Best DIY Biped Walking Robot to build from your home

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With regard to robots, in the early days of robots people said, 'Oh, let's build a robot' and what's the first thought? You make a robot look like a human and do human things. That's so 1950s. We are so past that.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson

We are so much fascinated with robots because they are the reflections of ourselves. Also it is a fact that robots can harvest, cook, carry out industrial activities and even serve us the food, leading us towards a future where our age of work will come to an end.

Ever since we started to research into robotics, the main concerning point was to make it resemble more human and assist us in activities. And a lot of innovators succeeded in that too, making the robot to look more like humans and carry out the activities as we do normally.

One of the challenging aspect in this is to make the robot commute like humans. Yes, the walking action performed by us is more complicated than we think.

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Obviously it is the most distinct quality that we possess which separates us from other animals. And no wonder that is what evolution has lead us to in addition to other primitive modifications.

Making the robot to walk like humans was a big challenge for all the robotics researchers and they had to do vigorous trials to perfect it. And yet here we are, having a robot with a citizenship walking along with us.

This made a number of innovative minds curious about the biped mechanism (walking motion) of robots and they too want to build a one for their own.

So, if you are one such innovator who is looking to build your very own biped walking robot at home then this article is just for you.

Here are some useful insights to get you started with humanoid robotics,

What are the pre-requisites to build your first biped robot?

Since making a robot to walk on its own using a 2 legged motion is difficult, you need to get some pre-requisite knowledge before starting to build one. Also it has both mechanical and electronics concepts, so it is essential to develop some expertise in them before getting started.

Some of the theoretical concepts that you need to learn are:

  • Biped Robot Schematics: Most of the biped walking robot involves 3 segments – Feet, Knee and a Hip. Each of this segments are actuated to multiple degrees simultaneously to make the action of the robot look like walking. Each walking step involves various degrees of actuation of the servo motors embedded in them and they can be controlled only by a processor which acts as the brain of the system.
  • Robot Kinematics: Although learning in depth about kinematics is not needed to build a biped walking robot, you still need to know about them to get an understanding of the robot’s action. Learning about the robot kinematics will help you understand more about the relationship between the positions, velocities and accelerations of the links and joints. For further implementation, you can also learn about the concepts of forward and inverse kinematics for designing your very own humanoid robots.
  • Servo Motor Concepts: Since servo motors have linear angular movements and can be used to actuate any material attached to its arm, it is preferred for building biped walking robotics projects. It also follows a closed-loop servo mechanism that uses position feedback to control its initial motion and final position. You need to understand the concepts of servo motors working before starting to build your very own biped walking robot.

Which embedded platform is suitable for building biped robot?

Processor is the most integral part of the biped robot to perform the walking action and acts as the brain of the system and controls the actuation. Although there are a lot of processors available in the market, Arduino Uno will be the ideal embedded platform for you to get started.

As Arduino Uno is an open source hardware and uses simple C++ programming, it will serve to be a very good platform to build your first biped walking robot. Before starting to build your robot, you need to understand the Arduino architecture and its configuration.

Also learning Arduino programming and practicing some basic programming will greatly assist you in building your own walking robot. You can do simple exercises on driving servo motors with Arduino to understand more about the servo and Arduino integration.

What are the different ways to control a biped robot?

The biped walking robot can be actuated to be an autonomous or semi-autonomous one. Meaning, it can be either programmed to walk on its own by sensing the obstacles or can be manually controlled by using some modules. Some of the semi-autonomous biped robots are:

  1. Gesture Controlled: You can build a biped walking robot that can be controlled via your hand gestures. You will be needing an ADXL Accelerometer sensor to facilitate the gesture controlled actuation. This sensor will have multiple axes & gives varied values to the microcontroller depending on its orientation and the biped walking robot will be programmed to actuate accordingly.
  2. Bluetooth Controlled: You can also build a biped walking robot that can receive commands through Bluetooth communication and actuate accordingly. You will be needing a HC-05 Bluetooth module to set up the connection between a user and the system. You will be able to control the biped walking robot’s actuation by sending commands through an Android App via bluetooth.
  3. Remote Controlled: It is also possible to build a biped walking robot that can be controlled via a remote. For this, you will be needing an RF module to establish the connection between remote and the walking robot. You can simply control the biped walking robot’s actuation through switches or joystick present in the remote.
  4. Voice Controlled: This is one of the advanced ways to control the actuation of the biped walking robot where the movement of it can be controlled by our voice commands. This uses the speech recognition technology, which is one of the currently trending ones, to control the actuation of the servo motors. You will be needing a Bluetooth module to establish the wireless communication and an Android App to integrate the speech recognition technology and send out the voice commands by integrating the Google API.

Any special requirements?

One of the most challenging aspect of making a biped robot is to come up with the walking strategy. There are multiple ways to come up with the strategy and a lot of algorithms are available online which you can make use of. (Check Skyfi Labs Biped Walking Robot Strategy details here)

One of the commonly used strategy is the following,

  1. Initial position (standing straight)
  2. Left ankle up
  3. Left knee up (after this the weight will be shifting to right)
  4. Left ankle down
  5. Left hip down
  6. Left knee down (left limb will be 1 step forward by this step)
  7. Right ankle up
  8. Right knee up (after this the weight will be shifting to left)
  9. Right ankle down
  10. Right hip forward
  11. Right knee down (right limb will join the forwarded left limb)

The most challenging part would be to come up with the perfect angles for each servo motors at every step. This would take vigorous trials to perfect the walking motion.

But before implementing the strategy you need to zero set all the servos. This will make the servos to come to the initial position from which the servo motors can be actuated by giving some angles. Generally the standing position of the biped is considered as the initial position.

So you need to calculate the angles of servos at this position and use that to zero set it, by doing so the biped robot will come back to its initial standing position irrespective of what degree it is.

You will also be needing an Arduino IDE software to write and upload the programming logics to your Arduino board. You can easily download this software directly from their official website.

How to get the necessary components to build a biped robot at home?

Getting the right components to build your biped walking robot is not easy, as it involves a variety of components and are not readily available.

Here are the list of components that you require to build your walking robot,

  1. Servo Motors
  2. Metallic Clamps (U & L shaped)
  3. Multi-purpose Servo Brackets
  4. Arduino Uno
  5. HC-05 Bluetooth or ADXL Gesture or RF module
  6. Servo Shield
  7. Breadboard & Connecting Wires
  8. Batteries and external power mechanism to provide adequate power to the servos

From the above list, you can get the components like the Arduino Uno, sensor modules, servo motors, servo shield and wires easily. You can either order those components online or purchase from your local market.

But the mechanical components (metallic clamps & servo brackets) are not very easy to get, as it is not a standard component and the size & shape of it varies across projects.

Another challenging aspect is that it should be more robust to support the walking action and balance the weight of the servo motors embedded on it. You can either design it & get it manufactured or you can buy them directly from standard companies. (Check Skyfi Labs Biped Kit here)

Hope you got some good suggestions that will help you to build your very own biped walking robot.

Remember, you should not only build a biped walking robot but also learn while building it. Since there are a lot of complex concepts involved in it, learning while building your own walking robotics project will help you to get acquainted with industrial robotics effectively.

Tip: If you want to build your own biped walking robot but don’t know where to start, we at Skyfi Labs have developed an innovative learning methodology through which you can learn to build a biped walking robot right from your home with 100% output guarantee. With the complete hardware kits shipped to you and 1-1 technical assistance provided, learning to build your very own biped walking robot will never be tough.

Do let us know, what you think is the best Biped Walking Robot project to build from home by commenting below.




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