Let's Make Robots!

Deskpet

Lives on my desk

As an ongoing project. I have been working on a small robot that could live on my desk as a pet, hence the Deskpet moniker. I’ve done some research into how to give him personality, as well as how to add emotion (links soon). Last weekend I decided to play with my CNC mill and cut out a design for the body of my deskpet robot. I’ve been working on this design for a while so it was just a matter of loading and running the program. Then, one of the guys at work used the CNC’d master to make an RTV mold, and I molded a urethane copy:

Deskpet1 Deskpet 2

The body is shown with a Nickel for scale. The pics are really crummy because I used my cell phone, I’ll post better pics later. This will make a robot small enough to use for Micro-Sumo competition, and is designed around the GM-10 motors. I may end up selling these as just the body, or as a complete robot kit.

I have finished the pcb schematic and have almost completed the layout. I hope to send the board out to BatchPCB for fab by the end of the week.

UPDATE:

I finished routing the PCB. Maybe I'll be able to send it out for fab by tonight. 

Deskpet1

5/28/11

These pics are quite old, but I got quite distracted with other projects and forgot to update. 

Here's an RC prototype using a Nordic keyfob transmitter:

Deskpet Proto

I also made the bodies available on Shapeways if anyone is interested:

http://www.shapeways.com/model/203094/deskpet_robot_body.html?gid=ug

The body is easily reproduceable by making a silicone mold, but be sure to get it made with "Transparent Detail" if you are gong to make a mold. The "White, Strong and Flexible" material doesn't release from the molds easily.

Next up is some ideas I had for an alternate body/frame for the deskpet:

Alternate Deskpet Body

Alternate Deskpet body - internal

This body is also on Shapeways, but I have not tested it yet, so I have not made it available for sale. While it looks a lot nicer, it would be a much trickier build. I also have a design for molding the tiny tank treads for this which still needs to be tested, I just ordered a pair of the tread molds and one of the bodies, so we'll see how it goes.

Finally I have been doing a lot of thinking and a bit of writing over the last year or so about the personality/emotions/learning for the deskpet robot. I wrote some of it down and recently made it available through my blog in case anyone is interested:

http://robotguy.net/blog/2011/05/25/simple-embedded-architecture-for-robot-learning-and-emotion/

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Sounds like you have some nice equipment. I'd kill for a CNC milling machine.