Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:44 am Post subject: New RQ-HUNO Review and Assembly Blog
RQ-HUNO is the newest Humanoid Robot Platform from Robobuilder.
It is smaller than the current 5710K/5720T Robots and is the new entry level Humanoid, and is now available from RoboSavvy at £316,50 incl. VAT.
At first glance, the RQ HUNO is smaller than its bigger brothers measuring 19cm but packs all the important features.
RQ-HUNO comes in a much smaller box than the 57xx, with items packed more densely but safely organized.
From left to right, the Kit Contents feature a new Charger, new USB programming cable, Microcontroller and Body parts, Body Frames, IR Remote, Joints and Screw Sets, Zero Adjustment Reference Wheels (more on this later), 16 servos and the well known Philips screwdriver. The bottom right is a new tool for handling Rivets (a novelty in the Robobuilder assembly system).
RQ-HUNO features at a Glance:
- The Microcontroller’s processor is an ARM Cortex M3 and includes 4 ports for Analog Sensors.
- The Robot comes Object Detection Sensor and Sound Sensor (inside the controller; detects loud sounds such as clapping)
- The battery is LiPo and sits outside the controller (making the controller much smaller in size)
- The PC connector at TTL level and there’s a USB to TTL converter to connect to the computer. This interface is also used to connect the Bluetooth module board (optionally available).
- Compatible with the Android Remote Control App. (with Bluetooth module available separately)
Joint Types and Assembly System:
RQ-HUNO inherits the Joint Insert assembly system form its bigger brothers (57xx).
It comes with fewer types of joints as it’s designed to be assembled as a Humanoid only.
Additionally, due to its smaller size there’s a new type of Assembly mechanism: Rivets are now used for some parts. This speeds up assembly while retaining structural integrity and strength (we still use screws for some of the parts).
The 3 Black Assembly pieces can be combined in 2 ways (middle picture) to build the whole robot.
To help in handling the Rivets, there’s a new tool included to handle Inserting and Removing the Rivets. (it’s a lifesaver when you make a mistake!)
The 16 servos included (same number of DoF in 5710/5720) are SAM-3 (3 kgf.cm)
These are a miniaturized hybrid of wCK 1108K/wCK 1108T (same Processor and Protocol; one side is Black and the other side is Transparent with a Blue LED)
The SAM-3 Servo is considerably smaller than the wCK and yet retains practically all the features (except for torque). By using the same
protocol and connectors they can also be used in 57xx Robots as well (to build a small Pan&Tilt, Gripper or similar).
New W Cables:
The miniaturization brought one important change though: there is now only one communication port on the servo. This means that, to create the Daisy Chain,there are new cables.
These are now built in a “W” configuration (each connector is in parallel with the next). In practice you feel no difference as it makes exactly the same effect as having 2 connectors on the servo.
The manual mentions 1 hour assembly time. We find it optimistic: it took us about 2 and half hours to assemble the whole Robot but still it’s very straightforward and the most accessible/easy DIY Humanoid kit we know.
Step 1 of assembly consists of connecting all the servos to the controller (doesn’t matter in which order you do it) and Pressing the STOP button on the Remote to move them to their Home posture. This is meant to reduce mistakes in Assembly.
The next step is building the Legs. RQ-HUNO feet (shoe plates) are made from a single piece of Aluminum.
We install the first DoF of the Ankle on the back of the shoe plate with 3 screws (not shown in the pictures).
Next we prepare the second DoF (servo) of the ankle. The servos don’t come with Horns Pre Installed so we first have to fit one. There’s an alignment marking on both the shaft and the horn to make things clear. A screw goes in the center to keep things in place. Next a Joint connects to the Horn with 4 rivets.
Finally this second servo snaps into the shaft of previous servo in the shoe plate (in the typical Robobuilder joint assembly mechanism) and the joint is secured with a long, sturdy Rivet.
The knee assembly resembles the 57xx with the knee cover housing 2 servos. However, because the servos are smaller there’s a more room to work and perform this assembly.
