Category Archives: Hexapods

hi 2016 (2 servo drawing robot arm, tripod gait 12 servo hexapod, visit to NASA, quadcopter tuning, etc.)

hm, haven’t updated in a while.

i built a lot of robots with parents over the winter break. i built a robot arm and refreshed on inverse kinematics; more specifically, make sure your servos are rotating as you expect: IK goes counterclockwise since angles increase that way, but your servos may increasing in a clockwise direction… a simple map(theta, 0, 180, 180, 0) will fix your problem if you catch it.

2016-01-01

processing takes in x,y coordinates drawn on the screen and spits them out to arduino over serial, which does the inverse kinematics and spits out the theta values to the servo

https://github.com/NarwhalEdu/CopyCat/blob/master/Code/basicsIK/basicsIK.ino

or for the one where it draws what you draw on the screen, https://gist.github.com/nouyang/b312b9ea5c67baa0c914

also tried to face.

it does not face well, in part i have derpy three year old code

face3

this processing code takes a lot of processing libraries. thresholds image, performs canny edge detection, then a walking algorithm (look at each black pixel by scanning image in x and y, see if neighbors are black as well, then walk along that pixel) to turn the edges into vectors. then output to robot, but robot is limited in resolution (arduino servo library) and cheap hobby servo overshoot.

below you can see preview in python.  (basic code, I basically copied the output from processing into a text file and  added some python code to that to plot the values)

is to check image is within the working envelope of the arm. IK is fixed with arm “up”.

face2

faceservo

problem of walking algorithm: adds a box around the image. irritating. need to rewrite code. looking into open cv.

i also rehashed my hexapod project with 12 servos and popsicle sticks

hexapod

basically this https://github.com/nouyang/18-servo-hexapod/blob/master/arduino_may13_2011.pde

but modified to work with the servo configuration on the rectangular robot, and added code to allow you to step through the gait with “j” and “k”: https://gist.github.com/nouyang/d9b6474e3ee412b9b05b

need to implement the other gaits; also, this moves so smoothly, envious, but they have lasercutter :3

worked on quad, now stuck at calibration stage 😡 because i have not built quad before, i could not push through this in a day or two unlike the drawing arm and hexapod.

quad

 

made from a sad clothes drying rack we took apart

 

 

 

transmittercable

we couldn’t find the original cable for the transmitter, so we connected the ports up with a FTDI -> USB cable as per http://psychoul.com/electronics/how-to-make-your-own-usb-cable-for-hk-t6a-calibration

zero

used http://www.sgr.info/usbradio/download.htm and calibrated my servos to zero… took a while to realize it *can* and *should* read the current values, guess my wires were loose, but the values because a lot easier to input. used the kk2 screen to fix some controls that were reversed from what the kk2 expected (left = left and not right, etc.). zeroed all the values on the kk2. turns out (minus the flipping controls) I could zero just as well on using the trim knobs on the controller itself.

went to visit NASA space museum in houston. they had little robot that made and served you froyo. adorable.

nasaicecream

also, some regal looking hexapods in the actual NASA workplace.

 

nasarobot

at MITERS I got a robot arm working with lots of help from MITERS / London Hackerspace / john from BUILDS. For robot arm competition. http://robotart.org/

i’m now robot art-ing. here is using Fengrave on a black and white image with appropriate offsets to produce gcode (well, limited to G0 and G1 commands)

fengrave

robotdrawing

face code still derp. (streaks are because i wrote gcode translator, and it goes to x,y,z position instead of x,y and then z). too many x,y points. draws slowly.

face

michael made crayon extruder (=metal tube + power resistor) and also pen mount. crayons = hard to control flow rate. started making square, then pooped out a lot of melted crayon. alas.

crayonextrusion

learned a lot of patience dealing with old manuals, 20 year old operating systems / controllers. main issue turned out to be a dumb calibration assumption (robot had arrows; should have ignored them and used indentations instead).

https://github.com/miters/gdmux gcode -> V+

also, i learned about oscilloscope rs232 decoder! had to invert to get it working properly (zeros are high in rs232?). scope ground, tx line. bam, now you can check whether you are actually transmitting all the carriage return and line feeds you need…

2016-01-13

currently: reading up on image processing. openCV. http://web.cs.ucdavis.edu/~ma/SIGGRAPH02/course23/notes/S02c23_3.pdf

terse update. more details available if questions exist.

many thanks to my parents for being excited and not jaded

boston winter 2015: it snowed a lot.

snopocalypse? snowmaggedon?

