sit for hours and type the programs into the computer (it had a built in BASIC interpreter). Playing them was fun, and in the process, I was learning to code.

Perhaps more influential on me than the BASIC programs, was the artwork in the book.  This is the work of George Beker.

I found his "not of this technical reality" Robots to be inspiring for some unknown reason. They were everyday, melancholy looking, and sentient(!)  Loving them or not, It allowed me to visualize robots possessing a strong anthormothic spirit.

by George Beker

You can find more information about George Beker here.  The sites links are not all up to date. If you are interested in purchasing an ebook of his portfolio of robots you can find it at his publishers site: Kidware Software.  it also has the BASIC Programming book.

Also - if you found the BASIC Programming Games book to be inspiring, there is an Open project underway to modernize it with current languages. you can find more information about that here.

-G.Beker, you find my humble site, Thank You!