Robots category

CTRL, The Industrial Robot On Your Desktop

CTRL the robot is a desktop-sized robot arm that can do a lot! It enables your computer to perform manipulation of real objects via software and gives you access to technology that has been locked away in large corporations factories.

Check this video to see the amazing features of CTRL.

CTRL was launched on a Kickstarter campaign that unfortunately didn’t reach its goal of AU$ 215,000. The early bird product was sold for AU$ 699 (~ $540) and you were able to get two robots for AU$ 1598 (~ $1230).This robot arm is a fraction of the price of similar robots you might see in factories. It was developed by Robotics Evolved to be an affordable robot arm.

Unveiled at CES 2017, this desktop-sized robot arm aims to make robotics more accessible to the masses. The device is open-source and can be run on the programming language of the user’s choosing.  For those unfamiliar with code, CTRL can also learn to replicate movements when manipulated by hand.It ships with example applications with source code and ‘Motion CTRL Studio’ software to easily run diagnostics, visualise movements and script interactively.

CTRL is equipped with a gripping tool but the company plans to expand attachment offerings to include options like spray nozzles and engraving tools. Also in the box is a gripping tool, with a range of interchangeable arm tools to follow including suction pads, spray nozzles, laser engraving tools and more. The team has also made this technology open-source, themechanical, electronic and firmware source, so users can invent their own tools and 3D print them.

With a full range of movement through 6 axis articulation, CTRL the Robot can lift and carry with incredible precision. It uses specially designed brushless servo motors for smooth motion. Even though it roughly stands at the height of a piece of A4 paper, it can reach as far as a human arm and carry up to 1.7 pounds (750 grams). The team used a custom cycloid gearbox design with a pass-through encoder that was conceived, designed and prototyped. The gearbox is highly efficient and can be back driven. It has multiple contact points and offers zero backlash.

Robotics Evolved was seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign and maybe they should now find another way to bring this product to life again. You can sign up on their newsletter to keep updated with the next steps for CTRL!

Sources: Yahoo Finance, Kickstarter Campaign

XPlotter, The All-In-One Plotter, Engraver and Laser Cutter

XPlotter is an affordable and easy to use desktop plotter, Laser cutter and engraver. It is designed to create a new definition of plotter. By integrating the laser engraver and cutter into the mechanism, it becomes a versatile desktop tool for artists, craftsmen and makers to set their imagination free.

The all-in-one machine can simulate real effects of handmade drawing and writing, can cut out and laser engrave on different materials. In addition, it has the capability to pick and place objects perfectly!

This machine is now live on Kickstarter, check out the video campaign to see XPlotter in action:

 

The writing of XPlotter is outstandingly similar to the real hand writing thanks to the angle of writing and the programmed process. Now you can do your paperwork or write your homework as neat as possible. Also you have the option to choose from a variety of fonts and pens! Drawing outputs also look so real because of demonstrating shadows and tiny tiny details.

A wide range of materials like paper, leather, fabric, cloth, and cardboard are able to be engraved by the laser engraver feature of XPlotter. Short time is needed to engrave your artworks due to the powerful laser equipped with the machine. Safety goggles are included too for making sure that users cope with laser safely.

This personal robot that is dedicated to write, draw and engrave for you has no limits. XPlotter team made a built-in vacuum pump system to enable XPlotter to pick and place at a high speed and features a precision within 0.012mm. It only takes you a few minutes to change the end effector into a vacuum suction cup, which is powerful enough to grab spherical items.

Amazingly, the team behind XPlotter has open-sourced the operation interface to welcome more applications made by users through the secondary development.

In short, these are the specifications of this amazing tool!

Check out this comparison between XPlotter and its alternatives.

The retail price will be around $500 but now you have the chance to get the basic XPlotter via the crowdfunding campaign for only $349. The full kit including engraving and pick and place is priced $529, where the final retail after Kickstarter will be $629. This campaign still has 52 days to go, you can check the campaign page now and choose your reward.

More videos of XPlotter in action can be found at this Youtube profile and the official website.

