Penguin Robots: a Parallax mini R&D project

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Comments

  • JimmioJimmio Posts: 43
    edited 2005-12-15 - 03:18:08
    Sad to hear only 1000 will be made...

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    Info on all kinds of robosports:
    www.freewebs.com/robotbattles
  • Joe FishbackJoe Fishback Posts: 99
    edited 2005-12-16 - 00:23:43
    Ken,

    I hope that if Parallax is only making 1000 Penquin Robots, after they sell out, they will print out information on the electronics. The mechanical drawings were great! I am building a Penquin, but changed the drawings a little to use two mirco servos that I had in my shop. The drawings being in dxf was also a big help. As always Parallax is the greatest for sharing information.

    Joe Fishback

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    ······ Joe Fishback

    -Robots are my friends-
  • hutdonhutdon Posts: 32
    edited 2005-12-16 - 01:28:36
    Excuse my ignorance, but what is dxf and what can be used to display it. - Don
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-12-16 - 03:33:02
    Hutdon,

    A common ACAD output format. See this, which is particularly helpful:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=what+is+a+dxf+file

    Lots of free tools are available to convert DXFs to something you can read.

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.
  • doggiedocdoggiedoc Posts: 2,101
    edited 2005-12-16 - 12:20:42
    Ken,

    I am concerned that with only 1000 units being made that I may miss a chance to buy one. My Parallax "collection" just won't be complete without a Penguin! <grin>

    Having said that, how will we be notified when they are available for purchase? More simply should I watch the Announcement forum or the Parallax home page?

    Thanks,
    Doc

    Post Edited (doggiedoc) : 12/16/2005 12:23:17 PM GMT
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-12-16 - 15:47:09
    Hey DoggieDoc,

    As an animal caregiver, you will need to have one of these at your front desk. Or, at least you should get one of those Sharper Image monkey heads (that could scare a doggie really bad though). Ryan brought one in this morning and it's the craziest, most life-like animatronic thing I've seen.

    Don't worry. A thousand units will last a long time. My guess is 4-6 months.

    - Ken
  • Kenny GardnerKenny Gardner Posts: 169
    edited 2005-12-17 - 20:16:00
    Ryan brought one in this morning and it's the craziest, most life-like animatronic thing I've seen.

    Not to hijack the thread, but buying that so called "animatronic head" was the worst $150 I've ever spent and I'm sorry I did it.

    Kenny
  • Matt BattleMatt Battle Posts: 172
    edited 2005-12-22 - 04:33:46
    Hello everybody. This is my first post even though like most I have been following the threads on here for a few months now. I just have three questions; the first two are for Ken or anybody at Parallax and the last one is for anybody who can answer it. Do you guys at Parallax make your own PCB or do you guys have a company out of house that makes them for you. Second do you solder your own boards or out of house them because of the time it takes to solder surface mounted components? The last question is about the HM55B. I have Google for it and pretty much came up with the compass module and was just wondering if you can buy the HM55B either as a DIP or SMD by itself? Thank you guys and have a good day.
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-12-22 - 05:53:28
    Matt,

    We send our PCB files out for manufacturing. For prototype PCBs, our engineers like APCircuits. For production quantities,·PCBs·could be one of four to five places depending on the requirements. For example, the Altera boards are quite detailed and·include graphic design so we couldn't send them just anywhere. RoHS requirements have also narrowed our selection a bit as well. Some of the smaller PCB companies·don't offer the kind of plating we need for lead-free assembly.

    You'll be surprised about the answer to your second question. All BASIC Stamps and core SMD products are made·at our own manufacturing facility in·our·Rocklin office.·These are not done with wave soldering equipment, but with a stencil, solder paste, Pick·and Place machine and reflow oven. We can build high-quantity SMD products fairly efficiently in our office. Through-hole·wave-soldered products are sent out for manufacturing. The high·cost of·labor in California (and the U.S.)·necessitates much of our through-hole production·be done in Asia·or·local fabrication houses.

