Building my own [first] robot

Discussions regarding building a walking robot at home. Most of the robots participating at Robo-One competitions are custom fabricated.
19 postsPage 1 of 21, 2
19 postsPage 1 of 21, 2

Building my own [first] robot

Post by aviad » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:05 pm

Post by aviad
Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:05 pm

Hello everyone!

I'm (obviously) new in the forum, but also new to robotics. I'm coming from the programming world, but decided to take a step into robotics and see how it is. The problem I'm facing now is deciding on my first steps - how do I start? Where is the beginner's material? My goal at the moment is for an autonomous robot; what function it will do, I don't know yet - for now, I want it to be able to walk and stay steady even on changing terrains.

I'd appreciate any pointers very much! Thank you!
Hello everyone!

I'm (obviously) new in the forum, but also new to robotics. I'm coming from the programming world, but decided to take a step into robotics and see how it is. The problem I'm facing now is deciding on my first steps - how do I start? Where is the beginner's material? My goal at the moment is for an autonomous robot; what function it will do, I don't know yet - for now, I want it to be able to walk and stay steady even on changing terrains.

I'd appreciate any pointers very much! Thank you!
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by bbrainmonkey » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:10 am

Post by bbrainmonkey
Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:10 am

As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it. This will give you some good experience with servos and the principals behind the robot's design.
As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it. This will give you some good experience with servos and the principals behind the robot's design.
10 Shoot
20 Die
30 Goto 10
bbrainmonkey offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:34 am
Location: Connecticut

Post by aviad » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:44 am

Post by aviad
Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:44 am

bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


From the information available, it seems that working with the Robonova is only through that RoboBasic language. Are there alternatives to it? Maybe replace its micro-controller?

Are there other starter kits, or maybe even some "shopping list" that one could get with a proper manual to help do things?
bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


From the information available, it seems that working with the Robonova is only through that RoboBasic language. Are there alternatives to it? Maybe replace its micro-controller?

Are there other starter kits, or maybe even some "shopping list" that one could get with a proper manual to help do things?
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by aviad » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:20 am

Post by aviad
Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:20 am

bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


Also, what are the benefits of the robonova? I mean, compared to other robot kits like Futaba or Bioloid?
bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


Also, what are the benefits of the robonova? I mean, compared to other robot kits like Futaba or Bioloid?
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by sthmck » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:17 pm

Post by sthmck
Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:17 pm

I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these. If you are looking to build something autonomous your best bet would be to start with something that uses wheels. the boe-bot will take you through basic concepts and the price isnt that bad. I am not a programmer (yet I am working on getting a degree) and working with this kit really helped me out a lot. Also the boe-bot has more room for sensors. You can put sensors on the humanoids but you have to be careful about throwing them off balance. Bioloid already has sensors that come with the kit so it would probably be easier to start building something autonomous with that platform. I have heard the there are going to be several sensors coming out that are made for the robonova. It is really a matter of what you want to do exactly. This is just my $0.02
Good luck with whatever you choose.
I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these. If you are looking to build something autonomous your best bet would be to start with something that uses wheels. the boe-bot will take you through basic concepts and the price isnt that bad. I am not a programmer (yet I am working on getting a degree) and working with this kit really helped me out a lot. Also the boe-bot has more room for sensors. You can put sensors on the humanoids but you have to be careful about throwing them off balance. Bioloid already has sensors that come with the kit so it would probably be easier to start building something autonomous with that platform. I have heard the there are going to be several sensors coming out that are made for the robonova. It is really a matter of what you want to do exactly. This is just my $0.02
Good luck with whatever you choose.
sthmck offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:12 pm
Location: Shepherdstown, WV, US

Post by srobot » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:19 pm

Post by srobot
Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:19 pm

aviad wrote:
bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


From the information available, it seems that working with the Robonova is only through that RoboBasic language. Are there alternatives to it? Maybe replace its micro-controller?

Are there other starter kits, or maybe even some "shopping list" that one could get with a proper manual to help do things?


Right now I only know of RoboBasic for the RoboNova-1. Check out the "C programming for RoboNova" post.

What kind of programming language do you want?

Currently no "starter kits", or "shopping lists" are available for Humanoids that I know of.

Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.

aviad wrote:
bbrainmonkey wrote:
As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.



Also, what are the benefits of the robonova? I mean, compared to other robot kits like Futaba or Bioloid?


Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?

Cheers,
--srobot
aviad wrote:
bbrainmonkey wrote:As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.


