Friday, February 24, 2012

Hexapod Rudimentary Sketch

Here is a quick mock-up of the design for the hexapod. The red indicates where muscle wire will be attached. It still needs much work and more aesthetics. In any case this is just to give you an idea.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Revival - New Project Ideas

Hello again. I am back from a year in France and have decided to revive my project blog. I have my mind set on two new projects. One is a small robotic hexapod that uses muscle wire, and the other is a large scale art project that will turn the area outside Georgia Tech's student center into a large koi pond.

How am I going to do these? Here are some details on each:


The hexapod I will be creating will be small and relatively silent. The idea of using muscle wire comes from wanting a low-cost solution. Additional advantages are that it will be completely silent, as opposed to the far more common servo models. My Perspective and Robotics class, taught by Dr. Mike Stilman was what first sparked my real desire to build a hexapod for myself. This project would allow me to explore and model various motions and gaits. The hexapod structure is already well known for being a simple platform to start with as it is intrinsically stable. As I began to research hexapod designs, however, I discovered that any prefabricated designs were going to cost me upwards of $500 at the cheapest. I resolved, therefore, to build my own.

My hexapod prototype will be controlled with an Arduino Mini 5V microcontroller. The muscle wires themselves will be powered through a 9V battery (the Arduino cannot provide enough current itself). For the body of the hexapod, I am planning to use laser-cut polycarbonate. Each leg will have two degrees of freedom. This will be enough to allow forward, reverse, and turning motions. Using two instead of three degrees of freedom on each leg does remove the ability to walk sideways. Right now I am attempting to develop a body and leg design that could allow sideways motion through sliding and shifting of the center of mass of the robot.

Koi Pond

I have long been interested in large artwork, as shown by my footprint stencil project. I did attempt initial work towards a large koi pond, but found that the clear plastic I was using was impossible to see and too flimsy to really work with. In my new attempt, I am going even bigger than before and have ordered a 10' wide and 25' long sheet of black .006" thick Polyethylene film from McMaster-Carr. I plan to place three large fish done in spray chalk around the student center by the end of this semester. For this project I will need to document the square footage to spray chalk ratio for the recipe I choose to use.

As I work on designs towards these two projects, I will post the progress here. As soon as parts arrive, I should be able to get going!