Published on 21 May 2018. Written by Vasanth Vidyakar
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.
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,
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:
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.
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:
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,
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.
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,
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.