Let's Make Robots!

Arduino updates - I hate the new Arduino

When I started using Arduino, V0018 was the latest and greatest. Since then there have been about 7 updates and every time they update, more and more of my code fails to compile.

Since V1.0 and now V1.01 it seems the capital letter "F" cannot be used for a function name. This caused the error:
error: expected unqualified-id before 'reinterpret_cast'

Perfectly chilled beer!

Ok, I know this has nothing to do with robots but I thought the science behind it might make for an interesting discussion.

I have found that if I freeze my beer to the correct temperature (pressumably a few degrees below freezing) then while it will be perfectly liquid while the lid is on, the moment I open the bottle, beautiful, feather like, ice crystals will grow in the beer.

New MkII robot gripper from DAGU

Dagu has had an aluminium gripper available for some time now so we decided it was time for a re-design. The new MkII gripper has some significant improvements on the original.

  • Brass sleeves in the joints improve rigidity and eliminate the need for adjustment.
  • A 2:1 gear ratio increases gripping torque while utilizing the full 180° travel of the servo.
  • A spring loaded clutch protects the servo gear train while providing spring tension for gripping objects.

S.A.M. as an Arduino Library - Software to make our robots talk

Back in the good old days of Atari's and Commodore64's there was a program called S.A.M. the software automated mouth. Considering this was available about 30 years ago I have always been dissapointed at the lack of progress in robotic speach since then.

I know there is some much better speech programs available now but how often have you had a computer talk to you?
S.A.M. is actually built into Adobe Reader. Just open a PDF file, go to the "View" menu and at the bottom you will find "Read Aloud".

Jameco now sell the Micro Magician robot controller

Good news everyone, the Micro Magician is now being stocked by Jameco as well as Rocket Brand Studios.

New LBD geared motor for small robots

DAGU have now released a modified version of our Little Black Duck analog servo.

This is the Little Black Duck servo, modified for continuous rotation with the control circuit removed making it into a simple geared motor with a ball raced output shaft. This motor is perfect for small robots and can be easily driven by an L293D or a controller with a built in "H" bridge such as our Micro Magician.

Life imitates robots

They often say that robots imitate life but this video is a great example of life imitating a robot. Reminds me of the movie A.I.

Interfacing yor robot to your PC using Gobetwino (can work with any MCU)

I am currently working on a project where I need to teach my robot to "see" using an ultrasound sensor. In particular it must find and collect drink cans on a playfield and return them to a specific location.

To make the programming easier I wanted to take the sensor output from the robot and display it on the computer as a chart. As I am a terrible programmer I did a quick google search and came up with Gobetwino.

Miniature servo magnetic clutches

Miniature servos are great for robotics, they are small and cheap. Unfortunately they have very small plastic gears that strip easily so they always need replacing....  or do they?  Not any more!!!

Micro Magician robot controller - I can finally tick the project complete box!

I started designing this controller in December 2011. After 4 months and 2 previous revisions it will finally be shipping out April 2012. I think this is DAGU's best Arduino compatible robot controller yet!

Designed for small robots using small batteries, the Micro Magician is a 3.3V controller running at 8MHz.
Working from 4.5V to 9V means this constroller can run from a single LiPo cell or 3x NiMh batteries.
Reverse polarity protection means no blue smoke if you get your power wires crossed (reverse polarity diode rated at 3A).