Replaying sequences, and some thoughts…

Part 4 of my Youtube series on my desktop robot head and arm build is now available. This episode shows the robot replaying some sequences of movements, along with some new facial expressions. I was exploring how well the robot was able to convey emotions and, even with quite basic movements and facial expressions, I think it does a reasonable job. Check out the video here.

Now for some thoughts…

It’s at this point in a project that I normally reach a cross roads. On the one hand the mechanical build is complete and the electronics, although there is more to come in this project, are working as required. These are the aspects of robot building that I enjoy the most. However, I really want the robot to do something cool.  I find myself shying away from the software in favour of starting a new project where I can fire up the 3D printer and the mill. I often put this down to not having an end goal in mind for the robot and the associated software. So I am going to use this space to jot down some thoughts about this that may help me keep on track. I have made notes about some features that I would like to implement in the project which I will list below. Some are quick and fairly easy, others are going to take some time. Whether I ever get them all completed will remain to be seen, but this will prove a helpful reminder should I need to come back to the list.

  • Program and replay poses/sequences from the GUI
  • 3D model of the robot on the GUI for offline programming or real-time monitoring
  • Face detection and tracking
  • Face expression detection (smile or frown) and react accordingly
  • Automatically stop the arm when the hand switch is activated
  • Detect someone and shake their hand
  • Gripper?
  • Remote control/input to the robot via bluetooth (I have a module on the way) maybe an android app?
  • Program the robot to play simple games
  • Object detection and recognition
  • Voice input and sound/speech output
  • Mapping of visual surroundings and reacting to changes
  • Use the robot as a platform for AI development. I have worked on this in the past, trying to use neural networks to allow the robot to have some hand-eye coordination
  • Sonar/IR sensors to sense the area in front of the robot and react to changes

This is just a preliminary list of features that I think would be interesting. I will certainly return to this list myself as a reminder to keep me on track. If anyone has any other suggestions, please leave a comment as I am interested in what other people would consider useful/fun.

My ultimate goal for this project is to have a robot that can sit on my desk or in my lounge, and interact with me and my family. It may sit idle, waiting for someone to activate it, before offering a suggested game or activity. It may begin moving under its own volition, learning its environment, building a model of its world and own self, ready to react to any sensed changes. It may get bored and lonely, and make noises until someone comes to see what the robot wants and play a game. I am not sure but this is where I want the project to head. Ultimately, I will want all processing to be done on-board, so that the robot can be moved around (a Raspberry Pi is a likely candidate to achieve this).

I will keep you all updated on the progress of this project. I think small steps are required to implement each of the features above in turn. I am hoping that eventually I will be able to join all of the features together into an interesting final product.  Until next time, thanks for visiting!

EDIT: I have put my code on to Github here. This is early days in this project but I like to share, especially if it helps someone out!


Workshop improvements

Not much going on robot-wise at the moment as I’m in the process of improving my garage/workshop. I’ve made a new page titled workshop to document my progress (have a look near the top of this page). This will keep me busy for quite a while I would imagine! I’m looking forward to having this complete as I’ll have an area for my PC, a soldering station and an area for the milling machine.

Video at last!

I finally got round to tidying up the wiring on my humanoid robot and repairing the wiring on a potentiometer that got damaged when I removed it from my previous project. More importantly I spent some time on a video to show the robot in action. Check it out below!



Not much autonomy yet, except for the head when tracking an object. The next job is to continue work on the software. I need to write software to save and load a set-up file for the robot containing servo end points as not all of the servos can move to their full extents without hitting something. The next task after that is to write software to store and replay a series of moves. Not exactly autonomous but it should look cool!

Man space and new toys

I have recently moved house and as such I am now lucky enough to have a garage, or as I like to call it, the man space!  I thought it would be a good time to treat myself to some new toys for building robots.  I purchased a milling machine along with various other tools for metal working.  So I’ve got my own little workshop with everything I need for my new project, a humanoid mark 2.  As you can see in the picture, I’ve got the milling machine, storage bins and a whiteboard!  I’ve made a good start on my new robot which I’ll share in my next post.

Catching up

I’m working on creating pages of my previous robot projects for posterity and you never know, they may be of inspiration to others.  I’m also going to get some pictures of my humanoid robot as its not going to be around for much longer.  It was due a redesign and a full rebuild so I need the parts for the improved version.

First post!

Hi everyone,  welcome to my blog.  I’m going to be posting info about my robotics projects for everyone to see what I’m up to.

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