Tethered Humanoid

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

Tethered Humanoid

Post by Noobius » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:06 pm

Post by Noobius
Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:06 pm

Hi, I havent yet taken the plunge to buy a robot. :roll: I will soon but there are so many things to consider. Up until now I have thought about a KHR-3HV a KHR-2HV (second hand) a MANOI AT01 (second hand) and am quite interested in a bioloid. However, as someone in one of the other forums pointed out, "it depends what you want it for" :shock: so I directed some thought into that. I'm a hobbyist so no real purpose beyond what interests me.

I am interested in AI, programming, autonomy (eventually), vision, sensor controls and processing generally. It struck me that I'm not bothered about having a tether to the robot so in principal I could use a PC as its controller as this naturally gives me a lot more scope regarding the processor. :idea:

So, if I were to set off down this route instead of buying a bioloid comprehensive/premium (because now I dont need the CM5) what would be my best bet to get a working frame and servos together - am I embarking on a path of pain and misery if I dont buy a working kit in one hit considering my lack of experience?

I am ok with the programming, but I dont know where to begin to hook up a PC as a controller, perhaps someone could direct me to some resources on that - or a decent book or two perhaps.

After that, should I buy some servos and some brackets from a supplier like Robotis (or other)? Or would I be better off sticking to a kit complete with a controller from the outset... :?

Sorry for my lengthy and questioning posts dotted about the site. I am trying not to post too many questions but the urge to fill the board with a hundred and one questions - possibly all in one post :wink: - is overwhelming...

Thanks in advance for any replies...
Hi, I havent yet taken the plunge to buy a robot. :roll: I will soon but there are so many things to consider. Up until now I have thought about a KHR-3HV a KHR-2HV (second hand) a MANOI AT01 (second hand) and am quite interested in a bioloid. However, as someone in one of the other forums pointed out, "it depends what you want it for" :shock: so I directed some thought into that. I'm a hobbyist so no real purpose beyond what interests me.

I am interested in AI, programming, autonomy (eventually), vision, sensor controls and processing generally. It struck me that I'm not bothered about having a tether to the robot so in principal I could use a PC as its controller as this naturally gives me a lot more scope regarding the processor. :idea:

So, if I were to set off down this route instead of buying a bioloid comprehensive/premium (because now I dont need the CM5) what would be my best bet to get a working frame and servos together - am I embarking on a path of pain and misery if I dont buy a working kit in one hit considering my lack of experience?

I am ok with the programming, but I dont know where to begin to hook up a PC as a controller, perhaps someone could direct me to some resources on that - or a decent book or two perhaps.

After that, should I buy some servos and some brackets from a supplier like Robotis (or other)? Or would I be better off sticking to a kit complete with a controller from the outset... :?

Sorry for my lengthy and questioning posts dotted about the site. I am trying not to post too many questions but the urge to fill the board with a hundred and one questions - possibly all in one post :wink: - is overwhelming...

Thanks in advance for any replies...
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Post by nunogato » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:49 pm

Post by nunogato
Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:49 pm

i think you are doing the right thing by searching and learning through forums.

If you have not had experience with micro-controllers (all humanoids come with one) but have had considerable experience programming in win32, .net, linux, web etc., then getting into micro-controllers can be a lot of fun. I would highly recommend taking the plunge with microcontrollers by getting an Arduino (see one of our starter kits), or even better, get an arduino robot.


There are a couple of ways to allow a laptop to control a robot wirelessly. If you look at our wiki pages for robonova and bioloid, you will see how that can easily be done.

But the latest most interesting way of doing it is by using an embedded linux onto which you can slap a wifi dongle and send data backwards/forward from webcam, sound, servos etc. See these threads:

http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4361
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27938
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6460
i think you are doing the right thing by searching and learning through forums.

If you have not had experience with micro-controllers (all humanoids come with one) but have had considerable experience programming in win32, .net, linux, web etc., then getting into micro-controllers can be a lot of fun. I would highly recommend taking the plunge with microcontrollers by getting an Arduino (see one of our starter kits), or even better, get an arduino robot.


There are a couple of ways to allow a laptop to control a robot wirelessly. If you look at our wiki pages for robonova and bioloid, you will see how that can easily be done.