Assembling the top servo on the leg uses a different type of joint. In RQ-HUNO Robobuilder introduced the Backframe in the picture. It is secured with 2 screws and we then add the Joint with another 4 rivets.
Overall we felt the Legs were the procedure that took the longest, partly due to the time it took us to learn/adjust to the Rivet system and partly due to the knee assembly that takes some attention to get everything in place.
From here on, it’s pretty straightforward.
With the legs complete, we move on to the Arms.
Assembling the Arms and hands is completed in about 5 minutes: each arm takes 4 screws, 13 Rivets (that just snap in) and that’s it.
Now onto the Upper Body Frame and putting everything together:
We need to fit 4 servos onto the Upper Body Frame (Hip x2 and Shoulder x2) before being able to attach the limbs. In the picture above, you can see the Right Arm and Leg fitted and the Left Hip and Shoulder servos ready to receive their counter parts.
The picture on the right shows some clever design features on the Upper Body piece that reduce the number of screws without sacrificing stability: for all 4 servos, the back now snaps into a small “housing” in the Upper Body Frame, thus requiring only 2 screws per servo.
The head part includes the Obstacle detection Sensor.
This is an IR Emitter / Receiver setup for Obstacle Detection. (A similar set up is used in the AX1 sensor of Bioloid Comprehensive.)
This is slightly different from the 5710/5720 though, where we get a more advanced Sharp IR Distance Sensor for Obstacle Detection.
It’s now time to fit the cables. The servos use a daisy chain connection, meaning you start on one edge of the Robot and work your way towards the chest.
The Robot takes 4x W cables: each cable creates one Daisy Chain on each limb. They’re all routed to the back of the Robot where we’ll now fit the battery and the controller.
(notice there’s an error in the pictures: the Light Gray Frames in the Chest shouldn’t be there; it’s just a heads up as the Chest will be covered by a nice looking Chest Plate).
The battery snaps in place by using double-sided Rivets as well. This offers an easy way to exchange the battery if needed.
Next all the Servo cables connect to the controller (it doesn’t really matter which one goes where as they’re all Daisy Chained, except the PC connector).
The next step is fitting the Power Board/Battery Charging board to the side of the controller.
This board lets you run your RQ-HUNO off the battery or off the wall adapter. Additionally it is used to charge the battery without having to remove it.
Next in line is the Obstacle Detection Sensor. The sensor plugs into Analog Sensor Port 1 (it’s the 3 wire connector in the picture on the right). There are 4 of these Analog ports in the RQ-HUNO controller.
The final step before the chest cover is installing the Communications Breakout Board
The communications board exposes the connector for the PC (or for other MCUs for hackers) and can take the optional Bluetooth Module to enable Wireless Communication (wireless programming from the PC and Wireless Control using your Android Device and the Robobuilder App)
The Communications board is included in the Kit; the Bluetooth board is an optional accessory that's available here (the optional bluetooth board is very simple to install; just insert it into the headers on the COMM board and that's it).
WARNING! Information for Hackers ahead:
A really cool thing about this new connector and Communications board is that the signal is at TTL level.
This means you can hack the Robot and use the Robot’s serial protocol to extend its “brains” with an extra computer or MCU ( Raspberry PI, Omnima MiniEmbWifi, or a simple Arduino).
Combined with the nice Serial protocol it offers a a way extend your Robot with more powerful autonomous processing.
For the final assembly step, RQ-HUNO includes a nice modding Chest. We install it and, power it up and here's our own Robot in all it's Glory!
(we're fond of our nice picture and proud of our new born )
We like the Blue lighting on the Robot; Blue is only LED color in the Servos and makes for a nice overall Look and good contrast with the Black Frame.
First Turning On:
As with all Robobuilder Robots, when you turn it on it already comes with a set of Pre Programmed Motions that are ready to run out of the box.
For RQ-HUNO these are Walk, Turn, Get Up and Soccer Kick (on the 57xx instead of Kick you have Punch).
( leasson learned from the video: don't hold Robots by the head )
Adjusting the Zero Position (aka “the Zeros”):
To tweak the performance of RQ-HUNO, Robobuilder recommends that you adjust the Zeros on the Robot (called “trimming” in Kondo language).