Jan 27 2015 snow
Jan 27 2015 snow

Here in Boston, it didn’t snow at all the last few months, and then suddenly it snowed a lot (90” over the last 30 days).

Here are some sweet graphs from http://weather.ou.edu/~splillo/misc.html

http://weather.ou.edu/~splillo/misc.html Samuel Lillo
Source: http://weather.ou.edu/~splillo/misc.html Samuel Lillo
BOS30snowp
Source: http://weather.ou.edu/~splillo/misc.html Samuel Lillo

On the plus side, I’ve now met my neighbors (since they’re outside shoveling for hours). At this point, we just throw the snow up as high as we can onto piles of snow. There’s nowhere to shovel to snow to…

20150211_030924
when the snowbanks are higher than you, where do you shovel snow to?

I’ve also made new friends and spent quality time with my roommates. We all co-work, since everyone is working from home because our city cannot handle the snow. *

20150209_185702

* I come from Georgia. My Boston friends were laughing last year about Atlanta shutting down due to a few inches of snow. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW HUH? 😛 My Alaskan friends tell me our Boston snowfall is normal for them, but their cities are built to handle it.

Here is a large icicle.

20150210_151307

It later fell and broke the railing/steps on our side-access porch. o__o Apparently, falling icicles do kill people. I’m glad no one died from our icicles.

Here are some more pictures of my poor bike. <3 bike, I will spend $$ and give you a professional tune-up after winter is over.

20150215_004425

Biking in boston is a struggle right now. The major streets are passable, but all the bike racks are very buried. For instance, at wework south station, they admonished me for locking to the railing I didn’t need to step in chest-high snow to reach. To add insult to injury, when I got out of work the railing was blocked anyway by trash bags. :/

bike at work on top of bike racks
bike at work on top of bike racks that are buried in snow

Here is my bike after the valentine’s weekend snowstorm. i left it overnight on top of a snowpile in order to lock it to something. When I left, I had a “where did I lock up?” moment. It was well-camouflaged.

20150216_202551

here are some pictures from my friends

mt. albany street snow farm

mt. mit, mt. simmons, mt. albany
back when it was “just” 3.5 stories tall.

mt. mit, mt. simmons, mt. albany, mt. cambridge, who knows

view from the top
view from the top

miters

There were some silly snow vehicles: fansled aka meloncraft, ebike-ski, and scooter-ski

For technical details / build reports, see

around the web

our mayor is flummoxed

Walsh: “I don’t know what to say to anybody anymore. Hopefully it will stop eventually”

Turns out the National Weather Service meteorologists are humans and not computers

“NEXT CHANCE OF WARMTH: SOMETIME SPRING INTO SUMMER:

Source: https://twitter.com/stannenb/status/566975835316690947/photo/1
Source: https://twitter.com/stannenb/status/566975835316690947/photo/1

“SADLY JUST CONTINUED EXCEPTIONALLY COLD WEATHER … NO END APPEARS IN SIGHT”

Source: https://twitter.com/BostInnoCity/status/567379898059485184
Source: https://twitter.com/BostInnoCity/status/567379898059485184

(i wonder why they have ellipses… AND ALL CAPS… is it for maritime radio, which I’ve now spent hours listening to … for their text-to-speech synthesizer… trivia, maritime radio weather reports have three voices since 2002… here are some voice samples via NOAA “Voice Improvement Processor” … listening to it brings up salty memories for me)

weather is happening

https://www.facebook.com/weatherishappening
https://www.facebook.com/weatherishappening

He just appeared on WMBR too. http://wmbr.org/m3u/Brainworms_Radio_20150213_1900.m3u at 24 mins in. If you want your daily dose of Angry Boston Weather Preacher Dude.

train through snow

https://vine.co/v/OP9YFebzX27

everyday i’m shovelling

MBTA quick reference map

Source: https://twitter.com/SaraMorrison/status/567111295552335873/photo/1
Source: https://twitter.com/SaraMorrison/status/567111295552335873/photo/1

Note: I dug out some of this from https://twitter.com/hashtag/BOSnow

highway signs with a boston accent

Source: 5wcvb ABS news? http://www.plengegen.com/blog/genetic-forecasting-cell-biology-experimentally-validates-functional-mutations-complex-disease-sequencing-studies/
Source: 5wcvb ABS news?

build a snow igloo, then rent it out on airbnb?