But the latest most interesting way of doing it is by using an embedded linux onto which you can slap a wifi dongle and send data backwards/forward from webcam, sound, servos etc. See these threads:

http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4361
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27938
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6460
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Post by Noobius » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:36 pm

Post by Noobius
Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:36 pm

Thanks for the encouragment nunogato. I have read the threads you recommended in your links.

There is some interesting material there, a lot to digest as much of it is outside of my areas of knowledge, all the same I will be watching
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6460
as the proposed board "Targeted as bridge board between serial servos and embedded PC" sounds like it directly addresses my main mental barrier which is how do I get my computer to directly control the servos (perhaps more accurately the dynamixels).

I am interested to understand what the challenges are to you experienced roboteers as I will eventually come up against these issues sooner or later and also increase my understanding of the electronics involved and those posts cover details of both aspects.

Amused to see the same MANOI that I mention above in one of those links - owned by Zacohk or at least it was until yesterday when he sold it on ebay - as that was one I was considering buying :D Fair price but the postage from HongKong to the UK was a deal breaker for me...I guess I shouldnt be surprised, its a small world and something of a specialist interest

Anyone have a Bioloid with broken CM5 for sale? :lol:
Thanks for the encouragment nunogato. I have read the threads you recommended in your links.

There is some interesting material there, a lot to digest as much of it is outside of my areas of knowledge, all the same I will be watching
http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6460
as the proposed board "Targeted as bridge board between serial servos and embedded PC" sounds like it directly addresses my main mental barrier which is how do I get my computer to directly control the servos (perhaps more accurately the dynamixels).

I am interested to understand what the challenges are to you experienced roboteers as I will eventually come up against these issues sooner or later and also increase my understanding of the electronics involved and those posts cover details of both aspects.

Amused to see the same MANOI that I mention above in one of those links - owned by Zacohk or at least it was until yesterday when he sold it on ebay - as that was one I was considering buying :D Fair price but the postage from HongKong to the UK was a deal breaker for me...I guess I shouldnt be surprised, its a small world and something of a specialist interest

Anyone have a Bioloid with broken CM5 for sale? :lol:
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Post by Enderwiggins » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:30 am

Post by Enderwiggins
Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:30 am

Last spring semester I began building my humanoid. I was in the same position as you and even wanted to begin the same as you with a tethered robot and all. If I could recommend something though it would be to go with a kit and use its microcontroller or to buy a controller like the roboboard and go with that. You can get pretty far with a good microcontroller and the processing isn't nearly as big of a setback as you'd think. If I could get back all my money and buy stuff again now I would do the following:

1. Buy high capacity lipos(good ones around 4000-5000mAh) and a good charger or 2 (Waiting for batteries to charge sucks more than anything in the world)
2. Buy a bioloid premium kit
3. Do everything there is with the basic software and hardware from the kit.
4. Move on to more advance things now that I have the knowledge that a kit gives you.

When I started I knew nothing so i decided to get the most powerful servos(per unit price) I could find (HSR5990TG) and since I didn't know much about batteries I ended up getting a lot of NIMH batteries that couldn't support the current draw from 12-16 of said servo. Run times were like 10 minutes at a time and it really killed the fun so if nothing else get good batteries before you do anything else.

If you ever need help with anything feel free to message me and i'll do my best to help though my knowledge is very limited.
Last spring semester I began building my humanoid. I was in the same position as you and even wanted to begin the same as you with a tethered robot and all. If I could recommend something though it would be to go with a kit and use its microcontroller or to buy a controller like the roboboard and go with that. You can get pretty far with a good microcontroller and the processing isn't nearly as big of a setback as you'd think. If I could get back all my money and buy stuff again now I would do the following:

1. Buy high capacity lipos(good ones around 4000-5000mAh) and a good charger or 2 (Waiting for batteries to charge sucks more than anything in the world)
2. Buy a bioloid premium kit
3. Do everything there is with the basic software and hardware from the kit.
4. Move on to more advance things now that I have the knowledge that a kit gives you.

When I started I knew nothing so i decided to get the most powerful servos(per unit price) I could find (HSR5990TG) and since I didn't know much about batteries I ended up getting a lot of NIMH batteries that couldn't support the current draw from 12-16 of said servo. Run times were like 10 minutes at a time and it really killed the fun so if nothing else get good batteries before you do anything else.

