Let's Make Robots!

rik's blog

Gakken interview - for the record

Dear Rik,

Thank you again for cooperating in our magazine.
(And also for introducing about us in your blog too!)

Following is the questionarie that I want you to ask about your Theo Jansen style robot leg.

Animaris Ordis Parvus

So here's the whole story (so far).

In Japan people are crazy about Theo Jansen's art. To find out more about Jansen's creation, start here or browse the LMR pages tagged "theo jansen". Several exhibitions of his art have been organized in East Asia before, including Japan. Jansen even holds a special Japanese website or two.

A watched meter never boils

I would love to be able to have continuous readouts from my electricity meter in my home. Such a tedious job is time consuming and tedious. So I need a robot to do that for me.

Breadboard Jumper Wires Conspiring with Resistance?

Yup, that's:
no black
not so brown
still no black
brown, finally

Guess what it is...

Feel free to speculate on the project I'm working on. These are zoomed in and cropped photos. What are these components and what were they made from. But most importantly: WHY!??!????



update nov 1 2010:

What is the purpose of this crappy switch?

Running a MicroController off a SuperCap

Because I keep daydreaming about wiring up my house with dozens of sensors, I was wondering how hard it would be to power a micro controller (say picaxe) off a super capacitor.

A supercap is an electrolytic capacitor with an insanely large capacitance. Mine is half a Farad, 470000 uF. But is rated for only 5.5 V. That's the deal with these caps. Higher capacity at the expense of the maximum voltage they can endure. Or simply at an expense. This one costs about $4 at DigiKey.

Cool resistors

As featured on the liveshow, now in ultra high res. A 3 digit adjustable resistor. 10 kOhm potmeter. It's name and number are easy to find online: Bourns 3683s-1.

Break a leg, Wild Thumper!

I experimented a bit with video. The weather was perfect for it, as reported earlier.

One laptop with webcam streaming live from my balcony to ustream.tv. And my little 10fps camera on board. Then fool around until the batteries run dry.

Afterwards I found a problem in one of thumper's "legs". It limped. Exploratory surgery confirmed the great fear: a gear is missing some teeth. Oh well, we'll always have the photos.


This past summer (and still) I've been refurbishing the bannister on my house. This is what kept me from building robots.

I would be painting those planks today, but the wheather called for fooling around with my 6WD RC toy. Maybe a 6WD robot some other day.

Yep, that's 20 m plus the stairs.

Wild Thumper steel wire repair

While disassembling my Wild Thumper (for unrelated reasons), I discovered one of the steel wire suspension limiters had detached. So I decided to repair it with whatever I had in the house. Which happens to be copper wire and soldering tools.

Here's the problem:

RF link TX/RX 434 MHz = lessons learned and then some

I'm trying to build some sort of RC transmitter using the 434 MHz radio link set. Sometimes called Easy Radio, but not by SparkFun. Edit: because they're not the same thing!

I am setting this up on a breadboard with a Picaxe 08M and two potmeters as inputs. The two ADC bytes are combined into one byte. The one byte gets transmitted.

DarwinBot now in Soccer mode

My DarwinBot has been reincarnated into erhhmmm something completely else.

As it is right now (if it is indeed live at all) you get to control it. It is very very simple. Just five little commands. To get control, you must use the magic word first: control (and hit send). Now you have a limited amount of time to control the bot.

The available commands are:

Minimal Picaxe LED blinker

I just found a different way to make an LED blink with a picaxe 28x1:

   inc b0
   let pin7 = b0 >> 7
   ' do other important stuff here
goto main

The Pulse - 2010w21

LMR on the Brain
Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.

Love and Peace

Spotted in the Shoutbox tonight. So true, I had to preserve it for prosperity. Also: shouts cannot be Chilled (thank you).

fritsl: This is the only robo-community in the world where ppl thing the others are cool :D

List of notable tags on LMR

Look at these LMR tags. And notice how easy it is to attract some major search engine attention towards important (or fun) subjects on LMR.

* How to make your first robot (google)

* Instructions on LMR (google)

The Pulse - 2010w15

LMR on the Brain
Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.

Camping Party Project - Proposal

To all LMRtians who attend Camping Party Europe 2010 in Madrid.

How about a very simple group project while we are there? Just for fun (and, if successful, a little publicity).

I propose a repeat of the famous Tweenbots project. The Party takes place in a giant conference center with multiple "zones". Let's make a robot (duhhh!) and leave it at one end of the center and let it find its way accross to the other end.

Motor Control for 6WD Wild Thumper

Open call for suggestions:

I own a bare 6WD chassis "Wild Thumper" by Dagu, designed by Oddbot. And I have (2) "racing packs". Those are basically 6 NiCd cells in series, providing 7.2 Volts nominally. The motors are rated for 6 V. Stall current is listed as 5.5 A.

Even the most basic speed control will need some sort of amplifier for the PWM signal. Let's start very simple. Just speed control. Just one motor. One direction. What kind of transistor shall I buy? And what kind of circuit shall I use?

January 2010 Release of LMR

Just for the historical records....

New release of LMR January 26, 2010:

  • As always a lot of under the hood-work, regarding spammers and security.
  • New content type: "Something else". So many times people have made something great that was not quite a robot. Now it can be published, see front page, Add content.
  • New exciting components-section - try it out on top menu; Components

As always, 95% of the work was done by Del Rudolph. Thank you for your amazing work!

The Pulse - 2010w07

LMR on the Brain
Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.


Pulses are sparse and they shoot by in the blink of an eye. Make sure you have your automatic trigger set up and armed. Or you will miss it.

Make over?

Just to explain the changed avatar:


This replaces my 2003 model. And is improving my sight by leaps and bounds. I really should've had my eyes checked years ago! Before LMR even!

LMR's second year in pictures

What do you know? Memory Lane can be 4000 pixels long. Take a trip and share your memories with the rest of us as they shoot through your brain's déjà vu lobe. Any juicy anecdotes? Horror stories?

Do you recognise these fragments? Can you even tell how many there are? I dare you all to search a few node numbers. Heaven knows I tried and failed (for about 5% of them).

The Pulse - 2010w04

LMR on the Brain
Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.

Happy Birthday

All over again

Slightly more advanced LDR eye

Read this history first, if you have an hour to kill.

The challenge: make your bot rove around your house. Use no active beacons. Use observations by your bot only. Now, does your bot know where it is?

One possible answer: an eye and a brain.

Room Recognition

Each room in the house has a unique lighting situation. A simple eye that looks around in eight directions would "see" a pattern of light and dark segments. Each cell is connected to one ADC on your uC.

The Pulse - 2009w43

Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.

Nonbots in the robots section - "tisk tisk" or "boo woo"?

Should we ban all nonbots from the robots section? You know: robots that are not. That do not even exist? Ideas for an upcoming robot that only exist in the maker's mind. Maybe on a scrap of paper. Maybe the materials are "in the mail"?

I really don't like it when people post such projects. I don't care if the robot turns out to be really awesome real soon or if the idea never comes to fruition. I just feel that the robots sections should be reserved for actual projects that actually have something to show.

What are we, the Nobel Committee?

The Pulse - 2009w39

LMR on the Brain
Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.


Remember kids: once your robot is posted on LMR: it stays there. For ever. Come next Christmas, Pesach or any kind of New Year, LMR will still be hosting the pictures your shot, the video you edited and the very words you wrote.