Penguin Robots: a Parallax mini R&D project

Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
edited 2006-01-31 - 03:23:25 in Robotics
Hello Robo-heads,

This is a picture of a couple of prototype "Penguins" made here at Parallax. Same concept as the Toddler but more advanced. These robots stand 3.5" tall and have the following features:
  • BASIC Stamp 2px chipset
  • Hitachi HM55B digital compass
  • Mini blue seven-segment LED for Penguin ID in group behaviour (or for program number)
  • Two photoresistors in R/C circuits
  • Two infrared emitters and a detector for near-field objects
  • 3-pin socket for Ping)))
  • Speaker within the body, on the back of the battery PCB
  • CR123 camera batteries for 6V power supply
  • Pushbutton for reset

The robots are CNC machined from AL6061 and use GWS micro servos. The stride linkage (moves the legs foreward and backward) attached to the servo horn is a broached Delrin rod turned on a lathe. These robots walk very well and precisely compared to their larger counterparts.·They're part of·ongoing R&D·at·Parallax and will now be used to test a·future wireless programming/network interface. There are no formal plans to make them as a product at the·moment.

·attachment.php?attachmentid=37837

Sincerely,

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.
«13

Comments

  • Ryan ClarkeRyan Clarke Posts: 738
    edited 2005-05-21 - 06:30:15
    So, um, is there any way to get an 'unsupported' copy of one of these kits? [noparse]:)[/noparse]

    Ryan
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited 2005-05-21 - 10:26:21
    Yeah...

    Is there any way one of those could accidentally fall into a box adressed to me in Norway?

    smile.gif

    You know, teasing us like that is not nice. Not nice at all...
  • ForrestForrest Posts: 1,341
    edited 2005-05-21 - 12:12:31
    I'd like to see a video of those robots in action. Judging from the pictures, it appear the ends of the feet would flap up and down but not produce any forward motion.
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2005-05-21 - 12:32:13
    What you may be missing, Forrest, is a second servo that is under the belly of the Penguin that pulls the legs forward and back for locomotion. I have seen video and these little dudes go like gangbusters.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
    Dallas, TX· USA
  • ForrestForrest Posts: 1,341
    edited 2005-05-21 - 13:06:56
    Ah - it makes a lot more sense now.
  • pcrobotpcrobot Posts: 103
    edited 2005-05-21 - 13:29:23
    They look cool. But, is there any way you guys at Parallax could post a video or two?
    It would be nice. wink.gif

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    Robotics
    ro-bot-ics (noun)
    the science or technology of robots, their design, manufacture, application, use, etc.
  • kb2hapkb2hap Posts: 218
    edited 2005-05-21 - 14:19:02
    Wow! Those are neat little robots!
    Nice custom board, and machined parts.
    Ken always has his mind going on those toddler style bots.

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    DTQ
  • Robert KubichekRobert Kubichek Posts: 343
    edited 2005-05-21 - 15:47:55
    Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
    Hello Robo-heads,


    This is a picture of a couple of prototype "Penguins" made here at Parallax. Same concept as the Toddler but more advanced. These robots stand 3.5" tall and have the following features:

    <UL>
    <LI>BASIC Stamp 2px chipset
    <LI>Hitachi HM55B digital compass
    <LI>Mini blue seven-segment LED for Penguin ID in group behaviour (or for program number)
    <LI>Two photoresistors in R/C circuits
    <LI>Two infrared emitters and a detector for near-field objects
    <LI>3-pin socket for Ping)))
    <LI>Speaker within the body, on the back of the battery PCB
    <LI>CR123 camera batteries for 6V power supply
    * Pushbutton for reset
    </UL>
    The robots are CNC machined from AL6061 and use GWS micro servos. The stride linkage (moves the legs foreward and backward) attached to the servo horn is a broached Delrin rod turned on a lathe. These robots walk very well and precisely compared to their larger counterparts. They're part of ongoing R&D at Parallax and will now be used to test a future wireless programming/network interface. There are no formal plans to make them as a product at the moment.

    attachment.php?attachmentid=37837

    Sincerely,

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.


    Geez, thats not fair, I'd love to test em for you!!

    smilewinkgrin.gif



    Bob N9LVU scool.gif
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-05-21 - 16:43:58
    Kb2hap:

    You're right. I've been living and breathing two-servo Toddler-style robots for a good seven years now. In fact, for a good period of time this winter I would go to sleep thinking about how to design a particular part and wake up with a pretty good solution. After this robot walked off the CNC machine I thought it would be time that I finally expand my robotics interest (duh) to something different. But I feel this robot mastered two-servo walking, and I couldn't put the darned thing to rest until I got close to perfect mechanics. There's only minimal friction and almost no slop. It will outrun a Toddler but didn't fare well in a Boe-Bot race yesterday.

