Let's Make Robots!

On-line store up and running!

I just published my first website: www.salvage-1.com and it should be live any minute now.

I will be adding items on a daily basis as I have over 2000 part numbers currently in stock as well as all types of unique and interesting items.

There will be certain core items, (like the soldering stations), that I will always sell but other items, (due to the nature of the surplus business), will be limited quanity. What that means is, when they're gone, they may be gone for good. I buy at auction every other Saturday so there will be new and different items added continously.

Update on my status with BeagleBone Black delivery

Well, almost a month ago, Mukund showed me the BeagleBone Black over on facebook. Then, I was considering buying a Raspberry Pi and a Freeduino Uno, and since the company was located just 30kms from my home and had next day shipping facility, I was pretty happy with it. But Black had an appeal to me. It was both a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino Uno and better at it than the combination of both. All this and the fact that it was cheaper at that time, I persuaded both myself and my parents to buy it. Then started the problems

Sad story about Chopstick Junior and Campus Party Berlin 2012

Well, let me begin with an introduction of the robot and the event but you need to promise me to read it to the end...or just the end if you don't have time.

Beginnings

 

May 19, 2013

I am building a robot controller board using a Zilog Z-80 processor.  For those who don't know, the Z-80 was one of two major CPU chips in the late 70s and early 80s, before the IBM PC ruined ruled the world. The other was the 6502.  I hope you will follow along as the project progresses.  It will be fun.  Why on earth would I want to do such a thing?  Glad you asked.

Help with steering linkages (Not a robot)

Hey guys, I know this is not a robot but I could really use a second set of eyes on this one...

Variable Power Regulator Mystery DAMMITDAMMITDAMMIT!!!!

I suppose I shouldn't be complaining.  After all, the circuit works:

...and more or less this (the cap straddles the gutter on my board  but Fritzing is limited...)

There's no connection to pin 3, which is "output" supposedly.  Yet it works as a voltage controller-from 18v to 3v-12v (range.)

Raspberry Pi is not a pc :) And neither does BBB or Olinuxino

Hi all!

OK so this is not a rant or maybe it is but here we go. 

Raspberry PI is not your common PC (and this applies to all little ARM based boards popping up lately).

Try running a fullfleged linux distro on it and it will crawl to a slow moving beast, and by fullfleged Linux distro I do mean all those things like Raspbian, Archlinuxarm etc. These things are just normal distros recompiled for ARM.

Optimizing the Jansen Linkage

 

Still tweaking my optimizer for Jansen (Klann) walking linkages. I started posting some of the more promising optimizations at http://boim.com/Jansen/Favorites

Flat, optimized Jansen Linkage

Mini Robotic Shield

 

Make your first robot is a fun thing. Forces you to use creativity to solve those small problems. But not everyone has the space, tools (simple as it may be) available or sufficient knowledge to make your first robot from scratch, it makes some people give up in the early days ... fair will then prevent them to have fun as we make our robots? NO.

A silly really small co-operative kernel ... in case you need one :o)

 

so ... one of my friend needed a little help with concurrency so last weekend I chopped out one silly little co-operative kernel for his arduino applications...

I built many of those little kernels for different cpu over the years.

they are usually simple ( not time sliced ) and they work fine with ucontroller and few cooperative tasks.

this silly one is as much thin you can go, only simple tasks( with their own stack) and semaphore (with P and V) , all in C, and using for context switching setjump() and longjump().

Looking into Klann linkage

Started looking at Klann linkage.  Reversed some dimensions from the patent.  They seemed overly "symetric", likely suboptimal.  I may want to look at running an optimizer on that basic linkage.  Here is an animation of the Klann cycle, done similar to what I have done for Jansen.Animation of a step period with a proposed Klann-like linkage

Would you ARM yourself? (Or, Who wants a slice of Badj-berry Pi?)

While the parts for what I'm considering aren't here yet, they're definitely a possibility. With all the chatter about the new Beagle and with everyone already having an RPi in hand it seems, to me one of the next logical steps (if we are to take PicAxe and Arduino as a template) is the hobbiest making his/her own Linux SBC. I suppose if you're Patrick McCabe and have a reflowster, it's not out of the question. However, God what a pain in the ass that would be.

Issues with Jansen Linkage

There are two main concerns I have with the Theo Jansen linkages, which have shown up in rough prototypes.

basic drawing and node naming for main linkage

Theo Jansen Walker

I'm starting work on a Theo Jansen linkage walker.  I'm keeping a copy of my project notes here

My prototype has a vulnerability with the knee collapsing toward the fixed center node. Has anybody else experienced this? Any suggestions? I have code for solving linkage geometry, plotting, and .scad models for prototype 3d-printed linkages.

Here is an animation of one side of my proposed 8-leg walker, animation of Jansen trotting motion

My trip to Xinjiang China

My Company was invited to the city of Karamay in Xinjiang China to demonstrate our robots at a Science Festival. Xinjiang is in the North West corner of China and borders a number of other countries. We had a 5 hour flight from Guangzhou (formerly Cantong) to Urmaqi and then another 1 hour flight to Karamay Where we were met by a lovely lady who's English name was Jenny.

Click on the map below for a hi-resolution image.

Codemotion Berlin 2013 conference

On 10-11 May 2013 there will be a Codemotion conference in Berlin. Citing their web-site: "Codemotion is an innovative tech event engaging developers of all languages and technologies in presentations & conversations about: mobile, web, Makers, startup ideas, sustainability, game development and creative coding."

A stumbling bumbling attempt at a 3D printer

Well this is my attempt a building a 3d printer, I am blaming TinHead for the whole thing, perhaps with some blame beeing focused on CtC as well and let me state here Chris and Tinhead were both a great source of encouragement and help in this on going project. The whole journey started with my seeing Tinheads build of bumble bee  http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32879

Wireless/Zigbee for PIC Micros

Back in 2009, my professional work involved leading the firmware project of a low power wireless network of sensors collecting temperature and humidity data. Wireless gateways accumulated the information and sent to a data center over the internet. During that project, I fancied my own Zigbee network for my robots and setting up a network of home monitoring sensors. I eventually bought some Microchip MRF24J40MA modules (which is a completely different platform than my professional work).

A hexapod for my son to ride on - a big experiment

After seeing the weblink by bdk6 "inspiration for Hexapod builders" I was inspired. The video is of the "Mantis" turbo diesel all terrain hexapod.

Ok, I cannot afford to build a 2 tonne turbo diesel hexapod but I can build one big enough for my 8 year old son Shi Sen to ride on. My plan is to have almost the entire robot laser cut from 6mm plywood.