Building Zowi, the Open Source Robot

This was a very nice week-end project: building the BQ’s Zowi Open Source Robot.

You just need a 3D printer, 4 standard servos, an Arduino and cables.

Zowi Open Source Robot

Zowi Open Source Robot

I found the source at http://diwo.bq.com/zowi-cc-by-sa/

After the build I found some suggestions:

What a mess!

What a mess!

Hardware: Not all the servos come with the hub size used in the design.

Software: You have to manage to find the ocillator library and correct some misspellings.

Assembly:

  • The BQ arduino version is very cool but is not easy to find. You can use your standard arduino uno making a bigger hole on the head shell.
  • An extra hole for the switch is important too.
  • The hardest part is to fit the head shell with all the cables. A redesign with the arduino fixed toi the chasis instead of the shell could help

Many thanks to the BQ team!

 

New joints for the animatronic robot

Wall-e is an old animatronic robot we build for entertainment and social robotics research.

It is also used as a valuable platform for students projects.

Its joints are driven by different kinds of RC servos, and sometimes the servo axle is used as the robot joint. This is a weak design point and we had to change this.

We needed a neck replacement and we found a “Servo Block” kit for Hitec servos which was perfect for our robot. It was 29€ over our budget (0€) but the MechatronicMan foundation helped again.

Servo Block was perfect for our robot neck

Servo Block was perfect for our robot neck

 

As we ran out of budget we had to design and build new shoulders.

We originally used a Lynxmotion Servo joint with poor axial bearings but it was not solid enough.

Our new design used “standard” skates ball bearings. with two parts: A 3mm width aluminium plate and a 100mm width bearing support.

The old ISEL cpm 3020 did a nice work with a 3mm single flute straight carbide bit.

20140703_135424 (1)20140703_173840 After a sandblasting the plate looks very professional! isn’t it?

20140703_183151

 

And the final assembly with the quarter scale RC servo gives a solid joint for our robot.

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That’s all. I just wanted to show it.

In the future I’m not using RC servos anymore unless I build a toy robot.

By the way, the joint in action were seen in last post : Animatronic at the Postgraduate Courses presentation 2015-16

Bye.

Animatronic at the Postgraduate Courses presentation 2015-16

Our animatronic robot made a new appearance after some neck and shoulder surgery.

This was the first Postgraduate Course presentation of the University of Málaga.

We had to refurbish some of the Wall-e’s old joints, but he´s a good nice robot and did his job nicely.

Some work has to be done to improve the robot’s power system and battery charge. Anyone?

Many thanks again to my postgraduate students.

 

More videos of Wall-e in this playlist:

Wall-E Animatronic Robot at a Comic Conference

Last weekend Wall-e showed its last capabilities:

– Head-Arm Gesture control.

– Locomotion control.

– Central controller Wireless communication (raspberry pi based).

– LoL (Lots of LiPo’s)

Esteban and Felix had a very hard work to get all this working together.

People enjoyed watching this expressive character.

Among other things to be done are:

– Minor surgery on its left arm.

– A little brain able to link all its sensors with the locomotion and gesture system.

I’m using this platform as a valuable tool for student Master Thesis. They learn a lot and have a good time. So students are wanted to complete the robot.

… and BTW, If you are in the area and interested on a Show. Let us know!

Cheers

 

Presented Master Thesis about Facial Expressions on Animatronic Robot

Daniel Casale presented it Master Thesis project last December 2013, with the maximum qualification.

CAM00154

Thanks to the good job of Daniel, the robot’s head is finally moving, and making recognizable expressions despite the lack of “mouth”.

He also made a survey at the School of Engineering of the Universidad de Málaga, in order to measure the accuracy of the set of facial expressions.

CAM00090

The rest of the animatronic platform was started years ago and documented in the amateur spanish blog: http://hombremecatronico.es/2010/05/electronica-de-control-de-la-cabeza/

Some other projects are to be developed on this platform. Interested students, please contact me.

Thanks again, Daniel.

Oferta de Proyecto Fin de Carrera: Control de expresiones faciales en un robot animatrónico

Objetivo: El proyecto consiste en la programación del software de control de la cabeza de un robot animatrónico. La cabeza está dotada de cuatro grados de libertad para controlar su giro, elevación, orientación y expresión, y sus ojos poseen iluminación con patrones variables y cejas móviles con dos grados de libertad cada una.

El controlador  está basado en dos microcontroladores compatibles con la familia arduino, y la mecánica y electrónica se encuentra ya implementada. Todos los componentes y materiales se encuentran ya disponibles.

Robot animatrónico

Requerimientos: Conocimientos de control, programación y robótica.

Solicitud: Los alumnos interesados deberán enviar un resumen de curriculum incluyendo las asignaturas cursadas.

Contacto: Jesús Manuel Gómez de Gabriel (jesus.gomez@uma.es)