Apeiros - The Next Generation Open Source Robot (Canceled)
Apeiros is a user friendly, professionally designed open source mobile robot that can be used as a tool for teaching STEM.
Sorry to announce that I have decided to cancel funding for this project so that I can prepare for production along with a pre-order campaign on my website.
Please visit Abe Howell's Robotics for more information. Stay tuned because I have big plans for Apeiros!
Follow me on Twitter for more updates!
I plan to release my Apeiros robot's hardware as open source under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All of the software that I develop for Apeiros will be released under General Public License (GPL) Version3. I believe that this release strategy will provide end-users with the freedom to modify and extend Apeiros in new and exciting ways while also being able to look under the hood and learn about the designs!
Featured on Open Electronics!
Featured on Funding Freedom!
Featured on SimpleBotics!
Featured on FreeTinkers!
2nd Batch of Molded Parts Arrived on 8/22!
See update#5 for more information.
First Article Parts from New Injection Mold Tool Have Arrived!
See my project update#3 for more info.
New Wireless Development is Underway!
See my project update#1 & 2 for more information.
Apeiros makes it easy for anyone to get involved with and become immersed in the world of robotics. Use Apeiros as a tool for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) + Art = STEAM.
In order to be truly useful a robot must be able to both sense and manipulate its environment. Most robots can sense their environment and perform basic navigation. However, only a limited number of robots can manipulate objects by using various end-effectors such as a gripper. Apeiros has been professionally designed using 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. A well-known hobby servo is used to drive a truly unique optional gripper mechanism.
Apeiros supports up to a total of (5) IR sensors; (3) in the front and (2) in the back. I have done my best to design Apeiros to be functional, but in a cost effective manner. In order to keep the cost of goods low l made sure that my robot body design was compatible with the injection molding process. The rear caster, (2X) GM8 gearhead motors and acrylic top plate are secured to the injection molded base using thread forming screws. Thread forming screws will form threads in the ABS plastic as they are tightened.
Future Engineers will be able to examine mechanical prints and learn about Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T). Delve into the 3D models and design your own new parts for a custom application! If you have access to a 3D printer, then you can print your own robot body and/or create custom add-ons!
Apeiros is entirely open source with respect to hardware and software, so you can examine and modify source code along with the electrical design files for my motor & sensor shield. I plan to release my Apeiros Robot's hardware under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All of the software that I develop for Apeiros will be released under General Public License (GPL) Version 3.
All future shield designs will be made available. I used ExpressPCB's design software for all my electrical board designs. ExpressPCB offers a low cost prototype service so you can easily modify the original design and get prototype boards ASAP. I have done my best to design with future expandability in mind. That is why I added headers J7 & J8, which will allow for the connection of WW12 wheel encoders. Additionally, you can add an optional high-efficiency 3.3 volt regulator to location U2 in order to support added sensors and future add-on shields. Of course, the stackable headers provide for nearly unlimited expansion possibilities via new add-on shields.
Add a line following sensor and Apeiros can perform simple and complex line following tasks. I designed the injection molded base with two sets of mounting holes for a popular 3-sensor (QTR-3A) or 8-sensor (QTR-8A) line following array.
You can easily make Apeiros your own by customizing with wiggle eyes or numerous other forms of creative flare! Many people do not realize that creativity is very important when it comes to engineering, so go ahead and let your creativity shine!
I decided to use the recently released 32-Bit STM32 Nucleo development board (http://www.st.com/) as the "brains" for Apeiros. More specifically, I have designed my motor & sensor shield around the Nucleo F401RE development board. The Nucleo boards provide Arduino compatible headers, but also expose additional I/O pins on what is referred to as the “Morpho” headers. In this way you have access to a multitude of inputs and outputs that can be configured in many different ways.
Programs for the Nucleo board can be developed and compiled online using mbed (https://mbed.org/). Once a program has been compiled it can be copied over to a connected Nucleo board by simply dragging and dropping the new program file.
I intend to develop several basic example mbed programs, so that end-users can get started with Apeiros right out of the box. Using mbed will make it very easy for end-users to modify example programs and further extend their experience with Apeiros.
Basic Apeiros Body Kit - You get just the (1) injection molded robot body, (1) laser cut acrylic top plate, (1) 6-AA Holder, (2) GM8 motors, (2) wheels, (1) caster wheel along with various screws and hardware. Great for those who already have their own electronics and sensors. Either you will need to purchase a suitable motor driver shield or build your own. You also need to purchase or own a Nucleo F401RE board.