Dobot M1, All-in-One Multifunctional Robotic Arm

Shenzhen Yuejiang Technology Co. Ltd (“Yuejiang”) is a leading robot arm solution provider in China. Yuejiang is established in July 2015 in Shenzhen, China by 5 dedicated robotics engineers with the mission of facilitating the development and upgrading of the industrial robotic arms solutions in China and continuously developing the extensive applications in this arena. Yuejiang’s newest product is Dobot M1!

Dobot M1 is an all-in-one industrial robotic arm based on SCARA, with many interchangeable heads to 3D print, laser engrave, solder and pick & place unlimited applications. It also has computer vision ability.

Check this video featuring the amazing capabilities of Dobot M1:

Dobot M1 is the second edition of Dobot 1.0. Dobot 1.0 featured 7 different ways of controlling a robotic arm, including mouse control, vision control, EEG control, mobile APP, Leap motion control and gesture control, that was targeting makers as a new way of personal fabrication. Dobot 1.0 Kickstarter campaign raised an incredible $615,000, shattering a goal of only $36,000, Now Dobot M1 is extending its audience to the education, self-employers and factories sectors providing them an enhanced edition of the multifunctional arm.

Dobot M1 comes to solve the problem that industrial robot arms with such specifications are usually very expensive. Providing Dobot M1 with a price around $2000 will change the manufacturing equation forever. Dobot M1 will be the greatest tool to be added to your working space to try some light manufacturing professionally.

The toolheads included with the arm give multiple choices of operation, whether a 3D printer, gripper hand, laser engraver and 4th axis attachment. Once, it is a 3D printer with 400mm radius and 200mm height printing area itself, and you can extend this printing area with a 1m long trail. Then it is a laser engraver that line engrave and shade engrave your favorite symbols and pictures precisely thanks to the PWM laser it uses.

Attaching it with a camera, you are giving Dobot M1 eyes to process the mission given. It has integrated visual API that can be simply work with OpenCV or your own visual system. It also can be a precise pick and place machine, can do two things at the same time with the dual arm operation feature and can move around!

Dobot M1 support Bluetooth and WiFi, you can connect more than one Dobot together to function simultaneously with the same of multi functions. You can also control them using a mobile app. No need to worry about bein an expert to cope with Dobot M1, you can program it with a visual and easy programming language, and furthermore you can teach it the moves you want it to do with handhold teaching and then it will mimic them. These are the full specification of Dobot M1.

What makes Dobot M1 special is its expandability, it has a standardized head tool port, protocol, API, SDK, and extension ports. It is also considered affordable in comparison with its competitors.

“One simple fact: an industrial SCARA type robotic arm prices between $10,000 and $20,000, two-year payback period. For many small businesses constantly adjusting their production technique, this is too much to afford, not to mention those creative individuals who want a professional making machine. With less than $2,000, and 3 months of payback period, Dobot M1 is here to fill the missing puzzle. With more functions and features, Dobot M1 is able to integrate in more steps of production, helping you save more budget.”

Dobot M1 is now live on a Kickstarter campaign and it only has 3 days to go! Hurry up and pre-order an amazing addition to your fablab or co-working space. You can get the standard kit with two toolheads of your choice with around $1600. It will be a nice automated all-in-one tool for hardware startups that are wasting time and money on different tools and materials doing most of the work by themselves.

For more details about Dobot M1 check the official website and the crowdfunding campaign page.

Program a mBot With Scratch And Arduino

Makeblock was founded in 2012 in Shenzhen as the world’s first open-source robot and programing platform. With more than 400 mechanical components, electronic modules, and software tools, the company is determined to bring meaningful STEM education opportunities and the maker mindset to the mass consumer market to make a real difference in society’s future with robotics.

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Makerblock has a variety of products and one great product is mBot, a robot better fit education and home use. It is simple to use and affordable, you can get mBot for $24 or with bluetooth for $99.

The mBot is designed especially for mBlock Scratch-based language to help teachers and kids to have hands-on experience about robots and explore STEM education.

 

World’s very first Scratch 2.0 branch that can upload a program into Arduino based boards
World’s very first Scratch 2.0 branch that can upload a program into Arduino based boards
mBot overview

Makeblock keeps delivering tutorials about its products and the recent one was a line follower mBot on Insructables.