    There is one exception to the through-hole stuff. For very low-volume products we'll build them in house. But we are not soldering them by hand - we use a dipping machine which holds 20-25 boards at a time.

    All of our SMD prototypes·are also hand-built in Parallax, by the same staff who runs the·equipment to build the BASIC Stamps.

    The HM55B compass is only available in a module format through Parallax. Although we have the descrete sensor, Hitachi has requested we don't sell it alone. You can request sample quantities of the HM55B compass through Hitachi Metals America. This requirement (it's silly, I know) lets them track the designs really closely.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.
  • Matt BattleMatt Battle Posts: 172
    edited 2005-12-22 - 06:14:45
    Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...

    Matt,

    We send our PCB files out for manufacturing. For prototype PCBs, our engineers like APCircuits. For production quantities, PCBs could be one of four to five places depending on the requirements. For example, the Altera boards are quite detailed and include graphic design so we couldn't send them just anywhere. RoHS requirements have also narrowed our selection a bit as well. Some of the smaller PCB companies don't offer the kind of plating we need for lead-free assembly.


    You'll be surprised about the answer to your second question. All BASIC Stamps and core SMD products are made at our own manufacturing facility in our Rocklin office. These are not done with wave soldering equipment, but with a stencil, solder paste, Pick and Place machine and reflow oven. We can build high-quantity SMD products fairly efficiently in our office. Through-hole wave-soldered products are sent out for manufacturing. The high cost of labor in California (and the U.S.) necessitates much of our through-hole production be done in Asia or local fabrication houses.


    There is one exception to the through-hole stuff. For very low-volume products we'll build them in house. But we are not soldering them by hand - we use a dipping machine which holds 20-25 boards at a time.


    All of our SMD prototypes are also hand-built in Parallax, by the same staff who runs the equipment to build the BASIC Stamps.


    The HM55B compass is only available in a module format through Parallax. Although we have the descrete sensor, Hitachi has requested we don't sell it alone. You can request sample quantities of the HM55B compass through Hitachi Metals America. This requirement (it's silly, I know) lets them track the designs really closely.


    Sincerely,


    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.

    Thanks Ken for your answers to my questions. It is silly for Hitachi to request a thing like that but when space is limited it would be nice to be able to place the HM55B on the same board as you have done with your Penguin and not have a module that the chip comes on to deal. I do like how the module can be place on a breadboard for prototyping that is a plus. Thanks again Ken.

    -Matt
  • SpencerSpencer Posts: 17
    edited 2006-01-05 - 02:06:05
    Ken,

    I was just curious to know if you could get any more specific than Q1 2006 for the Penguin's release. Any more detailed
    information, inluding projected cost, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2006-01-05 - 19:03:47
    How about this:

    Q1 - meaning sometime between Jan 1, 2006 and August 1, 2006.· This is just an estimate, as this is a "non-revenue" project, and if time does not permit,·Parallax may miss the August 1 date.

    Projected cost is somewhere between $200.00 and $500.00.· There are one or two components that haven't been fully "tweaked", and as a result, the price could jump up to $5,000.00·or so at the high end.· As this is primarily being done as a "reward" for some of the Parallax distributors, if the price gets much higher than that,·Parallax will·have to scrap the project.
    Spencer said...
    Ken,

    I was just curious to know if you could get any more specific than Q1 2006 for the Penguin's release. Any more detailed
    information, inluding projected cost, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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    John R.

    8 + 8 = 10

    Post Edited (John R.) : 1/5/2006 9:37:24 PM GMT
  • Super DSuper D Posts: 1
    edited 2006-01-08 - 20:35:43
    I would like to have a penguin and am waiting eagerly for it smile.gif

    if for some reason the costs go above $300 or the project gets scrapped, would the PCB files be available for us to go and have produced ? or a schematic be made available ?
  • bobledouxbobledoux Posts: 187
    edited 2006-01-14 - 16:21:41
    Did Recent Research on "Passive Walking" Contribute to Penguin?

    Over a number of years there has been research on passive walking mechanisms. Some of these go back a long time to some primative toys.