From the information available, it seems that working with the Robonova is only through that RoboBasic language. Are there alternatives to it? Maybe replace its micro-controller?

Are there other starter kits, or maybe even some "shopping list" that one could get with a proper manual to help do things?


Right now I only know of RoboBasic for the RoboNova-1. Check out the "C programming for RoboNova" post.

What kind of programming language do you want?

Currently no "starter kits", or "shopping lists" are available for Humanoids that I know of.

Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.

aviad wrote:
bbrainmonkey wrote:
As a start, I would buy a kit such as the Robonova and hack it.



Also, what are the benefits of the robonova? I mean, compared to other robot kits like Futaba or Bioloid?


Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?

Cheers,
--srobot
Dell Latitude D520, Windows XP, 4 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo. The power that's needed!

RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level
srobot offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Deep in robot parts

Post by aviad » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:32 pm

Post by aviad
Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:32 pm

srobot wrote:What kind of programming language do you want?


I prefer a more structural language. If it was object-oriented I would be extremely pleased but I am no stranger to C and prefer it over most languages anyway.

srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


What is the GumStix controller? I know they have "very small computers" :) what's their controller product? Just one of the computers?

srobot wrote:Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?


The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots" - what I want is an experiment in AI combined with real sensory data.

Thanks for the help,
Aviad.
srobot wrote:What kind of programming language do you want?


I prefer a more structural language. If it was object-oriented I would be extremely pleased but I am no stranger to C and prefer it over most languages anyway.

srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


What is the GumStix controller? I know they have "very small computers" :) what's their controller product? Just one of the computers?

srobot wrote:Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?


The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots" - what I want is an experiment in AI combined with real sensory data.

Thanks for the help,
Aviad.
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by aviad » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:40 pm

Post by aviad
Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:40 pm

srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


Also, which flavor? It seems like there are three - and only the "extreme" allows for C programming.. However, it costs 4 times the normal one.. Is that what you meant, though?

Edit: Unless what you meant is actually to remove the original controller and add the GumStix one, which is inherently C programmable since it's a Linux machine?
srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


Also, which flavor? It seems like there are three - and only the "extreme" allows for C programming.. However, it costs 4 times the normal one.. Is that what you meant, though?

Edit: Unless what you meant is actually to remove the original controller and add the GumStix one, which is inherently C programmable since it's a Linux machine?
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by srobot » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:23 pm

Post by srobot
Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:23 pm

aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:What kind of programming language do you want?


I prefer a more structural language. If it was object-oriented I would be extremely pleased but I am no stranger to C and prefer it over most languages anyway.


You mean like EasyC?

http://flickr.com/photos/22974884@N00/428674505/

aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?


The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots" - what I want is an experiment in AI combined with real sensory data.

Thanks for the help,
Aviad.


Thanks! :D

All of the humanoid kits on this forum start as true autonomous robots. Some people add remotes, some add sensors, some add servos, and some people add it all.

--Scotty
aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:What kind of programming language do you want?


I prefer a more structural language. If it was object-oriented I would be extremely pleased but I am no stranger to C and prefer it over most languages anyway.


You mean like EasyC?

http://flickr.com/photos/22974884@N00/428674505/

aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:Check out this comparison of Humanoids site:

http://robotservicesgroup.com/

What do you want your robot for, and to do?


The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots" - what I want is an experiment in AI combined with real sensory data.

Thanks for the help,
Aviad.


Thanks! :D

All of the humanoid kits on this forum start as true autonomous robots. Some people add remotes, some add sensors, some add servos, and some people add it all.

--Scotty
Dell Latitude D520, Windows XP, 4 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo. The power that's needed!

RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level
srobot offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Deep in robot parts

Post by srobot » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:27 pm

Post by srobot
Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:27 pm

aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


Also, which flavor? It seems like there are three - and only the "extreme" allows for C programming.. However, it costs 4 times the normal one.. Is that what you meant, though?

Edit: Unless what you meant is actually to remove the original controller and add the GumStix one, which is inherently C programmable since it's a Linux machine?


Yes, swap out the CM-5 (stock controller board) for a GumStix.

If you look around in the Bioloid section of this forum you should be able to find some information on it.

All the best,
--Scotty
aviad wrote:
srobot wrote:Because you say your a programmer, I'd say go with the Bioloid and get a GumStix controller.