The Robot is capable of walking and working with the default configuration (as you can see on the video above), but fine tuning the Zeros definitely improves the performance.
In our case, the Ankle/left leg were the ones that could use some tuning. As a reference, the Robot is correctly adjusted when the back is aligned with
the back of the shoe plate and they’re all perfectly upright.
The Zero adjustment procedure is extremely simple and you don’t need to use the computer: just press the buttons on the controller and RQ-HUNO guides
through adjusting each servo, one at a time. It combines the built in Servo LEDs (to signal which one you’re tuning), the buttons on the controller (to
tune CW/CCW) and a clever Reference Adjustment wheel to do this.
The Reference Adjustment wheel fits into a Servo Horn and provides visual cues for adjusting the servo (the small lines will align with parts of
the Assembled Robot for example).
In case you’re wondering, you don’t need to take the Robot apart for inserting this Guide: many of the servos have the Shaft exposed (as they assemble with a Joint at 90º) so you simply plug the Adjustment wheel into the exposed shaft.
We ran 2 rounds of adjustments: one initial adjustment with the help of the Adjustment Wheel (to put all the servos within the expected tolerances) and then ran a second round of Visual Fine tuning to make the final alignments.
The Robot should be standing on a flat table when you run the final tuning.
Below is a video of our newly adjusted our Robot. We really felt the Robot’s performance improved.
And here's another video (from Robobuilder) with the fly-wieght RQ-HUNO jumping around in cool gaits (we'll be posting these Motions on the product page shortly; we haven't downloaded these Motions to our Robot yet):
A word on Software:
RQ-HUNO features the same software package as the 5710/5720 Robots: you have MotionBuilder to program new motions into the Robot (featuring the “catch-and-play” for Fast and Easy creation of Motions), there’s ActionBuilder for very basic IF...THEN programming and there’s support for Microsoft Robotics Studio.
EDIT Nov 6th: In addition, RQ-HUNO supports the exact same RBC protocol used by the 57xx robots (the bigger brothers).
This means the controller exposes a Serial protocol that lets you query all the sensorial status of the Robot over a TTL Serial or Wireless Bluetooth (SPP) connection.
The first thing we want to say is that the Robot is very snappy and handles itself extremely well.
With the 3kgf.cm servos, the new Rivet system and the lighter weight, everything comes together in a package that's quite efficient. The lower torque means faster speed and this fly-weight Robot knows how to take advantage of it.
Like all Robobuilders, RQ-HUNO has a very smooth learning curve: it comes Ready to Run out of the box and you can work your way through the simple Graphical tools (MotionBuilder/ActionBuilder) up to Intermediate and Advanced topics such as Microsoft Robotics Studio (MSRDS) and direct control with the Serial Protocol.
RQ-HUNO and 5710K/5720T:
The first important point to note is that RQ-HUNO is not designed to replace the 5710K/5720T.
The bigger 5710/5720 Robots are positioned in the segment above: they’re bigger their shiny Metal Chests, come with stronger servos (8kgf.cm and 11kgf.cm), include more sensors (such as the Acceleration Sensor for getting up when it falls) and offer similar Software features. They have also been hacked, modded and documented beyond exhaustion.
RQ-HUNO takes the best features of the 5710K/5720T and offers them as an entry level Robot: Robobuilder employed chirurgical precision cutting corners to bring price down while maintaining great features.
It’s the new entry level Robot for Robobuilder and possibly THE entry level Humanoid Robot in its class. (Programmable, Daisy Chain Serial servos, hackable and carrying the latest technology).
We find it a great Robot for those who like Humanoid Robots (with great hacking potential) and it’s an excellent Robot for someone new to Humanoid Robotics on a budget.
Speaking for myself, we have plenty of (expensive) Humanoids around the Lab but I would not dismiss this one (for its features and the appealing price tag)
RQ-HUNO is now available from our online store here. The price is £316.50 incl. VAT.
Last edited by PedroR on Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:38 pm; edited 3 times in total
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