Archive for November, 2010

1968c – Cybernetic Mouse – Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

robot mouse deBoer x640 1968c   Cybernetic Mouse   Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

The mouse machine was built around two servo motors. One is underneath the robot and drives the two rear wheels. The second servo, visible in the front part, moves a steering wheel to the left or right. There are three of those old fashioned relays visible on the left, used to activate the servo motors. All around the robot are a series of bumper contacts that provide collision information. There are two light sensitive cells in the two tubes in front that serve as eyes to steer towards a light source. It would drive around and the direction would be determined by the relative levels of light coming form the right and the left. And it worked its way around obstacles using the bumpers. This was built in the late 1960's and as far as Johan remembers it worked quite well.

(*-Johan de Boer currently lives in Canada.)


1970-3 – Computer Maze – Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

Computer 1970 deBoer x640 1970 3   Computer Maze   Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

Computer 1970 insides deBoer x640 1970 3   Computer Maze   Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

Johan de Boer's description (from private correspondence 2010)

"A second project [ RH: to the Cybernetic Mouse] was the maze where a light was used to indicate the position of an imaginary mouse in the maze. The maze could be changed with small removable barriers. Each square had a small light bulb that would be on if the (imaginary) mouse would be in that square. This whole thing was a cube with sides of about 20 cm. Unfortunately there is no photo and this thing was lost (or scavaged, possibly).
This maze/mouse was controlled with a small especially designed and build computer. This was about 1970-1973. I still have the computer (two photos are attached), and I recently discovered that I still have the schematics for the computer (see pdf here). It was build with about 100 of the 74 series chips, set on 5 circuitboards with an aweful lot of wiring. It has a 1kb (kilobit, not kilobyte) memory chip into which a total of 64 instructions could be loaded. This would run programs at a speed of at most 200 instructions per second (illustrates my electronics skills, I guess). It would query the condition of the maze and sent instructions to the maze in order to change the light bulb that was illuminated. I could then alter the programming in order to come up with something that would learn its way through the maze. The computer, of course was a general purpose machine that could be used to control anything, even an elaborate electric trainset, I would think. "


(*-Johan de Boer currently lives in Canada.)

1987-88 – “First-Step” Quadruped Walking Machine – David Buckley (British)

FirstStep David Buckley p2 x640 1987 88   First Step Quadruped Walking Machine   David Buckley (British)

First-Step by David Buckley  September 1987 
 
Four Legged Walking Robot, uses 3-D pantograph arrangement to produce a gravitationally decoupled leg mechanism similar to that used by Shigeo Hirose, A Study of Design and Control of a Quadruped Walking Vehicle, The International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol 3, No. 2, 1984.
Won a Silver medal at the 1988 Model Engineer Exhibition.

FirstStep Quadruped walking machine 1987 1987 88   First Step Quadruped Walking Machine   David Buckley (British)
Photograph – Scale Models International, April 1988, p207.
Design and building started September 1987.
Size – body about 6" * 6" * 6", leggs extend to about 15" * 15".
Operational area – 4ft * 2ft plus host computer.

First-Step was Britain's first electrically powered advanced walking robot. (Britain's only other [circa 1987] 'walker' had six pneumatically powered legs.)

See David's page on First-Step here for the complete story.


1978-9 – PV-II 4-Legged Walking Machine – Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

PV II x640 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

PV II Japanese Stair Climber x640 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Research on Quadruped Walking Machines    

PV II colour x640 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Photo.2 Sensor based stair climibing walk of the PV-II.

KUMO-I (1976, see here), PV-II (1978-1979, Photo. 2). The method of locomotion called "walking" requires considerably more actuators than the wheel me thod of locomotion, the drive system is heavy; and it is not simple to control. However, walking machines, because they can move while separately selecting the point of leg contact with the ground by adapting to the shape of the terrain, are fully practical, depending on the use, because they have such characteristics as:

1) Can move stably over a rugged surface, and can pass over fragile objects on the ground surface without touching them.

2) Can make holonomic omnidirectional motion without slipping or damaging the ground surface.

3) Utilizing the degrees of freedom of the legs it can become a stable and active platform even on a rugged surface when stopped for some manipulation task.

We have been working on walking machine research since 1976. As for the number of legs, we selected four, which is the minimum number capable of executing statically stable walk. Photo. 1 (here) is the first generation model "KUMO-I", that was first manufactured on the model of a daddy-longlegs spider and that has a leg length of 1.5 meters and a weight of 14 kg. Photo. 2 is a second generation model (PV-II). The leg length is 0.9 meters and the weight is 10 kg.

PV II fig1l 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)PV II fig1r 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Fig.1 Power consumption generated by the hips and knee joints during horizontal locomotion (The negative power cannot be regenerated, and a large amount of energy is consumed.)

