What do you do when you want your plants to grow but you lack a green thumb? Give them wheels and the ability to seek out sunny and shady spots on their own. This was media artist Kathleen McDermott has done.
The aptly named Sunbot and Shadebot are robots that help houseplants tour the outside world. Sunbot uses photocell (light) sensors to look for sunny places to rest, while Shadebot employs the same sensors to locate shadowy spots. (more…)
What’s neat is that unlike other awards, Hebocon’s are symbolic as they are usually made out of recycled parts from every robot in the competition!
So far there have been two editions of Hebocon in Spain (Valencia and Makespace Madrid) where our very own David Cuartielles participated as a judge.
Last weekend, Cuartielles was invited to the Hebocon World Championship in Tokyo where he served on the judging panel alongside Nifty’s Dr. Kunio Matsui and an executive from NicoTsuku (a company dedicated to digital communities). The event drew a total of 32 robots from all across the world, including the United States, Hong Kong, Iceland, France, Singapore, Greece, Taiwan and Japan.
The winners were:
Nifty Award: An unusual car with a spinning doll that shot fake banknotes
NicoTsuku Award: A robot with a middle-age man that turned a table upside down (a literal representation of a Japanese colloquial expression that means getting mad)
Arduino/Genuino Award: A crocodile robot made by a 10-year-old that previously participated in Maker Faire Tokyo
The ‘Remote-Controlled Robot’ from Hong Kong won the sumo competition and it was about fooling the opponent by switching the roles of the remote control and the robot.
As its name would suggest, the LittleArm is a mini 3D-printed robot that began as a weekend project. Its creator Gabe Bentz wanted a small arm that was easy to work with, and one that wouldn’t require him to dig deep into his wallet. So, as any Maker would do, he decided to design his own low-cost device.
After showing the LittleArm off, it wasn’t before long that he was approached by some STEM teachers in the area who wondered if the kit was something they could use in their classrooms. Ideally, every student should have one to tinker with, but unfortunately today’s systems tend to be too expensive and quickly loose parts and pieces. This is a problem that LittleArm is looking to solve.
The arm is powered by an Arduino Uno and four identical metal-geared micro servos, while all other mechanical components are 3D-printed. There’s also a modular gripper that’s actuated by a servo along with rigid end-effectors for various tasks. What’s more, a basic GUI enables you to control the arm, its gripper, the speed, as well as use its record function to train the robot to perform a specific task and then watch it play out the sequence.
The entirely open-source gadget comes as a DIY kit that can be purchased or built from scratch. Want one of your own? Check out Bentz’s Kickstarter page here, and see the LittleArm in action below (including some of its dance moves).
Recently-graduated high school students Sam Baumgarten and Graham Hughes have developed a pretty rad robotic gripper with the help of Arduino and 3D printing. The gripper itself consists of three large hobby servos joined to the fingers with a linkage. The underactuated fingers have a force sensor under each contact point, while the control glove is equipped with tiny vibrating motors at the fingertips. This, of course, provides haptic feedback to ensure that the user doesn’t crush anything–the greater the pressure, the stronger the motors vibrate.
The da Vinci System is one of the most popular surgical robots around, which allows surgeons to perform operations through only a few small incisions. The device works by translating a doctor’s hand movements into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. As ubiquitous as they may be in hospitals, chances are it’s never been operated quite like this before.
That’s because Julien Schuermans has managed to connect the robotic surgical tool’s hardware up to a LeapMotion controller, making its small forceps gesture-controlled. You can see how it all works in the video below. (more…)
A team from ETH Zurich has created an incredible submersible robot called Scubo as a way to scan entire coral reefs. Equipped with six onboard webcams, the omnidirectional device is capable of exploring the deep sea from every angle. What’s more, users can take a virtual dive by throwing on a pair of VR glasses to make it feel as if they’re swimming with marine life.
Scubo consists of an Arduino Due for hard real-time tasks, an Intel NUC for high-performance calculation, an IMU, and a pressure sensor — all housed inside a carbon cuboid. Eight thrusters are symmetrically mounted to the outside, one at each corner, while a tube goes through the box to ensure proper water flow and to keep the electronics cool. The system is neutrally buoyed and weight in the form of screws can be added to the thruster arms to adjust buoyancy and the center of gravity. (more…)
An entry in this year’s Hackaday Prize, Dtto is a snake-like robot designed to be modular and self-reconfigurable.
Inspired by Bruce Lee’s famous water quote, Dtto can transform into various shapes by changing the position and connection of its 3D-printed modules. As Hackaday points out, each section of Dtto is a double-hinged joint. When two come together, magnets help them align. A servo-controlled latch solidly docks the sections, which then work in unison. Impressively, it can connect and separate segments autonomously – without any human intervention. Creator Alberto believes the versatility of the bot will enable it to perform rescue missions, explore unknown environments, and operate in space. (more…)
If you’ve always wanted a bot for a friend, personal assistant or butler, you’re in luck. John Choi, a Carnegie Mellon University computer science and arts student, has managed to build his own life-size robotics platform for about $2,000. Sure, a price tag like that may not seem “cheap” but in comparison to other research-grade platforms out there, it’s a bargain.
Ideal for Makers, students, educators, artists and researchers alike, the Multipurpose Mobile Manipulator Mk 1 is capable of playing the piano, drawing pictures, preparing meals, watering plants, and engaging in toy sword duels, among many other things. (more…)
For his end of the year project at the University of Valencia, Maker Jorge Crespo built an Internet-connected, GPS-enabled rover using an Arduino Mega, an Adafruit FONA 808 module, and a PIC18F45K20 microcontroller.
Other hardware includes IR sensors for obstacle avoidance, a dual H-bridge motor controller, an LCD screen, DC/DC converters, and an 11.1V, 5Ah LiPo battery. The bot is managed through a web-based interface, allowing its user to select between auto or manual commands, as well as track its location on a map.
From getting out of bed to applying lipstick to eating breakfast, Simone Giertz has seemingly found every possible way to automate her morning routine. Next on that list? A hair-washing robot made up of a rubber hand, a bottle of shampoo and some basic electronics that allows her to lather, rinse and repeat, while leaving her hands free for other tasks like brushing her teeth. (more…)