Let's Make Robots!

Nao Developer Program

For the robot software programmers out there, looks like Aldebaran robotics is starting a Nao Developer program (by invitation only, but some are available at this link:)


The neat part is that they'll be creating a "Robot App Store" eventually, exclusive to the robot developers. Should I apply... it costs 3600 euros to get a robot and development suite :S

First win, first fail

So, I got around to assembling my Arduino Ardumotor board. Although very straightforward, it was quite the experience because a) I didn't realize I had to hold down the button on the soldering iron to increase the heat (i.e. "why isn't it melting?" *crickets*) and b) I was so excited to figure out the button thing that I put my first component on backwards.

Anyway, eventually I got my board assembled and hooked up to the motors as per the Ardumoto Quickstart tutorial.  (Yay it moves!)

Acroban robot

Wow! I just came across this recent work from a research lab in France. As you can see in the video, the robot moves a bit like a child -- it's pretty cute.

Their robot has structural stability due in large part to their use of *drumroll* rubber bands! I like that their components are cheap and off-the-shelf. It would be cool to try and reverse engineer it... or I guess we could just ask them for the schematics... hmm...

Of course, some people still find it creepy. One girl told me it was as scary as puppets.

Getting started

Today is Arduino day.

Yesterday I zoomed around Osaka's electronics district looking for parts, a veritable scavenger hunt given that most stores advertising Gundam or airplane model kits sold only plastic figurines. What's up with a model airplane that doesn't move? Anyway.

Eventually I came across a triad of electronics stores that sold cables, boards and motors galore. How ironic that even in the robot capital of Japan I ended up with an Italian board. What do you expect, I guess, if that's the only package you can read.