[Robotics] Playing with Robots from Scratch

by Pei-Wen Wang

Building a robot of your own includes the following four steps: Designing, Selecting Parts, Assembly, and Programming.

I. Designing

1. Functions of your robot:

There is no need to make it too difficult or complicated, while capabilities of performing simple tasks will be the main goal.

2. The body structure and muscle system for movement:

The body structure can be a robotic arm, an eight-legged spider, or a wheeled vehicle. Also, how the robot moves around should also be taken into consideration. There are robots that use two feet, four limbs, eight claws, or wheels.

3. Control methods:

There are wired methods using wires or network cables. You can also choose wireless control using infrared, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and radio frequency. Autonomous robots is also a good option.

II. Selecting Parts

Parts required include a driver, power source, a control board, a motor controller, and a sensory system. It is recommended that beginners start with picking the suitable drivers such as DC motor and servos.

III. Assembly

This step mainly involves the design and production of the body structure, followed by the assembly of all parts and devices.

IV. Programming

In the last step, to program the programming language into the robot’s chip requires knowledge in robot control and skills in computer programming. There are control boards that people can buy from stores to serve as human-machine interface (HMI) software for developers.

Robots that we often see:

Otto

A completely opensource and interactive robot composed of 3D-printed structures and electronic components. With its adorable look and elegant moves, Otto can perform dance moves and avoid obstacles through simple programming. It can also be remotely-controlled using Bluetooth and apps on mobile phones.

PLEN

A small size bipedal robot. With 18 movable joints (servos), PLEN can perform a series of movements with stability and balance well due to its small size. In addition to standard movements and walking, if designed properly, PLEN can even perform complex moves such as roller skating and skateboarding.

JAM Robot Light

A humanoid learning robot that attracts everyone’s attention. It is built using two moving feet that are of great importance to bipedal robots, the mechanical parts made of laser-cut woods, topped with the perfect combination for robot control board- Linklt 7697 plus Robot shield.

Conclusion

After a few successful trials, it is hoped that you have figured out how to design and build robots in a set of processes that suit you well! Therefore, the final, also an important step, is to find a piece of paper and start designing your own one!

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