    Here is a recent bit work work performed by Dr. Tedrake at the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT:

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/russt/publications/icra04.pdf

    I'm curious whether this work influenced the Penguin design.

    Is Parallax attempting to utilize these techniques for further robotic development?
  • PLJackPLJack Posts: 398
    edited 2006-01-15 - 04:59:18
    bobledoux said...

    Here is a recent bit work work performed by Dr. Tedrake at the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT:

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/russt/publications/icra04.pdf


    Its amazing how much math a simple walk can produce. confused.gif

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    - - - PLJack - - -



    Perfection in design is not achieved when there is nothing left to add.
    It is achieved when there is nothing left to take away.
  • bobledouxbobledoux Posts: 187
    edited 2006-01-15 - 14:31:50
    I took calculus and differential equations 36 years ago. My career choices didn't require me to keep my skills up. Now, into robotics, I wish I could do a better job of studying some of these ivory tower tomes.

    Even the "Stamps in Class" curriculum, aimed at high school students, often references these high math skills. A good example is the section on PID control techniques--Proportional, Integral, Differential.
  • hutdonhutdon Posts: 32
    edited 2006-01-15 - 18:02:10
    bobledoux, this probably is OT but I couldn't help. I'm 54 and like you I took calc a ong time ago and didn't use any of it for a long time. Anyway the company I work for started a program with one of our in-state colleges to develop on-line classes for it's employees. One of the classed offered was call Tech Math II, which I had in college 35 years ago and was the technical version of calc I. I signed up for it and found that a few things had changed and now Tech Math II was more like college algebra and trig. The thing was it really turned out to be the best thing I could have done - I had forgotten so much that it was just what I needed BEFORE taking a calc class. Just thought I'd pass this on to you or anyone else like me or bobledoux that get the opportunity to take a math class over again after an 'extended' period of time. - Don
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2006-01-17 - 15:52:27
    I have a Toddler, which walks with the same principles as the Penguin and I must say that Calculus is really not an issue. Yes, the PID control techniques use it, but they are a closed loop feedback which is unlike the servo mechanism of the Penguins.

    Above all, don't get hung up in 'higher mathematics' when dealing with microcontrollers. They really don't require it and in many cases the 'higher mathematics' has been avoided via data lookup tables and simplification to within the limited range of information you need.

    On the other hand, automata or state machines will help a great deal and good fundamental logical thinking and sequencing are required. These robots will clear a lot of cobwebs from the mind as they love simplification.

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    "When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.' - Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)

    ······································································ Warm regards,····· G. Herzog [noparse][[/noparse]·黃鶴 ]·in Taiwan
  • bobledouxbobledoux Posts: 187
    edited 2006-01-17 - 19:34:12
    I was looking at the mathematics used to explain passive walking at

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/russt/publications/icra04.pdf

    That requires some advanced math to follow the discussion. I've found that the math tools can be powerful in generating applications that can then be realized with micro controllers. PID is a good example. Balancing robots, like Segway are another example.
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2006-01-18 - 15:43:29
    Newton changed the world with Calculus and his observations about gravity. I do understand that many people really enjoy applying it. Most of what we live with in terms of modern conviences come from the application of Newton's knowledge at least in some small way.

    On the other hand, microprocessors are a binary world and there really are no curves in there nature. They exponentiate via powers of two. Through their speed and accuracy and with 'memory' they manage to create a simulation of such.

    So, the same activity is express from two quite different mathmatical points of view.

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    "When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.' - Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)

    ······································································ Warm regards,····· G. Herzog [noparse][[/noparse]·黃鶴 ]·in Taiwan
  • Steve JoblinSteve Joblin Posts: 784
    edited 2006-01-25 - 18:46:56
    Interesting article abou walking like a penguin... http://robots.net/article/1789.html
  • Dakota99Dakota99 Posts: 24
    edited 2006-01-31 - 03:23:25
    Hi, I just wanted to see if theres been any updates on this item as to when it might be released? Been saving up for it cuz i know it will sell out easily with all of us tinkers. :-D
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