Basic Apeiros Kit - This is the most basic Apeiros kit. Includes everything needed to build a fully functional robot. You get (1) IR Sensor so that Apeiros can see its environment. You will need to perform some small amount of soldering in order to attach the GM8 motor wires and to construct the motor driver shield. Also need to perform the electrical and mechanical assembly. You get a USB cable, so that new programs can be uploaded. Batteries are not included.
Basic Apeiros Plus Line Following - You get the Basic Apeiros kit plus (1) 3-array line following sensor, mounting hardware and pre-crimped wiring & connectors. A great option for those who want to explore robot navigation and line following experiments.
Pre-Soldered Basic Apeiros - You get the Basic Apeiros kit, but all soldering has been completed. You just need to perform the electrical and mechanical assembly. This option is great for those who do not want to solder.
Servo Gripper Apeiros - You get the Basic Apeiros kit plus (1) servo gripper kit, which includes (1) HS-81 servo, (1) 5 volt regulator, (1) capacitor & gripper mechanics. Great for those who want to manipulate objects with their robot.
Servo Gripper Plus Line Following - You get the Servo Gripper Apeiros plus (1) 3-array line following sensor, mounting hardware and pre-crimped wiring & connectors. Great for those who want to manipulate objects with their robot & perform line following experiments.
Pre-Soldered Servo Gripper Apeiros - You get the Servo Gripper Apeiros, but all soldering has been completed. You just need to perform the electrical and mechanical assembly. This option is great for those who do not want to solder.
Fully Assembled Servo Gripper Apeiros - You get the Servo Gripper Apeiros, but all soldering, electrical & mechanical assembly has been completed for you! Simply install 6-AA batteries (purchase separately) and your robot is ready to go! Great option for those who do not want to solder or perform any assembly work.
5-Pack Basic Apeiros Bundle - You get (5) Basic Apeiros kits. Save some money by purchasing a bundle of robots. This is a great option for the classroom, a swarm research project or a robot workshop!
5-Pack Servo Gripper Apeiros Bundle - You get (5) Servo Gripper Apeiros kits. Save some money by purchasing a bundle of robots. This is a great option for the classroom, a swarm research project or a robot workshop!
$7,500 - Each Apeiros will come with (5) pieces of creative flare.
$10,000 – Develop mbed library that encapsulates robot functions.
$25,000 – Develop illustrated beginners guide to working with Apeiros.
$50,000 – Develop wireless shield for Apeiros. Supporters will have the option to purchase if this goal is met.
$75,000 – Develop C# control GUI for Apeiros (requires wireless shield)
$100,000 – ???
I will do my best to meet the above project schedule. However, if delays become known, then I will communicate them as soon as possible. It is very difficult to estimate how long it will take to fill customer orders given that I do not know the quantity of robots in advance. If I can ship orders sooner, then I will do so.
Why Support This Project?
Support this project because you will help to develop a unique robot platform that can be used as a tool for teaching concepts and theories related to STEM. Or simply explore your artistic side, but using robots as your medium. You will also help to support the development of related open source documentation which encompasses the software, electrical and mechanical designs. I am very passionate when it comes to researching, designing and building educational robots and would like to thank everyone for taking their time to learn about my project.
What are my Credentials?
I have been working as a mechanical engineer in various capacities and industries for the past 15 years. In 2003 I started Abe Howell's Robotics because I saw a need for low cost educational robots. NewCDbot was the first robot that my company offered. Yes, this robot was made from recycled compact discs, CDs!
I have been researching, designing, building and selling robots for the last 10+ years. In 2012 I completed a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on using robots as a teaching and swarm research tool. I am always interested to learn about the new and innovative ways that people use robots in educational environments.
Risks and challenges
I have been working with all of my suppliers for some time now, so I am confident in their ability to deliver parts. Based upon my previous engineering experience with injection mold tooling I would have to say that this activity has the highest risk.
In order to mitigate risk I have performed extensive functional testing on Apeiros using 3D printed parts. I have already validated the current mechanical, electrical and software designs. This means that Apeiros will perform as expected.
Throughout my 15 years of working as an engineer I have experienced and resolved numerous design, supply chain, quality and logistic issues and will use this to my advantage if problems arise on this project. Again, I will be sure to notify all supporters when delays and issues are known.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)