To do this project you need the following tools

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Mechanical part list
  • 1*Metal Base Plate
  • 2*TT Gear Motor
  • 2*Wheel
  • 2*Tyre
  • 1*Plastic Universal Wheel
  • 1*Magic Tape 20*30mm
  • 6*Brass Stud M4*25
  • 14*Socket Cap Screw M4*8
  • 6*Nut M4
  • 4*Nut M3
  • 4*Philip’s Head Screw M3*25
  • 2*Tapping Screw M2.2*9.5

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Electronic Modules List

You only have to put each element in the right place and to tighten some screws. The image below shows how to assemble the pieces together.

mbot

The mBlock is a customized version of scratch. It is easy to use mBlock to interact with electronic modules. To make the project works, you should first program the Control Board (Compatible with Arduino) using this code of mBlock.

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You can also program it using Arduino IDE since it makes it easy to write code, upload it to the I/O board, and interact with mBot. Line following is one simple code for controlling the mBot by Infrared Controller.

#include "mBot.h"
#include "MePort.h"
#include "MeIR.h"
#include "MeDCMotor.h"

MeBoard myBoard(mBot);
double angle_rad = PI/180.0;
double angle_deg = 180.0/PI;
MeIR ir;
MeDCMotor motor_9((MEPORT)9);
MeDCMotor motor_10((MEPORT)10);

void setup() {
 ir.begin();
}

void loop() {
 if(ir.keyPressed(64)){
  motor_9.run(255);
  motor_10.run(255);
 } else {
  if(ir.keyPressed(25)){
   motor_9.run(-255);
   motor_10.run(-255);
  } else {
   if(ir.keyPressed(7)){
    motor_9.run(255);
    motor_10.run(-255);
   } else {
    if(ir.keyPressed(25)){
     motor_9.run(-255);
     motor_10.run(255);
    } else {
     motor_9.run(0);
     motor_10.run(0);
    }
   }
  }
 }
 ir.loop();
}

You can learn more about using Arduino for mBot here.

This is what should mBot do!

You can build your own adventure, play some games or make some functions completed autonomously using mBot, such as playing football, ultrasonic obstacle-avoiding and following line. Makeblock is opening wide doors for innovation by making STEM and hands-on experience available for kids.

A new product from MakerBlock is now live on Kickstarter. AirBlock, the first modular drone that can be turned into a hovercraft, car, and more. You can order this drone from the project’s page for $99.

More details and updates can be reached at the official website. Also you can access codes and source files at Github.

Controlling A Robotic Arm By Gestures Using Kinect Sensor & Arduino

B.Avinash and J.Karthikeyan had developed a robotic arm that mimic their moves using a Kinect sensor with MATLAB Simulink and an Arduino. The arm was built based on servo motors that replicate the right arm shoulder, elbow and hand movements.

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ic568992The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar of motion sensing input devices which enable users to control and interact with their computers through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands.

The sensor consists of a RGB camera, depth sensor, and multi-array microphone running proprietary software. It provides full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition capabilities.

MATLAB Simulink is a graphical programming environment for modeling, simulating and analyzing multidomain dynamic systems. It supports simulation, automatic code generation, and continuous test and verification of embedded systems.

Simulink is developed by Mathworks, and it offers integration with MATLAB environment, enabling developers to incorporate MATLAB algorithms into models and export simulation results for further analysis. Simulink is widely used in automatic control and digital signal processing for multidomain simulation and Model-Based Design.

To build a similar gesture-controlled arm you need these components:

Thanks to Simulink support for Kinect, the computer collects data from the connected kinect device and translates them into servo angles in MATLAB. These angles are sent to the servos through the arduino via TTL device, resulting movement of the arm with a slight delay.

TTL - Arduino & Arduino - Servo Connection Schematic
TTL – Arduino & Arduino – Servo Connection Schematic
Simulink Model
Simulink Model

This project has been chosen in the week’s (29/10/2016) Pick of the Week during Matlab Simulink Hardware Challenge 2016, and it also had won the 4th place in “MATLAB International Simulink Hardware Challenge 2016“.

Arduino code, other files and resources are reachable at this instructable and this hackster.io page.

