Creating the TROBOT 4.0
The TROBOT is a miniature six-axis articulated robot, modeled after large industrial & assembly line robots. The goal of this project is to design and build the next generation TROBOT 4.0. Version 4 will be slightly larger and much improved over its predecessors. Featuring smoother motion, a stronger mechanical structure, more payload capacity, and more precision.
The TROBOT is designed to be a small ’relatively’ safe robot, capable of safely working alongside human counterparts. I’ve worked with industrial robots for over 15 years and those large, heavy, fast, machines (that move thousands of pounds around effortlessly) require strict rules and safeguarding procedures because they are dangerous. The TROBOT simply does not have enough power to cause serious bodily harm. If you get in its way, it may hurt a little, but it won't squash you!
Previous versions of the TROBOT were built on a very tight budget. The entire project material costs were under $100. I’ve already openly shared my source code and documentation for previous versions (TROBOT 2 & 3). Those TROBOT’s have won honorable mentions in two different electronic design contests (see links below). They have also received several inquiries from individuals and from a robotics professor interested in developing and using their own.
See a Demo Video Here: What is TROBOT?
As a reward, I'm offering parts or a complete kit to build your very own TROBOT 3.0. You can select and earn one of three different levels of kits (depending on your DIY abilities and desires).
TROBOT as Laser cut TROBOT Partially Assembled
The goal of this project is to design and create TROBOT 4.0.
A stronger, more robust arm mechanical assembly with improved servo motors. New servos will offer true closed-loop control, higher torque, and more precision.
Open Source Control system:
The control system will also be migrated to the open ‘mbed’ platform (www.mbed.org). Development and final source code will be shared with all of our backers.
The Robot Studio Interface (described below) will still be functional with the mbed platform.
I've already started development of an Android (will consider iPhone too, if enough interest?) smartphone application to support the TROBOT testing and setup. The Droid app will be finished along with this project and compatible with the mbed controlled TROBOT kits.
Target date of project completion is January 2012 (Note: I'm usually very good at hitting my deadlines).
Key Dates & Targets:
- June 2011 - KickStarter Project Launch
- July 2011 - TROBOT Article to Appear in Circuit Cellar Magazine
- Aug 2011 - KickStarter Project Ends (If success, then work continues), acquire materials, begin testing and development for version 4.0
- Sept 2011 - Cut, Assemble, Pack, & Ship Backer Rewards
- Oct to Dec 2011 - Design & Testing Phase for TROBOT 4.0
- Jan 2012 - Finalize design - TROBOT 4.0 Kit Available!
I normally work with BIG ABB robots like these (some capable of moving 500kg at 7000mm/s):
The TROBOT was inspired by my desire to create a small, ultra low-cost, yet capable robot. I'm leaving the control system 'open' for others to design to their needs.
A distinguishing feature is that I figured out a way to use ABB's Robot Studio (www.robotstudio.com) software to communicate with my TROBOT. I have already developed hardware and software to use Ethernet to interface a TROBOT to a PC running Robot Studio. I can then actually run my TROBOT alongside a virtual robot using ABB's RAPID robot programming language.
Robot Studio is a powerful software tool used for simulation and offline programming of the full line of ABB Industrial robots. The 3D virtual environment makes it possible to setup, simulate, and program complex robot cells in a virtual world. ABB’s Virtual Robot Controller technology can simulate almost all of the features of their robot programming language known as RAPID on an IRC5 robot controller. More about the RS product can be found here.
Check out some of my other projects:
Videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/tbaumg
My Project Site: http://www.tbaumg.com/
Links to projects published on CircuitCellar.com: http://www.tbaumg.com/index_files/links.htm
Here is a link to my ServoCam project* (limited backer reward): http://youtu.be/riiqyXnckR4
Here is an interesting collection of TROBOT 4.0 links I’ve discovered since launching this project:
TROBOT 4.0 KIT:
At the end of the design effort, a TROBOT 4.0 mechanical kit will be available, along with sample source code to control it. Backers contributing at least $300 will receive (for reward) a duplicate of the prototype mechanical assembly kit (servos not included). Whatever servos are ultimately selected for this project will then be offered at a discounted price.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. THANK YOU for your support!
The controller system is open for you to use whatever you prefer (Please note the kits do not include a controller board). You can develop and use whatever you would like. Arduino’s can easily control the servos. I have already released sample code for the TI Stellaris LM3S9b96 and the WizNET W7100 processor. I will also be releasing sample code for the mbed processor with the TROBOT 4.0 as well.
Please note the $100 reward is for the TROBOT 3.0 (mechanical parts only) kit. This is the same as the $150 option but servos are NOT included. A part list will be available after this KickStarter effort ends. Sorry if this wasn't clear -- I can't edit the reward text description.
The TROBOT is an open platform. It can be customized for an application (just like the big robots its modeled after). Versions 2&3 use very small servos, version 4.0 will be larger and use significantly stronger servo motors making it capable of handling larger payloads. The goal is to make them useful to help with a variety of daily tasks.
What you can make the TROBOT do is limited only by your imagination.
I messed up when I started this project. I didn’t take into account the high costs for International Shipping (when I calculated rewards costs). I estimated and included U.S. domestic shipping costs. Several of you have asked how much extra for International Shipping, and to be honest I really don’t know how much it is going to cost me. To be fair, I will try to cover as much as I can afford of the shipping costs, but if you live outside the 48 contiguous United States and can contribute an extra $6 to $16 dollars, I’ll try absorb the rest of the costs (since I have exceeded my goal already)! Thanks to you all for your support and understanding!
The TROBOT was created after I figured out a way to use Robot Studio software to communication over Ethernet. I created the TROBOT just to see if I could make a miniature robot work --It worked surprisingly well. Now my goal is to create a low-cost robot that can do something significant.
ABB's Robot Studio is a software simulation tool that I frequently use for developing large robot automation cells. I use it to simulate robot motion and write code in a ‘virtual world’ before the real robot is even built.
Glad you asked, see a demo video here: http://youtu.be/yKBx3fmdeH0
The current TROBOT (3.0) is 9.5 inches tall with a total reach of about 12.5 inches; by comparison, I plan to make version 4.0 taller with similar proportions, somewhere between 12 &16 inches tall, with a reach of about 18 to 22 inches. Version 4.0 is still in its concept stage, so the design is open for change. The final size will depend on what servos are ultimately selected based on reach, power, and payload capacity.
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