Wednesday, May 15, 2013

RIT Tigerbug

This is the RIT Tigerbug robot!  My partner, Andy Anthony and I designed, built and programmed this robot for our Advanced Robotics project at RIT.  The robot is built extremely solidly with 18 Roboard 1270 servos.  The body and legs are made of bi-weave carbon fiber and structural foam sandwich for added strength and reduced weight.  Currently it is being run by a windows PC communicating via serial cable, but we hope to implement an on-board computer such as the Roboard 100 Single Board Computer so that the robot will be completely wireless.  The robot is controlled by a wireless Xbox 360 controller and does a lot of processing.  Building this robot was a great experience, and I learned a ton about robotics.

I did the majority of coding (in C++) and kinematics.  The robot uses a new walking method that we hope to get published in the near future.  The robot uses differential motion and inverse kinematic solutions to determine the change in angle of the motors.  This means that the robot moves with many small steps and also allows the robot to instantaneously switch direction mid-step, a feat no other hexapod can do.   Another cool part about this method is that frame of the foot of each leg is oriented exactly the same as the center frame, allowing each leg to be controlled individually, with the same vector as the center frame.  This is how stepping is done while walking.  We just set the z position to be a function of an incremental step number and it will move according to that function.  This new kinematic solution has never been used on a hexapod.

Here are a few other videos of the Tigerbug:

You can check out the code on github too! 

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