    Even though it walks really well and the PCB design is nearly perfect, I still see room for mechanical improvements.

    Electronic control system is perfect so far, but the HM55B compass isn't working as expected. Can you guess why?

    And I will get some videos posted, maybe later today. It's Saturday morning and we planned on cleaning the house a bit.

    We could put them into production, but CNC parts are not cheap. I like things to be affordable to our customers and this is not. This would have to be some kind of Parallax collector's edition robot.

    Wait till you see them walk - they look like some kind of backpack-toting robo-Penguins with ski poles on their way to the Arctic circle (via Gadgetman's house of course).

    Ken
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited 2005-05-21 - 16:57:57
    Make certain they're able to swim...

    It's easier to ski from Alaska or Canada to the North pole than from Norway....
    smile.gif

    It wouldn't be posssible to replace the CNC parts with stamped metal and cast plastic pieces?
    (I know it wouldn't look just as nice, but... )

    Besides, I think I deserve to get ahold of one of those as I've worked with penguins before...
    (All right, Penguin Mark III air to surface missiles.)

    The compass is probably tricked because of all the metal so close to it.
  • ForrestForrest Posts: 1,341
    edited 2005-05-21 - 17:57:51
    You could make those machined parts out of FR-4 (printed circuit board) laminate. FR-4 is commonly available in thicknesses of .031, .062, .093 and .120 inch. I think the .093 or .120 inch thick laminate would work great. Add soldermask (red, green, blue or black) and you'd be set. FR-4 will not interfere with the electronic compass. Prices are comparable to printed circuit boards of the same size. Contact your favorite printed circuit board manufacturer for more info. You can contact me if you need some sources. The printed circuit board manufacturer just needs a gerber file showing the outline of the part and a drill file with hole locations.

    I'll be happy to beta-test those robots! cool.gif

    Post Edited (Forrest) : 5/21/2005 6:00:17 PM GMT
  • Ryan ClarkeRyan Clarke Posts: 738
    edited 2005-05-21 - 18:35:39
    Ken, could we pay for a kit without the CNC parts, that had the plans for them? Even if it was a limited edition kit, as long as it wasn't *astronomically* too expensive I'd be interested in one (maybe a limited run?)

    My wife's Dad is an engineer who works with metals- he made the base that the "David" statue sits on, it is earthquake proof- but maybe we could have our own parts fabbed....just a thought....



    Ryan
  • LarryLarry Posts: 212
    edited 2005-05-21 - 21:29:51
    Greqat robot, Ken,

    Have you seen John Olson's Pocket walker? It scoots around pretty well also.

    http://forums.parallax.com/forums/default.aspx?f=10&p=1&m=74498#m74545

    Larry

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  • LarryLarry Posts: 212
    edited 2005-05-21 - 21:32:50
    Argh!

    wrong URL

    http://www.pdxbot.org/gallery/pdxbot04/IMG_6500

    Larry

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  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-05-22 - 00:24:43
  • Ryan ClarkeRyan Clarke Posts: 738
    edited 2005-05-22 - 02:16:46
    Excellent!

    Ryan
  • pcrobotpcrobot Posts: 103
    edited 2005-05-23 - 01:43:49
    Cool videos! Those penguins look awesome! smilewinkgrin.gif
    Also, Ken has another, shorter video clip on his site; at:

    http://www.kengracey.com/penguin_walker.asp

    Go Parallax! jumpin.gif

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    Robotics
    ro-bot-ics (noun)
    the science or technology of robots, their design, manufacture, application, use, etc.
  • Tricky NekroTricky Nekro Posts: 218
    edited 2005-05-23 - 20:39:31
    Are they programable?

    I don't see any port on them???

    Probably it i under their legs, right?





    It's good to see all these two-legs-bots being able for us to buy but how about a four-legs one? Has a prototype ever been made and tested ,not only from Parallax??? Would it be difficult to program or balance it's weight? Is it the cost which make it unaffordable for most of the customers , sothing which I don't believe of course...



