The MakerBot 3D design team is building a Robot Petting Zoo to bring to this year’s Maker Faire. In this video you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how they conceptualized, designed and created these amazing DIY robots! To see the robots in full-effect meet us at Maker Faire Bay Area on May 19th and 20th, 2012. Hope to see you there!
Let’s flesh that out a bit. Suppose, for example, that the screws on your kitchen cabinet doors are perennially loose. You think, “I need a little guy to move around once a week, find the loose screws, and tighten them.”
Unless you’re a robotics expert, it will take you a prohibitively long time to make such a thing. But suppose there were a system that let you select the functions and physical dimensions you needed. Your selections would run through a compiler, the way source code is compiled into an executable, and a robot would emerge to your specifications. Of course, if you have a MakerBot, you could print it out for yourself, rather than head to a store, as PopSci reminds us.
This is a lofty goal and it requires a shift in societal attitudes toward robotics. CNET says Rus indicated the “device’s programming environment would only control the actions of the individual robots and be easy enough for a non-programmers to use.” Or as Wired puts it, they want to create a “one-size-fits-most platform to circumvent the high costs and special hardware and software often associated with robots.”
This sounds like Dreamweaver for robots, no? It’s less about popularizing robotics literacy and more about mastering the drag and drop. It’s democratizing the manufacturing of whatever fits the needs of the individual without requiring the individual to become an expert in something new.
Karakuri is the ancient Japanese practice of creating incredibly intricate automata using weights, pulleys, and wires. The video above features some of these robots rowing boats, shooting arrows, turning somersaults, and practicing calligraphy. Think back to the amusement park rides of the 1960’s – with the exception of a recorded song, those little robots were also completely operated by weights, pulleys, and wires too.
The amazing thing about 3D printing is it enables everyone to create works every bit as intricate and complicated as these little robots. Now anyone can focus on purpose and design rather than technique. If a handcrafted robot can select an arrow, draw it back on a bowstring, and fire accurately at a target – there’s no reason you couldn’t do the same thing using 3D printed plastic parts too. The real question isn’t whether we could reproduce these kinds of actions using 3D printed parts, but rather what could we create with printed parts that would have been difficult or even impossible using these ancient means?
That’s right — the time has finally arrived for the Robot Film Festival! The screenings (and awards ceremony) are in lower Manhattan this weekend. There are a number of films by many different directors, both famous and completely unknown, as well as comedy, workshops and a BotBQ.
Above is a picture of my failed attempt at a collapseable sword. Fortunately, this was one of those rare happy accidents. In order to simplify the object’s designs I made the permiter a 32-side polygon rather than a true circle.
While this thing was printing from the other room my wife commented that the sound of the robot printing was unusually musical. After looking back at my designs and the way my Cupcake 3D printer was creating the object I realized what was happening.
As the robot was printing one quarter of the polygon the X and Y motors were working in concert – the X motor decreasing its movement as the Y motor increased its movement – I could hear eight distinct tones. Each section was taking the same amount of time to print, with a different XY ratio of movement. However, as the robot starts to move to the adjascent quarter of the 32-side polygon the order and direction of the XY ratios would change. (While the duration and sound of the notes sounding the same).
The end result was an eight note tune played in a repeating pattern. Now I have a new reason besides simplified models and printing to create 32-side polygons rather than designing perfectly circular models!