Gyroscopic Precession Robot (Version 2)
Update 4/23/2014: Now radio controlled stepping, ESC on rotor motor makes for a high stepping robot.
This is a very crude implementation of John W Jameson's Walking Gyro that he patented in 1981. I had made a simple gyroscope (flywheel) using a dc motor and cd and was looking for something to use it in and I stumbled across Jameson's robot at this website: http://cyberneticzoo.com/walking-machines/1981-the-walking-gyro-john-w-jameson-american/
In his patent he details how it works including all the math.
There were some commercial toys produced from his patent, one even had directional ability but I could find no videos or further information on them.
Here is a photo of his robot:
Here is a photo of his patent picture:
Here is a photo of a fantastic motorized Mechano version: I sure would like to have this one. The motor is on the other side of the flywheel.
My robot (that I named Bojangles cause he just kind of shuffles around mostly) doesn't use a pully arangement to tilt the gyroscope out of the vertical plane but rather a separate geared motor. Unfortunately the gearing is too slow so that Bojangles spends too much time turning and sometimes turns all the way around on one foot. Also, there is so much play in the gearing that it is unpredictable how much time will be spent making a step.. Also the mass of the flywheel affects it's movement, a small flywheel weight will cause it to shuffle whereas a larger one will make it pick it's feet up - also affected by the speed of the flywheel. Lots of variables that I couldn't change because my gearing was fixed as well as the length of the crank arm (too large causing too much tilt). My geared motor is about 6 rpm (ok for shuffling with a slower flywheel speed) but I'm guessing I need about 15 rpm to go straight while picking it's feet up and using a higher flywheel speed.
The feet should be able to rotate also whereas mine were mostly straight rods of fiberglass fishing pole.
The video does show mine picking his feet up (using two cds for a flywheel and a higher flywheel speed) but it's pretty precarious because the step time is too long and I believe the angle that I tilt the flywheel out of the vertical is too great.
My robot shuffles mostly because my gyroscope flywheel (cds) are so out of balance. Operates kind of like a bristle-bot but the precession still moves the feet forward.
Here are some closeup photos of Bojangles:
Here he has one foot off the table.
This is the arm for the feet (missing) attached to the geared motor.
Photo of backside of geared motor:
I am using two cds hotglued together for the flywheel.
The geared motor's crank arm is a little too long so it swings the gyro out of the vertical a little too much.
I use two sets of batteries, one for the gyroscope and one for the geared motor but they could be both run off the same set. It was just easier using two sets so that I could change up the speed of the gyroscope without affecting the speed of the geared motor by using a different number of batteries.
Center of gravity needs to be over the pivot point of the arm to which the feet are attached. My robot has everything so spreadout that it is difficult to balance it and sometimes if the precession torque is too great he will fall over.
Here I used airplane wheels for his feet so that they would rotate when he moved forward but they made balancing difficult because they were so loose.