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5195545

Screenshot from 2015-02-17 00:54:51

PSA: Be careful. Turns out collapsing snow caves can kill you by asphyxiation. This happens when snow plows don’t realize it’s a snow cave instead of a snow bank and dump tons of snow on top of your cave. Then you die. So make sure to stick a flag with a picture of a human on top of your snow cave, and don’t make it on the side of the street.

weather forecasts

predicting the future is hard. here are some good websites to help you

howmuchwillitsnow.com

howmuchwillitsnow.com
howmuchwillitsnow.com

wunderground.com (great UI, graphs temperature forecast for you and you can hover over it for instance to check out the likelihood it will be raining at 1pm on Tuesday)

wunderground.com
wunderground.com

Add Media

weather.gov (links to the national weather forecast broadcasts)

Screenshot from 2015-02-16 23:37:42

sailing.mit.edu/weather/ (comes with webcams! very clean and detailed)

sailing.mit.edu/weather
sailing.mit.edu/weather

weatherishappening.com (if you like a dose of snarky with your forecast)

weatherishappening.com SNOBLOBS
weatherishappening.com
SNOBLOBS

here is a narwhal on a narwhal

to end on a happier note, here is some cuteness for you

narwhals on narwhals
narwhals on narwhals

I finished a hexapod instructables, get featured, and then mope some more

I finished my second instructables ever! This one was a lot more “successful” than my first one — it was featured on the front page for a day or two. 😀 yay!

This is the instructables for my 18 degree of freedom (18 servo) hexapod:
www.instructables.com/id/Simple-18dof-Hexapod-Arduino-nano-optionally-wit/

It probably took slightly less time than my 7 minute video on the design process (which took at least 2 or 3 full days) yet garnered about 10x the views. The little star in the upper right hand corner stands for featured.

All that it means is that your instructables gets put on the front page for a little while. At least it did much better than CNC nyancake. Apparently nyancat is a thing of the past for everyone except me XD;

day 1
day 2

It was featured within hours of posting, crazy moderators.

instructables published jun 24th

It is gratifying to see that at least some of the thousands of people who visited that instructables clicked through to my took-ages-to-make design process of a hexapod video. See spike in traffic at the end of June.
I still don’t know the secret to getting comments though. I want to interact with people virtually! At least for now.
As usual — then I mope about how I focus too much on these sorts of stats instead of going out and “enjoying what I do” or whatever.
But yea, all in all. Four years ago I never would have imagined being on hackaday and having a featured instructables. These were all things I saw the peers I looked up to do, not myself. Yet I find myself qualifying these accomplishments — it was just for a project I basically copied off the internet, it is just for a really derpy hexapod I never really finished, etc. I have an awesome friend who was published in science as an undergraduate, yet she always qualifies her publication, and it’s obvious that she’s missing how amazing this whole thing is. Maybe I am doing that?
Lack of self-confidence is unattractive and can make other people difficult to work / high maintenance with, yet I can’t get rid of this in myself. Grr! At least there is hope for me. I can reasonable list three things every day that I am proud of myself for, unlike some friends of mine. x___x must spread positive energy

Well, that’s life in the first world. I am in an amazing spot for myself currently — working on my own startup with two very good friends who are still my friends so far, assisting with a go-kart class for pay, no financial issues for at least a few months — yet I still feel not-legit, like I haven’t really built anything really cool or robust. I’m not sure what it’ll take, since I certainly won’t catch up anytime soon to people I look up to in the areas they specialize in.

I guess that is just something I will have to get used to. Or I could finish kiwikart

hexacon. well, hexapod jewelry and then someday a post about hexacon

i wanted to make jewelry
i also need prizes for saturday’s hexacon
hexacon2013.mit.edu
hexacon2013.eventbrite.com

bought some supplies from http://www.yelp.com/biz/artist-and-craftsman-supply-cambridge, then lasercut some hexapods from a vector SVG file of my hexapod CAD files

I added some lock washers and made them asymmetrical, because I miss the ones that +Hanna Lin made for me a while back that look like this, but prettier and more functional.

lock washer source, MITERS.mit.edu
Fatal flaw of acrylic jewelry: it only wants to face one direction, sideways, by default (I twisted it around to take this picture). Ah well. A puntly-hour’s worth of work.