    Thank you for your time, Provas

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    -Rule your Destiny-
    --Be Good. Be Bad. Be Provas--
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited 2005-05-23 - 20:59:20
    Provas,

    ·· The 4 legged and 6 legged bots are available from Parallax at the following web page.· They are called the Quad-Crawler and the Hex-Crawler, respectively.

    http://www.parallax.com/html_pages/robotics/shop/robo_comparison.asp

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    Chris Savage
    Parallax Tech Support
    [url=mailto:csavage@parallax.com]csavage@parallax.com[/url]
  • pcrobotpcrobot Posts: 103
    edited 2005-05-23 - 23:35:55
    Yeah...how do you program them??
    On the video on Ken's site it shows a BASIC Stamp board (can't tell which one) wired to the penguin, as someone held it. (the BS board)
    That must be how... idea.gif

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    Robotics
    ro-bot-ics (noun)
    the science or technology of robots, their design, manufacture, application, use, etc.
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited 2005-05-24 - 02:12:56
    ·· The Quad-Crawler and Hex-Crawler each have a Board Of Education and BS2 Module on them.· There is also a Parallax Servo Controller.

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    Chris Savage
    Parallax Tech Support
    [url=mailto:csavage@parallax.com]csavage@parallax.com[/url]
  • Kevin B SlaterKevin B Slater Posts: 49
    edited 2005-05-24 - 04:00:26
    Chris,
    I think the question about programming was in reference to the PenguinBOTs and how they are programed.

    Kevin
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,893
    edited 2005-05-24 - 04:34:15
    I can clarify the questions about the Penguin.

    On these two robots:

    http://www.kengracey.com/download/SlowPenguin.wmv
    http://www.kengracey.com/download/FastPenguins.wmv

    the programming port is a 4-pin header underneath the battery pack, on the back. There is no DB-9 on this robot becuase it would be as big as the top PCB. Ultimately it will have a USB mini-B connector with an FTDI chip or a wireless programming interface.

    The other Penguin referenced by pcrobot in which a BS2/BOE is held above the Penguin's head is an earlier prototype. That Penguin never got a brain mounted on his body, so I held it above him as he walked along.

    John Olson's robot (Pocket Walker) was developed at the same time as Penguin, albeit much faster. John is a friend of mine and a big inspiration for any robotics hobbyist.

    By the way, the Penguin walked for about eight hours today in our office. It looks like CR123 batteries can last for a long time, making them more cost effective (in terms of milliamp hours) than AA or AAAs.

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.

    ·
  • noah44noah44 Posts: 21
    edited 2005-05-24 - 08:39:02
    Great design. I will be interested in purchasing one when they are available.
    Noah
  • Tricky NekroTricky Nekro Posts: 218
    edited 2005-05-24 - 11:22:01
    Well...

    I mean tall-legs...

    For example ,If you ever seen a Star Wars movie, something like the "walker" of the Emperium (The robot looking like an elephant)

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
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    --Be Good. Be Bad. Be Provas--
  • pcrobotpcrobot Posts: 103
    edited 2005-05-24 - 12:31:40
    Ok Ken, so that video was before you put in the BS2px chipset (which, I assume, means surface mounted on the PCB???) confused.gif
    Makes sense... wink.gif

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    Robotics
    ro-bot-ics (noun)
    the science or technology of robots, their design, manufacture, application, use, etc.
  • Buck RogersBuck Rogers Posts: 1,873
    edited 2005-05-24 - 16:52:29
    Hello from Buck Rogers
    Are you by chance thinking of the AT-ATs? They are clumsy, and ungainly. They do their job. But are very easy to bring down.

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    Buck Rogers

    www.gregg.levine.name
  • Tricky NekroTricky Nekro Posts: 218
    edited 2005-05-25 - 11:16:58
    Yes but they are stable and can carry quite a big load...cool.gif

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  • Zhao WangZhao Wang Posts: 4
    edited 2005-06-29 - 01:27:51
    Does it still need to be (highly frustratingly) tuned like the Toddler?
    Ken Gracey said...
    But I feel this robot mastered two-servo walking,

    Well, what about dynamic walking gaits? Is it possible with a two-servo walker? The Crawlers?
    In other words, can it run?

    BTW: By run I mean not having any feet on the ground during certain times of a stride.
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited 2005-06-29 - 02:03:46
    Hello,

    ·· The only robots I've seen that run (truly run) are the SONY bot, and the ASIMO, and I think they're in the millions of dollars in research.· Definately not a job for hobby servos.



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    Chris Savage
    Parallax Tech Support
    [url=mailto:csavage@parallax.com]csavage@parallax.com[/url]
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