Wednesday, March 15


So you think you have seen every lego robot out there? Well ibet you havent seen this one that often.. Well techniclly it isnt made of lego, but when legoland in Denmark needed a new attraction to keep the little minifigs happy, well they turned to German robot manufactuer KUKA to help rhem out.
Lego wanted user interaction so a control panel with a choice of moves lets the user choose a unique ride on the 3 ton plus six degree of freedom giant robot arm, then climb on and get thrown around by one really big bad arm..
With speeds approaching 4m a sec and the ability to change direction at the flick pf its wrist, this ride is one fun fixture. The company has also made a robot arm flight sim that takes you on a tour of mars. KUKA has been making robots for factorys including customers like BMW and VW for years and is one of the leaders in its field.

Tuesday, March 14


The dallas personal robotics group had a chance to evalulate the viper and play with it a bit, the review is over at So if your looking for some news on the viper this will help out a little untill we know whats coming. I wonder what the plans for the future are ? what modules would you like to see ? Head to the microbric site and let them know om the form on the main page.

The image is a robot that Martin Meier created during his review.

Friday, March 10


I did a search over at you tube a few months ago to see if there was a robot group to add my videos to. but there wasnt one, so easy fix was to make one up and get it out there , So if you have any videos of your robots or robot hacks or even you with your robots talking about them..
Get on over to our group
Great service and yoou can add the videos to your web sites easily, Thanks to Lem for his invaluble insight in to the web,, he steered me in the direction i need for the videos.
Google video is slow to load your videos to puplic galleries , you tube is a lot quicker, normally with in minutes.


So your going to build a robot, its gunna have cameras and arms and tank tracks gps a mobile phone and anything else you can get your hands on...well how are you going to control it all ? STAMP chips or LEGO, maybe a microbric brain or two, what aout hacking the vision from the v2 ? well how about a computer ? Yeah a real pentium motherboard and a real OS and real userbility and reprogramabilty. Think its beyond the average hobbiest just yet ? well think again. One of the sites i vist is dedicated to reporting about the use and development of mini itx moter boards. These boards are full systems on a stick !! with onboard usb audio video serial ports and some even have standard S video ports as well. So what is so cool about theese multifunction boards ? been around a while I know... But its their size.. Getting down to around 8 inchs square and less then 10cm high these little boards are powerfull and fast but the trade off is bigger heatsinks and limited upgradeing for the average user. But the trade off is that you can build robots with full on board processors that can handle any thing you throw at your pc, from wifi to bluetooth and cameras and keyboards... Build a indoor or outdoor robot because with a little messing around to build your own plug adaptor, you can run these things on 12 volt supplies ( most computers can). The site even reviews a dc to dc converter for changing your batteries power from 12 volts to 5 and 3.3 as well. all this for the cost of a decent gaming PC. Add a wireless keyboard and mouse, a interface to the robot, even an rcx would work for basic control of motors and sensors. and viola, one programable robot chassis..

The Azimut 2 is powered by two 24V NiMH battery packs and an external power tether, with an elastic actuator, vertical suspension system and high efficiency brushless motor and gearbox driving each wheel

These photos are representative of content seen at

and are only used to illuisrate product range and usage, all rights reserved orginal owner.

Thursday, March 9


So, the photos are up at flicka and the RAT (rubbish and trash) robot is working but needs some new wheels and sensors now. The design (tripod holomonic ) works well and is stronger then First thought, cardboard tubing with fibreglass supports and plastic tape wrapping strengthing it. Hot glue is used to hold it all together with tape added as protective covering on the carboard.
The cds are gluded to the core and legs and the motors are supported by fibreglass rods and hot glue. Control is rcx and power is 9 volt motors in the feet. New wheels are being made and ill do a video at toutube when they are done. The cover is made from a car window sun shade to give it a lunar lander module look.
Ill be improving this one over time and hope to make it a full line tracker and soccer style robot with sensors to suit and some decent programming.
Ive called it 2D monic from Direct Drive holoMonic robot chassis as the motors are mounted in the feet of the robot this could work with direct drive motors instead of lego motors if brushless high torque motors are used , but an ultra fast controll system with heading sensors an compass if not a gyro or two would be needed for any real control at increased speeds, this one can go around 30-40 cm a sec at full speed on a flat surface, but the dynamics of the design mean repeated directional changes are needed as the robot tends to degrade in to a static point spin and linear motion paths cease untill a new slingshot is set off by changing one or wheel directions.