Hexapod conference? how to plan a conference budget?

caution: hexapods ahead. cc0

I applied to the deFlorez Fund for Humor at MIT. The application deadline for grants over $1000 was due at midnight, and at around 10pm I decided to apply for funds for a hexapod conference.

I should hear back by the end of MIT spring break (the 30th).

Funding decisions will be made approximately two weeks following the application deadline. If an award is made, disbursement of the award will take place once sufficient funds have been secured to hold the event.

 If they fund this, it will be hilariously awesome. However, the application is so hilariously rushed and badly written that I am actually really embarrassed. It was so much fun writing it though. The coherent parts were written by the lovely +Julia Hopkins (http://fluidarchive.blogspot.com/), including this beautiful part:

Please explain in one or two paragraphs how exactly this event fits the de Florez Humor Fund mission of “impressing students with the importance of humor in all aspects of life, both personal and business.”

Let’s face it. An MIT student’s personal life is their work life. Too few are prepared to find the humor in this, or prepared to acknowledge such humor exists. This conference epitomizes silliness in research, silliness in personal projects, and silliness in how we envision the technical world around us evolving. Moreover, it highlights the importance of this silliness in a student’s daily life. The concept of a hexapod, the concept of investing time and resources into something that, in the end, probably won’t change the world (unless you build it several stories tall and figure out how to give it a Godzilla complex), resonates with many an MIT student. This conference is to help them both acknowledge and celebrate all of the things in their research, classes, personal lives (for those that persist in imagining they have one, in any case), and business which have not gone the direction they anticipated, or which did not provide as much of an impactful result as they were envisioning.

I would try and explain the humor of wrapping all of this up in a metaphor of hexapods and then go on to wax eloquently (or perhaps just wax) about the philosophical implications of how a project which has gone nowhere can still impart necessary skills and life lessons, but that’d be spoiling the fun of it. You should come see for yourself the wonders of dancing hexapods, the hours of toil put into this utterly silly contraption, and experience your nervous laughter as this parody evolves into genuine humor acknowledging all of the ridiculous things humans do which, somehow, make the world a better place. We’re just not sure how yet.

Well, anyway.  How do you plan a conference?

Well, you decide on a mission (yes, conferences have missions) and then make a budget. This is a most excellent guide on missions and general conference thoughts: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_125.aspx

e.g.

 The field needs a conference.  There are several possible reasons for this:
  • The field may be a new one, and still lack a clear identity.  A conference could bring together the people who are building it, and help to define it.
  • The field may not be cohesive.  People in it may not know one another, may disagree on methods or other issues, or may simply not realize how many others have similar interests.  A conference could bring them together and create networks that would expand and improve the work.

The mission of this conference would be to promote silliness at MIT.

Here is the budget I ended up with:

.
Item Cost Comments
.
venue rental fee connections (held in the N52 IDC space, using equpiment there)
.
food and beverage fee 300 (can be acquired from dumpsters but kind of sketchy)
.
transportation & lodging scholarships 500 to help people make it here
.
A&V, recording, livecasting equipment 150
.
speaker fee bribe with cookies
.
activity fee 100 (lasercut hexapod material – bristol board)
.
miscellaneous fee 100
.
prizes from reuse
.
.
Total 1150

(budget table in neater formatting here)

And here is my (rambling because I had no time) proposal:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rq3cIFy9j1FjbIYA67gpZCksZKgtXzLZrxkLw93_v2s/edit

The conference schedule (tentatively planned for May 4th) would be

9 – 9:30 registration, breakfast
9:30 – 10 keynote speaker
10:15 – 11:15, break, 11:30 – 12 five-minute lightning talks (+ 5 minutes questions), nine total
12 – 13 eat food and make hexapods (invite general public, including kids)
13 – 14 hexapod dance-off, other hexapod competitions (e.g. fastest?)
14 – 17 conference talks about specific topics (e.g. the use of hexapods in educational kits, in adaptive terrain traversing (climbing trees, over rough ground), in millirobotics)
17 – 18 pm Poster session and demonstrations, appetizers

For reference, prior work:

http://youtu.be/pXMnbNoccgA?t=49s


http://ieee.scripts.mit.edu/urgewiki/index.php?title=S2012_-_Hexapods_and_Other_Cool_Things
An extracurricular undergraduate reading group I led last year.

http://katygero.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/hexapods/
The rapid fabrication hexapods we made during the last reading group session.


Hexapod Demonstration II from Katy Gero on Vimeo.