Let's Make Robots!


Toys for kids with disabilities


UPDATE July 5.

In the las couple of weeks, several hacked remote controlled toys made their way to the kids. See how they like it.


If you want to helo, please contact the email addresses in the end of the video.

/ End Update


The batteries are coming!

The LiFePo4 batteries I ordered for Groucho and Zeppo should be arriving tomorrow. Well I suppose it's actually later today by now. They got sent to the wrong FedEx shipping center and they're going to drop them off and take the pallet to the basement door! Of course, this is only for a minor extra fee... :)

So since the base and motors and wheels for Groucho have all arrived, I should be able to get things working eventually.

I2C IO expander/servo controller using a picaxe 20x2

20x2 picaxeI needed analog ports and servo control for the RPi in my R2D2 project that can be controlled with I2C. Because I have a few spare Picaxe ICs I decided to make one using a Picaxe 20X2. Currently I only need a single servo and a single analog input, but I don’t want to reprogram the Picaxe every time I add another sensor so I wrote the attached code to turn the 20X2 into a general purpose IO expander. 

Emotions and Motivations as behaviour architecture

Hi all, a few days ago, I started designing the behaviour-based architecture for my robot Hurby. I thought to design it as a Subsumption architecture (see my previous blogs) in which different behaviours compete to be selected as dominant, and hence move Hurby accordingly.

Wall-e MkII - the tinkering begins...

As progress with Wall-e MkI (the test Wall-e) continues I can't help but start planning the 'proper' build, or the MkII :-)

Consider this a 'thinking-out-loud', rather than a definitive plan; I will document the second build in it's own Project.


A Brain functioning approach

Hi again, along next lines I will try to explain the way in which I'm designing Hurby's brain, from sensory to actuator module. I think it can be interesting and useful for some of you. Nevertheless as I'm already under its design, all of your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Fuzzy Inference module for behaviour-based control

In previous blog I talked about the subsumption architecture of Hurby toy, now it is time to talk about the fuzzy inference module which controls its happiness state.

Hurby's happiness depends on two main variables.

I feel dumb

It all started when I was programming PopPet. I was using the simple way of using the HC-SR04:

Hello all!

This is D. Jay Newman, also known as Dangerous Thing (as in "A little learning is a dangerous thing.")

I built several robots in from the late 1990's through the early 2000's. I had several articles and one book, Linux Robotics, published. Then my wife became extremely sick and I had to quit work to become her full-time caregiver. I was also forced to quit working on robots. Lately I realized I had to build things again or not be true to myself.

I've begun working on the troupe: Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo, and eventually Chico.

An Experience at the International Space Apps Challenge 2014, Kathmandu

Probably the world's largest "Codeathon", or what I like to call it, "Hackathon", The International Space Apps Challenge, kicked off in more than 90 countries all over the world on April 12th, 2014. Kathmandu was proud to be one of the hosting venues for a world-wide 48-hour pulsating event and so was I to be one of the participants. 16 teams had geared up in groups of all shapes and sizes to present their ideas, to bring them to life and most importantly, to change the world we live in to make it a better place. 


Behaviour-based design. Subsumption architecture

One ot the most challenging tasks I planned for Hurby project, was to define its behaviour. It should behaves in an intelligent manner, discriminating between different happiness states according with user (my daughters) interaction.

Basically, I wanted that Hurby's happiness will depend on two main causes:

Let's begin

My first step is to understand how to program my AVR. Quick googling and I've intalled AVR Studio 4.18 build 684. Version is important here, since there are a lot of issues with 4.19 (and later?) on forums and personal blogs.

I'm pretty familar with C and C++, so I've setup WinAVR to compile and build my future C programm for AVRs.

assistance bitcoin mining

i currently took up bit coin mining to try and help fund my printer build and maybe even down the road help a production BoB become reality (i have not given up!) does anyone want to help my endevor? all it takes is a small (20mb) program and a worker name and password from me..if anyone is interested please let me know. it would be geatly appreciated.

"The Better Mousetrap" Servo Tester

I've decided that my new servo tester (based on RoboPi) deserved a page of its own on my site, and that other LMR users may be interested in following my build log.

"The Better Mousetrap Servo Tester"

You can find the build log, and more photos at:


(The jitter issue is now identified as the MG-995 servos needing unusually clean servo power)

3D Printer Build

My friend Mr. Ossipee recently asked me how my printer build was going. So I decided it was time to start blog to chronicle my blunders! :)

I started out with a very ambitious plans to build a hybrid rostock style delta printer. As you can see below I had ordered quite a few parts in preparation for the build.

Arduino Mega, Ramps 1.4, and Display.


Propeller Quickstart Mezzanine board [complete]

This is my first attempt at an add on board for my Propeller Quickstart boards. I got the idea from something I found about a Gadget Gangster board, the Quick Proto Module, that had video out and mono sound out. there was also a schematic which helped a lot. I modified the schematic a bit, adding a second audio channel so it is now stereo.

Project 2: Tidying up

Last two days have been frustrating - work has prevented me from working on developing my skills.

I did, however, manage to shorten the huge loom of wiring that came attached to the motors; there was a little board with 6 straight-through connections already attached near the motors on the base, so I soldered the 2 wires of each motor, plus the battery wires, to one side. The other side i continued the connections to the motors shield.

Project 2: And so it starts...

So, today, full of motivation (now I have figured out a rough plan for my project), decided to start learning the techniques to help me build my project.

Today, using a donated toy base (tracked, with 2 12v motors and gearboxes to boot), I added:

  • an Arduino Uno
  • Arduino Motorshield
  • Two 4xAA battery packs (in series to provide 12v). 
  • A Bluetooth module.

Using some arduino code I had developed for my Wall-e task I was able to move my tank around - ruddy good times!

Project 2 - my first project!

I've always has an interest in robotics and suchlike, however never really committed to taking that interest forward; coding and suchlike are my favourite parts but i am inept when it comes to the hardware side.

I keep going through phases where i plan to learn, to do... but never do.

Recently i actually started a project, however - to take a Wall-e toy, rip out the innards, give it a few motors and servos and add an Arduino (with motor shield and bluetooth Module) to keep it together.

ADC0809 AD 8 Channel Analog to Digital Conversion Module and Propeller QS

OK, so one late night I bought one of these with the thought of using it on a Propeller board as they have no analog inputs and it be really nice to have some for motor driver current sensors and other sensors that are analog. Now after learnig a bit more I see this will eat a lot of pins on the Prop and to be honest, I have no idea how to make it all work. I think I understand the code. 
lots of questions abound...

super fast robotic arm!

OK, I never thought we would see this so soon.... 


Using the Arduino PID Library for precise position control of X and Y axis on RepScrap printer

I've updated the test code I'm using to manage my X and Y axis DC motor / linear encoder closed loop controller.

A simple HTTP communication protocol between wifi and Arduino

How to let the sensed data (e.g., temperature) on the Arduino send to the remote server? 

The following code is used to realize this function.

void setup()




void loop()


   int n=analogRead(A0);

   float vol=n*(5.0/1023*100);





void upload_sensor(float vol) 

     // send the HTTP PUT request: 

     char buf[200];

Further Progress on framing my RepScrap 3D printer.

Well, this is what the RepScrap looks like today.