Robot stuff

You may have been redirected or jumped here, because it's the new location of my robot web pages. In general, any link that started with
should now begin with

31 August 2002


I've always been fascinated by robots, from a very early age, and fortunately, I happen to have had the chance to actually build some, and dream about others to build. While it would be "way cool" to build an anthropomorphic android, it's unlikely that I'll have the time and resources to do it, and anyway, my current interests aren't in making two legged walking things.

Since I've been budget limited for virtually all my robot building, I've generally worked on designs that use two motors, in what is known as the "unicycle" configuration. Think of the powered wheel chair for an example.

A notable attempt at this, some 15 years ago, was using a pair of fairly high torque DC PM motors that were directly coupled to a pair of 8-10" wheels. It was a useful "mule" though, because I learned a lot while building a crude transistor PWM controller that literally exploded, and I learned some other mechanical things: small wheels have a hard time going over ordinary roughnesses: edges of carpets, cords, etc.

"Roger" was a much more sophisticated unit that used friction drive of two bicycle wheels (learning the lesson about large diameter wheels being good). It had an onboard IBM PC, a scanning sonar sensor, and some other enhancements. The significant lesson here was that you need a way to tell where you are (and sonar won't do it), and that the dimensions of the robot should be a lot smaller than the narrowest place you need to drive.

Some provisional ideas on requirements for robots

The bug robot with no name

Locomotion alternatives for a "big" robot

Snake Robot stuff

The Bucket-Bot - My unicycle (2 driven wheels with casters) and the R/C speed controls. Why "Bucket-Bot"? Because a white 5 gallon plastic bucket fits nicely over the base.

General comments on (Motors) (Communications) (Antennas) (Solar Power) (Traction Motor Control)

PIC software (servo.asm) to control 4 R/C servos from a SPI-like interface. Original Source is Mike Underhill's page

Microchip (PIC) web site:

Rabbit Web site

Real-time Panospheric Image Dewarping and Presentation for Remote Mobile Robot Control

GMD's Collection of Snake-like Robots

A Matlab toolbox for robotics (all those kinematic transformations, etc. as well as some plotting stuff) (It might work with Octave, too, at least with mods) from CSIRO in Australia. Peter Corke (the author) has a lot of other useful references on the page, as well.

Sphericle - A two wheeled cart inside a sphere. Very nifty, but mind bending to analytically control because it is a ball on a plate, which has tricky kinematics, driven by a two wheeled cart, which itself has tricky kinematics Links: (Searches in the engines will turn up an astounding variety of other things... and, a lot of misspellings of spherical)

A big (2.6 m) polyhedron made from EMT and its smaller (30 cm) model

Effect of wind on balls

Stuff on Powered Parachutes as platforms

revised 31 August 2002, Jim Lux
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