When a leg is designed as shown in Fig. 1, the actuators on hip and knee joints consume positive and negative power, but a normal actuator can not regenerate the negative power. For this reason, a large amount of energy is lost. We found out that this is the reason why the energy efficiency of conventional walking vehicle is so low. In order to improve this, GDA (gravitationally decoupled actuation; a drive system configuration method that separates drive in the gravitational direction and drive in horizontal direction) shown in Fig. 2 was introduced into the prototype model. Fig. 3 indicates the 3-D pentagraph mechanism for GDA that was utilized in the PV-II. This expands the prismatic motion of the three orthogonal axes provided on the torso part, lightens the legs, and simplifies their control. In 1979, the PV-II was the world's first success in sensor based stair climbing utilizing leg-end tactile sensors and posture sensors.

PV II fig2 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)   
    
Fig.2 A leg mechanism that prevents the negative power loss of Fig.1

   1. Orthogonal coordinate mechanism (basic form)
   2. The mechanism used in KUMO-I
   3. The 2-D pentagraph mechanism

PV II fig3 1978 9   PV II 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Fig.3 The newly developed three-demensional pentagraph mechanism and leg-end orientation control mechanism
 
    References:     
 
   1. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; Some Consideration on a Feasible Walking Mechanism as a Terrain Vehicle, Proc. 3rd RoManSy Symp., Udine, Italy,, , pp.357-375 (1978)
   2. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; The Basic Motion Regulation System for a Quadruped Walking Vehicle, ASME Publication 80-DET-34,, , pp.1-6 (1980)
   3. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; A Cartesian Coordinates Manipulator with Articulated Structure, Proc. 11th Int. Symp. on Industrial Robots, Tokyo,, , pp.603-609 (1981)


Just found fabulous footage of this walker plus others. 50meg download. mp4 runs for 16 mins. see here.


1976 – KUMO-I 4-Legged Walking Machine – Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

KUMO I 1976 x640 1976   KUMO I 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Research on Quadruped Walking Machines    

KUMO-I (1976, see photo above), PV-II (1978-1979, see here). The method of locomotion called "walking" requires considerably more actuators than the wheel me thod of locomotion, the drive system is heavy; and it is not simple to control. However, walking machines, because they can move while separately selecting the point of leg contact with the ground by adapting to the shape of the terrain, are fully practical, depending on the use, because they have such characteristics as:

1) Can move stably over a rugged surface, and can pass over fragile objects on the ground surface without touching them.

2) Can make holonomic omnidirectional motion without slipping or damaging the ground surface.

3) Utilizing the degrees of freedom of the legs it can become a stable and active platform even on a rugged surface when stopped for some manipulation task.

We have been working on walking machine research since 1976. As for the number of legs, we selected four, which is the minimum number capable of executing statically stable walk. Photo. 1 (above) is the first generation model "KUMO-I", that was first manufactured on the model of a daddy-longlegs spider and that has a leg length of 1.5 meters and a weight of 14 kg. Photo. 2 (here) is a second generation model (PV-II). The leg length is 0.9 meters and the weight is 10 kg.

PV II fig1l 1976   KUMO I 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)PV II fig1r 1976   KUMO I 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Fig.1 Power consumption generated by the hips and knee joints during horizontal locomotion (The negative power cannot be regenerated, and a large amount of energy is consumed.)

When a leg is designed as shown in Fig. 1, the actuators on hip and knee joints consume positive and negative power, but a normal actuator can not regenerate the negative power. For this reason, a large amount of energy is lost. We found out that this is the reason why the energy efficiency of conventional walking vehicle is so low. In order to improve this, GDA (gravitationally decoupled actuation; a drive system configuration method that separates drive in the gravitational direction and drive in horizontal direction) shown in Fig. 2 was introduced into the prototype model. Fig. 3 indicates the 3-D pentagraph mechanism for GDA that was utilized in the PV-II. This expands the prismatic motion of the three orthogonal axes provided on the torso part, lightens the legs, and simplifies their control. In 1979, the PV-II was the world's first success in sensor based stair climbing utilizing leg-end tactile sensors and posture sensors.

PV II fig2 1976   KUMO I 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)   
    
Fig.2 A leg mechanism that prevents the negative power loss of Fig.1

   1. Orthogonal coordinate mechanism (basic form)
   2. The mechanism used in KUMO-I
   3. The 2-D pentagraph mechanism

PV II fig3 1976   KUMO I 4 Legged Walking Machine   Hirose & Umetani (Japanese)

Fig.3 The newly developed three-demensional pentagraph mechanism and leg-end orientation control mechanism

   
    References:    
   

   1. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; Some Consideration on a Feasible Walking Mechanism as a Terrain Vehicle, Proc. 3rd RoManSy Symp., Udine, Italy,, , pp.357-375 (1978)
   2. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; The Basic Motion Regulation System for a Quadruped Walking Vehicle, ASME Publication 80-DET-34,, , pp.1-6 (1980)
   3. Shigeo Hirose, Yoji Umetani; A Cartesian Coordinates Manipulator with Articulated Structure, Proc. 11th Int. Symp. on Industrial Robots, Tokyo,, , pp.603-609 (1981)