Friday, December 31, 2010

Laziness is the mother of all invention

So we're kitting up 10 Hexapod kits at work, and I realized that would involve me individually programming 180 AX servos. Doing that would take far too much time and sanity using the Dynamixel Wizard on the PC, so I built up this little project to quickly program and test the servos with 2 button clicks.

Now that the holidays are over, I'm back into the swing of all things robotic. Expect some updates on Giger soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fail Giger, Fail.

Gotta laugh, Giger had some technical difficulties (leg issues) during my exhibition matches and my boss was kind enough to catch them on video. Haha!

UncleBob's RX-24F Humanoid Knight Templar II

My friend Robert Lam has a pretty awesome RX-24F humanoid as well, we ended up designing ours at the same time and thus had a good amount of back and forth discussion on various leg designs and overall design intent. My RX-24F bot is only 16 DOF and much smaller than his 18DOF bot, though he uses AX-12+ in the arms where mine is entirely RX-24F based.

Here's a pretty cool video showcasing some of Knight Templar II's moves and features!

Definitely check out UncleBob's blog as well:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mech Warfare 2010

Here's the long due highlights video of the Mech Warfare competition at Robogames 2010.

PhantomX Hexapod Demo Video

This kit was what kept me busy at work for the last month. Proof that the ArbotiX is awesome.

Bheka Owns Giger

One of my favorite moments this year at Mech Warfare 2010 @ Robogames... Gary Warren was piloting his mech Bheka, ran out of ammo, so decided to charge Giger head on. And he succeeded!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PhantomX Quadropod Prototype

Been putting the finishing touches on the software for our Quad kit, as well as working on a Mech kit for Mech Warfare.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sleep Deprived Progress...?

In an effort that is part anti-jetlag-preparation, part sheer will, and part robot-obsession, I've managed to stay up all night working on walking gaits for the lightweight RX-24F prototype (yet to be named).

Video update, as promised!

Still a lot of polish needed.

Speaking of Giger...

Here's a quick video I threw together to show off Giger in his latest incarnation, just about ready to compete in Korea:

This is the 5th? revision in the 18 months of his life, if that gives you any idea of just how often I change my mind with this robot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

IRC 2010 Countdown

So I'm leaving for S. Korea to attend and compete in the International Robot Competition 2010 in a little over 24 hours. The last 3 weeks have been an absolute blur; little or no sleep in a ceaseless effort to get as many robots ready as possible.

Giger, my 6kg EX-106+ humanoid suffered a pretty critical servo comm chip failure 2 weeks ago, resulting in the entire legs having to be rebuilt. I also upgraded his arms to heavier duty servos, so his center of gravity shifted decently and thus I had to redo almost all of his walking gaits from scratch. The one saving grace, is that the Farrell's controller is an absolute godsend to work with, so Giger is ready to be packed up in his Pelican case and rock and roll (and hopefully fair decently in the Kung Fu competitions).

I also have an RX-24F (now RX-28) based Parallel Leg Mechanism humanoid that I had started work on under 2 weeks ago in hopes I'd have it ready in time for the competition. Long story short, I underestimated the holding torque on the RX-24F and had to replace all of the load bearing servos with RX-28s. While waiting for the 28s to show up, I decided to strip down the bot's legs and build a MUCH smaller RX-24F lightweight humanoid. As fate would have it, this one actually worked out better than expected. Just over 24 hours old and it's running around, super quick. See below for initial progress, I'll post more updates as I get the walking gaits tuned in a bit finer.

Starting off

Hey all,

I'm Andrew Alter and I have a pretty cool job working for Trossen Robotics as our head techie/hardware guy/R&D lead/general gearhead. I write for Robot & Servo Mag a decent amount as well as for our company blog, but wanted my own personal blog so I could post various updates on various robots I'm working on and not have to worry about it being in a professional format. I also run Mech Warfare with my friend Mike Ferguson of Vanadium Labs, so you'll probably end up hearing about my misadventures regarding that too. I'll probably repost some of the more interesting projects I've done in the past for reference as well.

Anyway, cheers! Hopefully this venture will prove to be somewhat entertaining for you guys out there reading. As always, if you have questions feel free to comment, email, or IM me. I can always be found lurking my company forums as well @