Also, which flavor? It seems like there are three - and only the "extreme" allows for C programming.. However, it costs 4 times the normal one.. Is that what you meant, though?

Edit: Unless what you meant is actually to remove the original controller and add the GumStix one, which is inherently C programmable since it's a Linux machine?


Yes, swap out the CM-5 (stock controller board) for a GumStix.

If you look around in the Bioloid section of this forum you should be able to find some information on it.

All the best,
--Scotty
Dell Latitude D520, Windows XP, 4 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo. The power that's needed!

RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level
srobot offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Deep in robot parts

Post by Joe » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:03 am

Post by Joe
Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:03 am

aviad wrote:The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots"...

No. "Autonomous" in robotics means not remote-controlled. Many robots can be either autonomous or remote controlled, but they're never both at the same time.

(Well, OK, there is the gray area of semi-autonomous robots, that both take directions from their human controller but also make rapid tactical decisions on their own. But that's semi-autonomous; if a robot is referred to as autonomous, then it's not taking any remote control at all.)

Best,
— Joe
aviad wrote:The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots"...

No. "Autonomous" in robotics means not remote-controlled. Many robots can be either autonomous or remote controlled, but they're never both at the same time.

(Well, OK, there is the gray area of semi-autonomous robots, that both take directions from their human controller but also make rapid tactical decisions on their own. But that's semi-autonomous; if a robot is referred to as autonomous, then it's not taking any remote control at all.)

Best,
— Joe
Joe offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:00 am

Post by aviad » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:08 am

Post by aviad
Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:08 am

Joe wrote:
aviad wrote:The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots"...

No. "Autonomous" in robotics means not remote-controlled. Many robots can be either autonomous or remote controlled, but they're never both at the same time.


Okay - but orchestrated robots (robots that were programmed to perform a "show" and can do only that from start to end, maybe in a loop) are considered to be autonomous even though they have no intelligence driving them to do so?

On the other hand, you can call AI just that - a very elaborated choreography.. :) I'm just trying to figure the terminology I suppose.
Joe wrote:
aviad wrote:The comparison is a lot of help! What I want to achieve is an autonomous robot - however, it seems that sometimes robots that are controlled via R/C are also referred to as "autonomous robots"...

No. "Autonomous" in robotics means not remote-controlled. Many robots can be either autonomous or remote controlled, but they're never both at the same time.


Okay - but orchestrated robots (robots that were programmed to perform a "show" and can do only that from start to end, maybe in a loop) are considered to be autonomous even though they have no intelligence driving them to do so?

On the other hand, you can call AI just that - a very elaborated choreography.. :) I'm just trying to figure the terminology I suppose.
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by Joe » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:09 am

Post by Joe
Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:09 am

sthmck wrote:I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these.

I think this is a good idea — and you won't have to wait long; I just got an email saying that they should be shipping in a couple of weeks. You can (and should) order it as a kit, so you both understand well how it is assembled, and don't feel bashful about taking it apart to fix or modify it.

To the original poster: I'm a programmer myself, and I'll warn you that the hardware side of things is much harder than it looks. :) Stupid things like finding a screw that fits into a given hole (or drilling and threading a hole to fit a screw!) will sometimes set you back for a week, at least if you're like me. Start small (or with a kit) and stock up on patience.

Instead of a full humanoid kit, another way to go is to gather Lynxmotion brackets and compatible servos. These let you do neat things like this with a much smaller investment, and also give you much greater freedom to make any sort of robot you want. (Though to be fair, the Bioloid kit gives you nearly the same freedom, and its servos are a much better value.)

Best,
— Joe
sthmck wrote:I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these.

I think this is a good idea — and you won't have to wait long; I just got an email saying that they should be shipping in a couple of weeks. You can (and should) order it as a kit, so you both understand well how it is assembled, and don't feel bashful about taking it apart to fix or modify it.

To the original poster: I'm a programmer myself, and I'll warn you that the hardware side of things is much harder than it looks. :) Stupid things like finding a screw that fits into a given hole (or drilling and threading a hole to fit a screw!) will sometimes set you back for a week, at least if you're like me. Start small (or with a kit) and stock up on patience.

Instead of a full humanoid kit, another way to go is to gather Lynxmotion brackets and compatible servos. These let you do neat things like this with a much smaller investment, and also give you much greater freedom to make any sort of robot you want. (Though to be fair, the Bioloid kit gives you nearly the same freedom, and its servos are a much better value.)

