A robotics club maintained by robotics lovers and graduate students from Simon Fraser University.
Project: inspiRED Humanoid Robot
InspiRED is a LEGO-like 3D-printable 70-cm humanoid robot platform featured with highly-customized components. And it has some important features:
Highly Custormized: the details will be described in the following question
Easily Repeatable: anyone with a 3D printer and basic electronic and programming knowledge can make a inspiRED robot by themselves at home or lab
Cheap: the basic version costs less than $1000 including all the 3D printing body and essential electronics equipments (including controller, power supply, servos, camera)
Beautiful: as a humanoid robot platform, inspiRED will look nice and elegant with a similar shape as real human beings.
The early prototype demo:
The presentation on the “Ogopogo’s Lair” Robotics Startup Competition held by NCFRN:
Its controller is a low-cost but powerful single-board linux computer Odroid-U3 and we use ROS and Open-CV with it. A large number of commonly used electronic equipments including RC servos, camera, HDMI-display, IR sensor, IMU, speaker, microphone, LED, PS2 controller and etc. are supported.
In order to make this robot platform highly-customized, we proposed a physical interface solution, USP, which involves the combination of USB, Serial Port and Power Supply. Different electronic equipment has a customized USP male-head while all the female heads which are attached to the controller and the power regulator remain the same. Using USP, you can plug either a servo, a sensor or a battery in the same place.
* A servo’s USP male head will attach its +voltage, ground and signal pins to the corresponding ports on the USP female head. The signal pin will be finally connected to the serial port on the controller. And the +voltage and ground pin will be finally connected to the output of the power regulator.
* A camera’s USP male head will attach its USB head to the USB female head on the USP female head. And it will be finally connected to the controller.
* A sensor’s USP male head will attach the pins of the sensor to the corresponding ports on the female head. The signal pin will be finally connected to the serial port on the controller. And the +voltage and ground pin will be finally connected to the output of the power regulator.
* A battery’s USP male head will attach the +voltage and ground to the corresponding power ports on the USP female head. And they will be finally connected to the input of the power regulator.
You can actually do some very interesting things with this. For example, as for the USP female head on the shoulder part of the robot’s torso, you can attach a servo with USP male head and control the movement of the arm. Or instead of a servo you can also attach a battery to the shoulder or even a camera.
Multiple type of heads (equipped with different number of cameras and other sensors), hands (fake hand, gripper or flexible fingers) and legs” (biped legs, hex legs or wheels) are provided. All of these parts will be attached to the torso using USP. And USP female ports are also available at many parts of the body so that infinite number of possible combination would enable the user to build his or her own fully-customized humanoid robot.
Possible Upgrade and More Customization:
Since inspiRED is a easily customized and hackable robot platform. Some possible upgrade can be actually made by the users themselves. And it also explains why a community is need to maintain this project, because there are thousands of different electronic equipments that it is impossible for inspiRED Robotics team to cover the support for all of them, for example the UPS male head design for a certain servo or sensor.
Here are two examples of upgrading.
Different servos can be fit into “servo cases” with same outside geometry and UPS male head, so that they can be used in the robot platform without changing the geometry of the other parts of the robot.
There are several alternative choices for the controller to achieve higher performance.
The target users can be robotics researchers, hobbyist ranging from university students to engineers, high-school students who want to learn simple hardware programming kids who want to play with robots. The basic version
A simple demo with a half-implemented prototype will be available during the event on June 14th, while we need support to build a fully-functional prototype. And we will also use support to bootstrap an open-source community to improve both its hardware and software (anyone with a 3D printer and basic electronics and programming skills will be able to create an inspiRED robot by themselves at their home or lab). On the other hand, it can also be commercialized by making a page on Kickstarter and selling the robot platform to those who do not own a 3D printer or do not have enough related knowledge.