I am introducing here the project I am working on. You will find below a brief description of it and a more detailed description on this blog here. If you have any question, do not hesitate I will be more than happy to answer it.
This project aims at creating a robot combining technological skills, agility and artistic design. One of the objectives is to mimic – either by the posture of the mechanical structure and/or by the design - different emotions in order to provoke real ones from the audience.
Regarding the technological skills, everybody is coming up with a basket of features such as face recognition, photo shooting, speech (recognition), storytelling, M2M… According to the size of the robot, embedded CPU resource and usefulness, part or all of these features can be proposed.
In order to address agility, I studied in details the human gait – actually how the whole body contributes to the gait. Based on this study I decided to include an articulated pelvic, an articulated foot and an articulated spine (yes lot of articulated stuff) initially proposed by the Flowers team for their Acroban robot. My thesis is that all these articulated parts will contribute to smooth and increase the fluidity of the gaits (straight walk or make a turn). Now I have to prove it.
I think that Artistic Design is really very important if one want to introduce robots in the human environment that can be accepted and/or tolerated by the population. One step further will be the development of “artistic robots” that can be considered as piece of Art and sold accordingly. So far only the Japanese robotics community is really addressing this topic.
This is why I am eager to work with designers in order to create “outer shell” that can fit the robot skeleton. I initiated a collaboration with Dacosta Bayley who is running MarchOfRobot on Instagram (every day in March, artists are pushing a sketch picturing a robot - see #marchofrobots2015). He ran successfully a kickstarter campaign in 2014 in order to publish a book about his work.
If there are designers out there who are willing to contribute, you are more than welcome!
The hardware will be composed of an OPEN CM9 board, a PIXY Cam, 9DOF Razor IMU and FSR sensors. This list will be modified later on probably.
Few words about the software, I designed a simple simulator taking into account the kinematics of the robot (no dynamic here). For the different phases of the gait, it calculates the angles for the each joint. These list of angles are transferred to another algorithm that will calculate the position and speed of each joint
according to the time associated to each phase of the gait. A scheduler running on the OPEN CM9 sends commands at a given sampling time.
I finished the first version of the robot in January and since then I am focusing on the gait algorithm as well as debugging the mechanical part of the robot. Indeed all the frames are made of Resin and I noticed that some frames were bending, stressed by mechanical efforts. Another issue is the torque of the motor versus
the weight of the robot – especially at the hip. So I have to find solutions… It is quite a frustrating period because I need to understand how the structure of the robot is working in the real world and how to deal with “unexpected” (I did not think about them before) issues. Although it is frustrating it is also a necessary (sometimes exciting) learning period.
Please find below some CAD pictures of the mechanical design of the robot. It is composed of Dynamixel servos (AX12, MX28 and MX64). The frames are made of Resin.
Here are some sketches we are working on with Dacosta Bayley.
And finally some pics of the real one: