The TROLLER 1D is my newest robot project. The concept uses a series of simple 'links' to make up the TROLLER. Its locomotion can be similar to that of a caterpillar or snake while laying flat, but the novel concept is that it can roll itself into a large circle and still propel itself (like tank treads) by shifting links in the proper sequencing.
May 28, 2012 – Update: Back to the drawing board...
I'm anxious to keep this project moving, so I spent a good part of the long weekend completely redesigning the TROLLER prototype (with parts I already have).
I laser cut and assembled a complete new TROLLER prototype.
I made this version wider, to make it more stable. Then I doubled up some of the servos to get extra torque at the master link.
I still have countless hours of programming ahead of me; but a after a short while I was able to get it a complete revolution out of the new prototype.
Although the new prototype demonstrates my need for better servo motors and equipment it also is teaching me more about how to make this TROLLER go round-and-round.
The goal of this project is to refine the second iteration prototype design into a functional robotic product kit. The first version will be the TROLLER 1D. This version of TROLLER will only be capable of moving along 1 dimension. By limiting the focus of this project to a single dimension, I will be able to perfect the initial two concepts --'Propulsion by Self Rolling' and 'Crawling'.
Propulsion by Self Rolling works by shifting the links in sequences to rotate itself around the perimeter. To refine this concept the TROLLER 1D will use motion sensing capabilities like the sensors found in a Wii remote (accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors). These sensors will allow the control programming to learn how to roll at different speeds, how to change directions, and how to transition into crawling mode. Crawling propulsion will be achieved by mimicking the movements of a caterpillar. Proper sequencing of the servos will allow smooth transitioning.
Mechanical design: I will begin this effort by refining the mechanical link design into a 'Master Link' and 'Link Units'. The 'Master Link' will enclose the main controller, motion sensing & wireless communication circuitry, a battery pack, and servo motors. The 'Link Units' will have servo motors and additional battery packs It would then take 1 Master Unit and 3 or 4 Link Units to make up a full TROLLER 1D.
Motion Sensing & Control: The main controller will be responsible for controlling the TROLLER 1D. It will use wireless (Bluetooth or WiFi) communication to the host PC and motion sensing electronics to measure acceleration and rotation, while rolling. This circuitry will be designed during the project phase.
This Kickstarter effort will provide the funding needed to further develop the motion sensing and locomotion concepts and turn my crude prototype into a functional product kit. The funds will be used to purchase and test more powerful servo motors, micro-controllers, motion sensing circuitry, wireless Bluetooth or WiFi modules, and the hardware needed to assemble the TROLLER.
TROLLER 1D Kits: The end result of this Kickstarter effort will produce an educational TROLLER 1D robot kit that will be available on the new TROBOTOWN.com website. Because the actual parts needed to build the TROLLER are not yet known, most TROLLER kits offered as rewards will not include servos or control electronics. However, I will offer a very limited number of complete kits that willl be a duplicate of whatever the final design ends up being.
At the end of the design effort I will present the material costs for servos and electronics and offer those at the best deal I can by purchasing large quantities in-bulk from my suppliers, and passing the savings on to you.
Although the TROLLER 1D will move along a single dimension, future TROLLER's will build off of the 1D link units and be capable of moving in multiple directions. Pivoting and rotating links units will be created. Below is a future concept drawing for the 'TROLLER DUO' - with a payload box, and the ability to roll, crawl, and even walk like other 4 legged robots.
I normally work with BIG robots like these (some capable of moving 500kg at 7000mm/s):
I spend much of my free time developing small robot projects and working with embedded control systems. Most recently I developed some small articulated robots called "TROBOTs". They were inspired by my desire to create a small, ultra low-cost, yet capable hobby robot.
The newest version, TROBOT 4.0 is the result another successful Kickstarter project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tbaumg/trobot-40-a-miniature-articulated-robot.
As rewards, I'm offering TROBOT kits & related products. Most of the items seen on the new TROBOTOWN.com website are now being offered as rewards.
For the first time, I'll be offering TROBOT 3, TROBOT 4, and TROLLER Link kits as a 'Glue-It-Yourself' option. The process is similar to putting together a plastic model car or plane. I will soon be posting a 'How to glue TROBOT kits' tutorial video.
Also, all backers will get their name added to a special "Thank You" section of the official website.
I did a Google Search on ‘TROLLER robot’ and I was surprised to see so many links (like engadget and hackaday). I really like one of the comments, it read something along the lines of ‘It’s like tank treads…. …but without the Tank’.
Target date of project completion is March 2013
Key Dates & Targets:
- May 2012 - KickStarter Project Launch
- June 2012 - KickStarter Project Ends (If success, then work continues), acquire materials, begin testing and development for the TROLLER.
- July to Sept 2012 - Cut, Assemble, Pack, & Ship Backer Rewards
- Oct 2012 to Feb 2013 - Design & Testing Phase for TROLLER 1D
- Mar 2013 - Finalize design - TROLLER 1D Kits Available!
Because this project is an entirely new type of robot locomotion and (as far as I know) has never been done before! I’ve already done enough development that I know I can make it work; I just need better servos and equipment to turn this into a reliably functional robot.
The goal is to develop an entirely new method for a robot to propel itself. Most mobile robots use wheels, treads, or legs to move around. This is something different, the beginning of a new way for robots to traverse. It can be further refined for many years to come.
I have design ideas to allow the TROLLER 1D to upright itself by simply stretching out flat. Also, the TROLLER 1D will be wider and the weight will be better distributed, but the main focus of this project is to develop 'crawling' and 'propulsion by rolling'. This project is the first iteration of a long term development project.
I've been developing robot and automation equipment for over 15 years. This is a complicated robot project and it will take some time to fully create. I’m a persistent person and I will keep working on the project one step at a time.
Simple answer, this version will not. I have concept designs to make swiveling and rotating links, but it doesn’t makes sense to develop those until after I can make it reliably crawl and roll. Those will simply be additional links that will make the system more dynamic once the basic concepts are developed.
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