Best,
— Joe
Joe offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:00 am

Post by aviad » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:23 am

Post by aviad
Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:23 am

Joe wrote:To the original poster: I'm a programmer myself, and I'll warn you that the hardware side of things is much harder than it looks. :) Stupid things like finding a screw that fits into a given hole (or drilling and threading a hole to fit a screw!) will sometimes set you back for a week, at least if you're like me. Start small (or with a kit) and stock up on patience.

Instead of a full humanoid kit, another way to go is to gather Lynxmotion brackets and compatible servos. These let you do neat things like this with a much smaller investment, and also give you much greater freedom to make any sort of robot you want. (Though to be fair, the Bioloid kit gives you nearly the same freedom, and its servos are a much better value.)


The idea of stocking up on servos and brackets appealed to me at first but eventually I've decided to drop the idea for the time being since, like you said in the first paragraph I quoted, I will get lost in all the hardware mess. I've done some tinkering in the past but fixing an old router is probably not the same as building a robot.

Joe wrote:
sthmck wrote:I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these.


I think this is a good idea — and you won't have to wait long; I just got an email saying that they should be shipping in a couple of weeks. You can (and should) order it as a kit, so you both understand well how it is assembled, and don't feel bashful about taking it apart to fix or modify it.


There will be some tinkering involved, eventually - I will want to modify the robot and make it my own. Is it still recommended that I wait for the philo? Also, if I do, is it still recommended that I replace its controller with the gumstix board?
Joe wrote:To the original poster: I'm a programmer myself, and I'll warn you that the hardware side of things is much harder than it looks. :) Stupid things like finding a screw that fits into a given hole (or drilling and threading a hole to fit a screw!) will sometimes set you back for a week, at least if you're like me. Start small (or with a kit) and stock up on patience.

Instead of a full humanoid kit, another way to go is to gather Lynxmotion brackets and compatible servos. These let you do neat things like this with a much smaller investment, and also give you much greater freedom to make any sort of robot you want. (Though to be fair, the Bioloid kit gives you nearly the same freedom, and its servos are a much better value.)


The idea of stocking up on servos and brackets appealed to me at first but eventually I've decided to drop the idea for the time being since, like you said in the first paragraph I quoted, I will get lost in all the hardware mess. I've done some tinkering in the past but fixing an old router is probably not the same as building a robot.

Joe wrote:
sthmck wrote:I am wondering if you are only interested in getting a humanoid. If so then I would wait till the robophilo comes out, because it is a bit cheaper than the rest of these.


I think this is a good idea — and you won't have to wait long; I just got an email saying that they should be shipping in a couple of weeks. You can (and should) order it as a kit, so you both understand well how it is assembled, and don't feel bashful about taking it apart to fix or modify it.


There will be some tinkering involved, eventually - I will want to modify the robot and make it my own. Is it still recommended that I wait for the philo? Also, if I do, is it still recommended that I replace its controller with the gumstix board?
aviad offline
Robot Builder
Robot Builder
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Post by srobot » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:04 pm

Post by srobot
Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:04 pm

aviad wrote:Is it still recommended that I wait for the philo? Also, if I do, is it still recommended that I replace its controller with the gumstix board?


I would say no at the start. The only reason I'd go with a GumStix is if you need/want big programs on it. Or you need high power computing.

Ok, so maybe also if you can't do what you want to do with the stock controller also...

With RoboPhilo, the sensors and motors connect directly to the board, unlike the the Bioloid which go through each other.

Here's a blog post I did on RoboPhilo:

http://ribolabs.wordpress.com/2007/10/2 ... ilo-cheap/

All the best,
--Scotty
aviad wrote:Is it still recommended that I wait for the philo? Also, if I do, is it still recommended that I replace its controller with the gumstix board?


I would say no at the start. The only reason I'd go with a GumStix is if you need/want big programs on it. Or you need high power computing.

Ok, so maybe also if you can't do what you want to do with the stock controller also...

With RoboPhilo, the sensors and motors connect directly to the board, unlike the the Bioloid which go through each other.

Here's a blog post I did on RoboPhilo:

http://ribolabs.wordpress.com/2007/10/2 ... ilo-cheap/

All the best,
--Scotty
Dell Latitude D520, Windows XP, 4 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo. The power that's needed!

RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level
srobot offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Deep in robot parts

Next
Next
19 postsPage 1 of 21, 2
19 postsPage 1 of 21, 2
cron