About this project
Since we have surpassed our original goal of $5,000 we have crunched the numbers and with the extra volume, we can supply additional modules with the mePed Electronics Kits and Complete Kits at no extra cost to our backers!
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The #mePed project allows anyone to build their very own open source walking robot! Click to Tweet!
What is mePed?
mePed is an awesome little open source quadruped robot which allows anyone to build their very own walking robot with no prior knowledge in robotics at a price point that almost anyone can afford.
Who is mePed for?
The mePed is targeted towards beginners as well as more advanced makers. Out of the box, the mePed is pre-programmed with a simple set of commands that allow you to make the robot move around the room, wave, and dance. With a little bit of extra programming, you can make the mePed navigate mazes, avoid obstacles, or anything else you can imagine. Everything about the mePed is open source so you can hack it, remix it, and reprogram it to make it unique and your own!
What's the goal for mePed?
Our goal for mePed is to bring the price of the kit down low enough so that anyone can build a programmable walking robot for under $100. Most comparable robot kits cost $200 or more and are closed source.
By supporting our Kickstarter campaign you are helping us increase our buying power by enabling us to buy components in large quantities, thus receiving deeper discounts on the parts that make up the mePed. We will pass those discounts on to all of our backers and future customers.
What's in the kit?
The mePed v2.0 kit will include everything needed to assemble and start having fun with your very own mePed Quadruped Robot! From the high quality MDF wood pieces and fasteners that make up the body of the mePed to the custom printed circuit board, pre-programmed Arduino Nano Compatible controller, Ultrasonic Range Sensor, and IR Remote Control. You'll even get the hex and end wrenches needed to tighten the nuts and bolts. Just add 4AA batteries and you'll be up and running!
In addition to running 8 servos and controlling the mePed with an IR Remote, we have also added BlueTooth and I2C ports to the circuit board for more communication options. All unused pins from the Arduino Compatible controller have also been broken out in a pin header for adding more sensors and other components.
The mePed robot is completely open source, from the hardware files needed to build the structure to the electronics and software. The mePed v1.0 hardware and software files can already be found on our website: www.meped.io. The source files for mePed v2.0 will be released after this Kickstarter campaign is completed.
Since the mePed is open source, you can easily reprogram it, hack it, add new sensors, or even change the design of the body and 3D print it!
In early 2015 I ran across the open source meArm robot project on Thingiverse.com and I built one for myself. After a little while, I realized that there weren't many places to purchase a meArm kit in the USA. I began selling meArms online and after a couple months, I wanted to give back to the open source community by creating my own open source robot. Using a couple components from the meArm and some of the design concepts, I set out to build the first mePed robot. With the permission of Ben Gray, the designer of the meArm, I settled on the name mePed because parts of the walking robot were borrowed from the open source meArm!
I have been selling a partial kit of mePed v1.0 for nearly a year now. This partial kit contains the mePed body, 8 servos, and the nuts and bolts required to assemble the main structure but no electronics. The end user was required to supply their own circuit board, micro controller, and supporting sensors.
Fast forward to May, 2016, I have redesigned parts of the mePed to increase the strength of the legs, reduce torque on the servos, improve the visual appeal of the robot, and added mounting holes for various components such as the new PCB and a battery holder. I have also designed and ran a couple small batches of PCBs for the mePed, refining the PCB layout and features along the way.
Risks and challenges
Our main risks and challenges will revolve around our supply chain and making sure all of the necessary components arrive in a timely manner. I believe that we have more than enough previous experience to handle any challenges that come our way.
We have been building and selling partial mePed v1.0 kits for about a year which involves sourcing components from overseas as well as producing the mePed bodies in house on our own laser cutter.
The main difference between what we sourced for mePed v1.0 kits and the new v2.0 kits is that we'll be sourcing the custom PCBs, Arduino Compatible controllers, and a few other electronic components. We have already sourced two batches of PCBs with great success using files we generated with the open source PCB editor, KiCAD.
We have also set up alternate suppliers for each component in the event that our current sources are not able to keep up with demand or in case of other unforeseen issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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