Thursday, October 23, 2003
      ( 8:56 AM ) Matt  

Quick, Easy Walking Robot

On Tuesday I was sure I'd build a light seeker. On Wednesday I was leaning toward the line follower. Today, I'm almost certain I will build a walking robot for the ECRG this year. So, here's my plan to build a walking robot in 2 weekends.

First weekend: I'll use the pile of Lego under my bed to build the mechanics of the robot. The simplest way to build a walker that I know of is to start with wheels. Imagine I have a 6 wheeled vehicle, and I attatch a vertical rod to each wheel. If there were some way to keep those rods vertical, the bottom of each rod would trace a circle, and thus let the robot walk. Instead of making the rods stay vertical, I'll just make each one pass through a hole below the axis of the wheel. This way the end of the rod will trace a circle in the opposite direction of the spinning wheel. I just turn the wheels backwards, and the robot walks forwards.

Second weekend: Add the electronics. All we need is a simple method of avoiding obstacles. I propose two touch sensors much like an insect's antena. When the left sensor is hit, the right legs are switched into backward motion, and when the right sensor is hit, the left legs go backwards. If neither sensor is hit, the robot walks forward. This should allow the robot to navagate well enough. This very simple control model should be achievable with very little electrical hardware, making a controller unneccessary. I'll probably run my robot off of a single nine volt battery, or a few double A's.

In closing, I have to admit that the idea for the basic mechanism for this walker is not mine. A friend built a small robot with this mechanism when I was TAing 6.270.

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