Tag Archives: hexapod

Charlie and Billy are cute, smartphone-controlled bots


An Israeli engineer designs a pair of bio-inspired, 3D-printed hexapod robots. 


If you’ve ever stopped by one of our Maker Faire booths, then you surely know our love for hexapod robots. Just ask “Wizard of Make” Bob Martin. Inspired by UC-Berkeley’s recent STAR project, Israel-based Maker Jonathan Spitz recently created a 3D-printed, blue beetle-like bot named Billy.

billycharlie

The proof-of-concept is not only comprised of 3D-printed parts, but is powered by an an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4), a pair of LiPo batteries and dual DC motors. Billy can be controlled using a joystick smartphone app via a built-in Bluetooth module, while his two different sets of legs — straight and spiral — allow him to navigate any terrain.

Shortly after the success of his first build, Spitz decided to develop a second working prototype. Charlie is 3D-printed, cricket-esque hexapod robot that can also be controlled via a mobile device. Impressively, Billy’s smaller and smarter sibling is capable of walking upside down (if he ever flips), climbing over objects of his size, as well as maneuvering up slopes as steep as 45 degrees. The latest iteration of the bot is driven by an Arduino Micro, which receives commands through Bluetooth. The ATmega32U4 based board relays signals to two “baby orangutan” microprocessors that control Charlie’s four motors, which of course, are used for strolling and sprawling.

While Billy consists of 20 parts, Charlie’s 38 different components will require a little longer to assemble. Interested in learning more about the bot brothers? Head on over to their official page here. Meanwhile, watch them in action above!

Bot-Logic Hexapod is Arduino-compatible and open source

A hexapod robot is a flexible, mechanical vehicle that navigates on six legs and is often used to try out various biological theories about locomotion, motor control and neuro-biology.

Unfortunately, many basic hexapods can’t sense they’ve reached the edge of a surface without additional, costly hardware. Servos may also burn out when weight is unevenly distributed between legs, while the energy required for servo operation can overload the typical hexapod power supply, causing the host controller to reset or fail.

hexapod

Enter the Bot-Logic Hexapod, an easy-to-assemble hexapod kit and controller that enables servos to double as sensors, meaning legs and grippers can set and check applied force, allowing the ‘bot to sense surface edges and uneven servo loads.

Key Bot-Logic Hexapod specs include a switching power supply board, integrated SD card interface, on-board 2X16 LCD display, three-axis accelerometer and 12-pin expansion connectors (up to three expansion boards per ‘bot). The Bot Logic crew is also working on a number of modules, including Bluetooth, Gyro, GPS receiver and a basic prototype board.

Currently, the Bot-Logic components are available in various configurations, from basic shield-level scaling up to full kit level. Specifically, an Educational Bot-Logic Shield is priced at $169 and includes a Bot-Logic LEO Shield (control board only) for Arduino UNO and Leonardo. Next up is the Advanced Bot-Logic (DUE) Shield (control board only) with a $239 price tag for Arduino MEGA and DUE.

Meanwhile, basic kit-level backers will receive a package that allows the use of any builder-supplied MG996R-compatible servos and servo mounting hardware, along with the utilization of any battery pack within the specification of the servos selected. A further breakdown is as follows: $269 Basic Quadrapod Kit, which includes injection-molded plastic parts, Bot-Logic LEO shield and Arduino Leonardo. The Basic HexaPod Kit will cost you $359 and is packaged with injection-molded plastic parts, Bot-Logic DUE shield, Arduino Mega 2560.

The final tier is for full kit-level backers, which includes servos, servo mounting hardware and everything else needed except the 6Volt battery pack. Specifically, the Full Kit is priced at $419 and comes with injection-molded plastic parts, servos, Bot-Logic LEO shield, Arduino Leonardo. The Kit4 offers up injection-molded plastic parts, servos, Bot-Logic DUE shield, Arduino Mega 2560.

Additional information can be found on the official Bot-Logic Hexapod Kickstarter site.