If you ever need help with anything feel free to message me and i'll do my best to help though my knowledge is very limited.
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Post by Noobius » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:52 pm

Post by Noobius
Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:52 pm

Thanks for passing on the benefit of your experience Enderwiggins. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the things you say definitely resonate with me, I could easily see myself buying the exact same set up and then having the exact same reflections after spending my cash.

Since I found out about this hobby the appeal of the Bioloid Premium kit has been quite a strong pull. Considering all of the areas I need to come up to speed on, a "custom build" is way too ambitious - all of my gear would be on ebay within 6 months and thats only if I havent amputated several finger tips with the servos and can still type an ad :shock: .

I think your advice and story of your own route so far has saved me some grief - I am really grateful you took the time to write your post and am also grateful for your offer of further assistance.

Bioloid Premium still winning and looking like a clear lead...although I have decided to get an arduino kit in the meantime too, just to learn a bit about that side of things... 8)
Thanks for passing on the benefit of your experience Enderwiggins. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the things you say definitely resonate with me, I could easily see myself buying the exact same set up and then having the exact same reflections after spending my cash.

Since I found out about this hobby the appeal of the Bioloid Premium kit has been quite a strong pull. Considering all of the areas I need to come up to speed on, a "custom build" is way too ambitious - all of my gear would be on ebay within 6 months and thats only if I havent amputated several finger tips with the servos and can still type an ad :shock: .

I think your advice and story of your own route so far has saved me some grief - I am really grateful you took the time to write your post and am also grateful for your offer of further assistance.

Bioloid Premium still winning and looking like a clear lead...although I have decided to get an arduino kit in the meantime too, just to learn a bit about that side of things... 8)
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Post by Enderwiggins » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:30 pm

Post by Enderwiggins
Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:30 pm

Don't forget to make a blog or something so we can all follow along with your bot as you breath life into it! I was kinda lazy with mine and now I've forgotten alot of the little "eurika"(sp?) moments I had because of it.

Heres the sad remains of my site: http://plaza.ufl.edu/seanfrucht/
Theres also a youtube channel under seanfrucht too.
Don't forget to make a blog or something so we can all follow along with your bot as you breath life into it! I was kinda lazy with mine and now I've forgotten alot of the little "eurika"(sp?) moments I had because of it.

Heres the sad remains of my site: http://plaza.ufl.edu/seanfrucht/
Theres also a youtube channel under seanfrucht too.
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Post by Darkback2 » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:50 pm

Post by Darkback2
Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:50 pm

I think this is a pretty common place for people to find themselves, and the learning curve is different than it was a even a few years ago. The bar set by kits is really high. robots like the bioloid premium are Wally capable out of the box, and it's hard to build something unique.

A humanoid isn't the most conducive to this. Your payload for sensors and processing is going to be relatively low, and most of your battery energy will go to locomotion. If your more into the mechanical engineering side of things, and humanoids interest you then go with the bioloid kit, and customize it over time. Be sure to check out the arbotix.

Now another way to go would be to make a software based AI robot that lives inside your computer. You could give it sensors and program different behaviors, Later once your humanoid is up and stable, couple the two wirelessly. Down the line you can build a larger humanoid with the processor inboard.

So...start out with the bioloid, learn to program AI on your computer, and then couple the two later.

Hope this helps.

DB
I think this is a pretty common place for people to find themselves, and the learning curve is different than it was a even a few years ago. The bar set by kits is really high. robots like the bioloid premium are Wally capable out of the box, and it's hard to build something unique.

A humanoid isn't the most conducive to this. Your payload for sensors and processing is going to be relatively low, and most of your battery energy will go to locomotion. If your more into the mechanical engineering side of things, and humanoids interest you then go with the bioloid kit, and customize it over time. Be sure to check out the arbotix.

Now another way to go would be to make a software based AI robot that lives inside your computer. You could give it sensors and program different behaviors, Later once your humanoid is up and stable, couple the two wirelessly. Down the line you can build a larger humanoid with the processor inboard.

So...start out with the bioloid, learn to program AI on your computer, and then couple the two later.

Hope this helps.

DB
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