Tuesday, March 7



We all have seen th paper robots around, you know the little cut out fold together transformers and such ? well I decided to take paper craft to my level, Years ago I used to make up space ships out of pape and card and then went on to sterene foams and plastics and today I went back to paper and glue.. Hot glue that is...
Using some cardboard tubes from some paper towels
and two PC mag CD's from the 90's

I glued and taped this little chassis together,
more programming and then the wheels,
Im making omni wheels from scratch for this one ,using parts from a craft store.
Control is by rcx and power is direct drive 9 volt geared lego motors. This should be fairly fast and a little hard to control but its a good step if you want to control a hovercraft later down the track...hmm hovercrafts...
Anyway im penning designs for a holomonic hovercraft using ducting systems and control vanes similar in design to VTOL aitcraft and Two stroke motorcycle engine designs... money money money...gee im going to need to find a better job. holomonics to you home bot. , till next time. sprocket.

Sunday, March 5


NO STEPHANIE, NO DISASSEMBLE... Well ive just documented the inside of the viper motor units for you all to see. details at viper resources, link in the side bar is always there if you loose this article....


Genetic robot design is nothing new, its been around for years, the idea that fixed and variable length beams and springs, ( read bones and muscles) can be used for motion is the basis of most animals that employ walking. Sodaplay has released a program robot engineers and hobbiests will really enjoy, Best of all its free easy to learn and as it is java, dosent need to be installed. Featuring remote server storage of your models so you can share them this program beats others i have seen. from ameoba to bugs and walkers, give it a go , and when you are good at it, check out the mainpage for details on soda race, with human versus AI contenders this event is a virtual race with contenders designed by man and machine, upload races boast on the forums or get your robots assets kicked if your not up to the challange.
The image at hte top is one i made, its a triangle center leg lifting walker. not new but fun to make, this was my first attempt at a walking model that worked...

Friday, March 3


Ive just been looking at the technology behind the viper cpu over the last few days and have found that MICROBASIC has released a new version of the IDE and a new manual for it as well, theres some new undocumented code examples including,wait for it.... VIDEO OUT COMMANDS.... yep, thats right folks, the viper may just be able to out put a video signal and with the example on the microbasic site there is every chance you can play pong on your viper straight to your tv, and with a playstation controller to boot, but dont take my word for it, im not trying this just yet as its a bit of a hassle umtill i see the wiring for the ps2 controller. but worth looking in to as a user interface. text on a tv from a robot or for disabled people to talk to you via the viper. There is also a pdf on how to use the scope function of the basic IDE , and its meant to monitor the vipers ports so can be set up to help debug outputs. all from your PC. With the inbuilt debugger that works well for the level of processor involved, your all set to have a fairly easy time learning advanced programming for a range of applications....

Thursday, March 2


I was reading a catalogue for a local chain store and saw an interesting robot..A trash can. Yes a stainless steel self opening trash can, using IR emmittors and recivers in the lid with a manual override it is a sign of simple ideas moving into the realms of everyday use, add some wheels and get it to empty it'self as well....or chase that thief down the road who just stole your vcr right out from underneath your dreaming robot sentry..doh robot hackers again....when will they learn not to hack the easy targets :P as r2d2 once said...beep darooo neep rooga dew dew deeewww.. or something like that.


The new microbric resource sections are open so head over to for the latest lowdown on the viper from south australian comapany microbric. programs,models technical details and more to come, worth a look for the new hobbiest.
image is happy android #001