Nanobots Fight Cancerous Cells

Researchers from Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal and McGill University have just achieved a spectacular breakthrough in cancer research. They have developed new nanorobotic agents capable of navigating through the bloodstream to administer a drug with precision.

Professor Sylvain Martel is holder of the Canada Research Chair in Medical Nanorobotics and the Director of the nanorobotics laboratory at Polytechnique Montreal, where he studies medical applications of nanotechnology. Martel and his team have demonstrated major progress with a new technology that could revolutionize cancer treatment by using guided micro-transporters to deliver drugs. Thus cancerous cells can be locally targeted and then stop their growth.

new_version-b-low

This breakthrough in cancer-fighting research would ditch chemotherapy for nanorobots that fight cancer inside the human body. This research was published in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology in an article titled “Magneto-aerotactic bacteria deliver drug-containing nanoliposomes to tumour hypoxic regions.” The article notes the results of the research done on mice, which were successfully administered nanorobotic agents into colorectal tumours.

“These legions of nanorobotic agents were actually composed of more than 100 million flagellated bacteria — and therefore self-propelled — and loaded with drugs that moved by taking the most direct path between the drug’s injection point and the area of the body to cure,” explains Professor Martel “The drug’s propelling force was enough to travel efficiently and enter deep inside the tumours.”

When they enter a tumour, the nanorobotic agents can detect in a wholly autonomous fashion the oxygen-depleted tumour areas, known as hypoxic zones, and deliver the drug to them. This hypoxic zone is created by the substantial consumption of oxygen by rapidly proliferative tumour cells. Hypoxic zones are known to be resistant to most therapies, including radiotherapy. But gaining access to tumours by taking paths as minute as a red blood cell and crossing complex physiological micro-environments does not come without challenges. So Professor Martel and his team used nanotechnology to do it.

Scanning electron microscopy images of unloaded Magneto-aerotactic(MC-1) bacteria (Left) and when loading it with the drug (right)
Scanning electron microscopy images of unloaded Magneto-aerotactic(MC-1) bacteria (Left) and when loading it with the drug (right)

To move around, bacteria used by Professor Martel’s team rely on two natural systems; a kind of compass created by the synthesis of a chain of magnetic nanoparticles allows them to move in the direction of a magnetic field, while a sensor measuring oxygen concentration enables them to reach and remain in the tumour active regions. By harnessing these two transportation systems and by exposing the bacteria to a computer-controlled magnetic field, researchers showed that these bacteria could perfectly replicate artificial nanorobots of the future designed for this kind of task.

“These results represent a novel therapeutic avenue for patients with hard-to-treat cancers, once the approach has been validated in human trials,” says co-author Nicole Beauchemin, a professor of Biochemistry, Medicine and Oncology at McGill and researcher at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre.

An interview with Professor Martel with RT America to explain how the nanorobots are better at targeting cancer cells than current cancer treatments.

This work was supported by many research centers and consortiums in Canada such as the Consortium québécois sur la découverte du médicament (Québec consortium for drug discovery – CQDM), the Canada Research Chairs, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Research Chair in Nanorobotics of Polytechnique Montréal.

To overcome some limitations of the previous approach, professor Martel has been leading a new research that uses the Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm to increase the number of dimensions in the search space and to optimize targeting cancer cells in blood. This research took part at 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems recently on October.

Besides replacing the toxic chemotherapy that has plenty of harmful side effects on the entire human body, this research will not only open doors for new inventions and applications, but it also will pave the way for inventing new medical, imaging and diagnostic agents.

You can find more details, videos and photos in this media kit from Université de Montréal. You can also check this TEDx talk by Professor Martel about using nanotechnology in healing cancer.

Deltu, An Interactive Delta Robot

Robots intelligence is going beyond borders and it may outsmart humans in some common games. Right now, these robots have their own personalities and if you are not skilled enough, they might get upset with you!

The interactive Delta three-arm robot, Deltu, is able to interact with humans. This Interactive design consists of 3 arms, an Arduino mind, a ‘personality’, and two iPads that run Unity3d applications. A HTTP request is send to the computer by the human’s application and then a Python server sends strings and commands to Arduino for controlling the robot.

deltudeltu

Deltu uses three different applications using symmetry as an interpretation, a mirror and a reflection of our own image. The first game “Together” is a drawing game where Deltu imitates and interprets what we draw. The second one is a battle between the machine and the human. And the final third one is a memory game where the human must learn from the robot. These games were designed to emphasize the special relationship with robots and its evolution.

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Deltu uses two iPads to play mimicking games with a human opponent. This sounds amazing – until you know that Deltu is very demanding. Once the opponent makes a mistake, it may stop and take selfies or browse apps. The robot creates patterns by pressing particular tiles on an iPad. If the movements are not mimed precisely, it will shake its adjoined arms in a side-to-side motion that appears to simulate frustration. Then, the robot exits the game and opens the camera app instead.It snaps a few photos of itself and uploads these to Instagram. It even takes a few moments to browse the Explore section and follow a new account, and looks through SoundCloud.

To understand how the robot would work, check it in action

According to the creators, the project explores the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence, as the role of these systems in society has not yet been defined.

This relationship is not only making our performance better, also it may become a source of learning. Currently, this project only supports iOS and works on iPads.

Deltu Interactive designer, Alexia Léchot, had also created other interactive games during her graduate study in ECAL – University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Via : Arduino Blog

Building A Quadcopter For Newbie

Drones are one of the rising technologies in the world and it became very popular that we see it in news on places that have armed conflicts, aerial photography like GoPro drones and even for customer care like the Prime Air delivery system from Amazon which is designed to get packages to customers using small unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones).

If this is the first time to read about how to build a quadcopter, then this post is for you. Boris Landoni from OpenElectronics made a detailed how-to tutorial on how to build a quadcopter in two parts.

quadcopter

As the name implies, the quadcopter has four propellers and to control them we need a lot of electronics parts and with no doubt a control board. The control board which Boris Landoni build is based on Arduino Mega and manages the engines of the drone with up to eight outputs, receives commands from a remote controller and supports the telemetry function via smartphone using HC-05 Bluetooth module.

mainboardquad

GY-86 flight control sensor module is used on top of main board (the small blue board) which combines MPU-6050 (3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope), a digital 3-axis compass HMC5883L form Honeywell and the pressure sensor MS5611 MEAS.

Boris talked about the firmware that could be used to control the main board, but chose MultiWii firmware which is a general purpose software to control a multirotor RC model.

MultiWii Configuration GUI - Image Source eng.ucsd.edu
MultiWii Configuration GUI – Image Source eng.ucsd.edu

He used six-channel remote control operating on the 2.4 Ghz frequency. Each channel controls one surface or component in the quadcopter.

tablercchannels

flightglossary

 Main Board Assembled on the Frame and Connected with RC Receiver (the black box in the left of the main board)
Main Board Assembled on the Frame and Connected with RC Receiver (the black box in the left of the main board)

You can do both the telemetry and the control via Bluetooth from your smartphone using EZ-GUI Android application, which is a Ground Control Station (GCS) for UAVs based on MultiWii and Cleanflight.

ez-gui

Boris talked about PID parameters calibration, a control loop feedback mechanism used to control systems. He shared an interesting video showing how changing these values changes the behavior of the quadcopter.

 

The full assembly instructions and other important notes by Boris are found in the two part how-to tutorial: Part1Part2.

Bill of Material
Bill of Material

Drone The Quadcopter

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Sameer Gupta tipped us with his latest project, a DIY Quadcopter:

“Drone The Quadcopter” is an featured UAV. I design my project with F450 arm in X-mode design. The full operation takes place via a Flysky FSCT6 remote control unit which gives a better operating range of 800 Meter to 1.2KM.

Drone The Quadcopter – [Link]

DIY Mini Quadcopter with 3D-Printed Frame and Custom Firmware

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Simon D. Levy designed and build a mini quadcopter with 3D printed frame and custom C++ firmware. See the full project notes including bill of materials and more photos on the link below, and check out Simon’s blog on the C++ firmware here.

I wanted to try my hand at a true “DIY” project, designing and building my own micro quadcotper frame and writing my own firmware in C++.  In this post I will describe the frame and build; in my next post I will talk about the firmware.

DIY Mini Quadcopter with 3D-Printed Frame and Custom Firmware – [Link]