Introduction: Intel Edison Powered Walking Teddy Bear
This is a walking teddy bear robot powered by Intel's Edison module. The robot "core" is a Robosapien v1, which can now be purchased as the Robosapien X. The RoboSapien X is a low cost bipedal robot which provides an amazing amount of robotics hardware for a low cost (list price is $100 but it's currently selling for $62 on Amazon). However it is only remote controlled. Adding an Intel Edison gives it a cloud connected "brain" which is quite powerful, powered by the same Intel Atom architecture used in many netbooks. Combined with wifi (and bluetooth) connectivity, this gives us enough power to implement real AI, in a low cost humanoid robot.
Step 1: What You Need
- Intel Edison developer kit with the Arduino breakout board ($100, but when the SparkFun blocks become available this project should be possible to do cheaper since we just need the USB console, power in, and one level shifted PWM GPIO port).
- Robosapien X (list price $100 but currently $62 from Amazon).
- Ikea Vandring Bjorn Teddy Bear ($15)
- 1 portable USB power bank ($30 from radio shack). You could also try to mod the project to be powered off the Robosapien.
- 4 D Cell batteries for the robot (I bought mine for less than $5 from Radio Shack on sale)
- male to male and male to female jumper wires
- an infrared LED ($0.75 from Adafruit, pity about the shipping. An extra visible light LED is very useful for testing)
- a 220 Ohm resistor
- Electrical tape
- Packing peanuts
- moldable wire for support
- A sewing kit and some thread
Overall the cost will come in a little above $200, making it a very cheap way to create a humanoid robot.
For development purposes you will need to have a PC (windows, mac, or linux)
Step 2: Unbox Your Robosapien and Cut and Unstuff Your Teddy Bear.
- Unbox your Robosapien. Due to the design of the robosapien packaging this will take about 15 minutes and destroy all the packaging materials.
- Unstich the teddy bear along the seam from just below the head, around the tail and down the middle of the back of both legs. You will need this to get the Robosapien inside
- Remove completely the pads from the Teddy Bear's hands and feet (so the robosapien feet and claws can stick out).
- Remove all of the stuffing from the teddy bear, including the head.
- Replace the stuffing in the head (and only the head) with packing peanuts. It is necessary to replace the stuffing in the head by packing peanuts to maintain the center of gravity of the robosapien so it can walk effectively.
- Place the Robosapien inside the teddy bear shell.
Step 3: Set Up Your Intel Edison and Attach the LEDs
- Set up the Intel Edison board following the Edison Arduino setup instructions. Make sure you get the blinking sketch working and have wifi connected.
- Attach two reasonably long male to female jumper wires to the Edison breakout board. One (yellow in my case) goes to a ground pin. Another (red in my case) goes to pin 2. In both cases the male end goes into the breakout board.
- Pin 2 is attached to the 220 Ohm resistor and the resistor is attached to a short female to female jumper cable.
- The other end of the female to female jumper cable is attached to the long arm of the infrared LED.
- The short arm of the infrared LED is attached to the female end of the jumper cable which is connected to the ground pin on the breakout board.
- The connections are wrapped in electrical tape to keep them together.
- The end result should look like the picture above.
Step 4: Set Up the Connected Teddy Bear Software
- Copy the following the code at https://raw.githubusercontent.com/patrickms/Intel... into a new Arduino sketch.
- Set up a new (free) account at https://www.firebase.com/.
- Create an firebase application.
- Search the source code for two lines beginning with 'system ("curl'. They will look like this:
system("curl https://blazing-fire-1158.firebaseio.com/robosapi... > /tmp/robocmd.txt");
system("curl -X PUT -d '\"-1\"' https://blazing-fire-1158.firebaseio.com/robosapi...
- Customize the urls in the curl commands with your own custom firebase endpoints. If you want to add security you can do this by setting up authentication in the firebase dashboard and modifying the curl commands.
- Upload the Arduino sketches.
Step 5: Attach the Edison to the Teddy Bear.
- Use the box with the edison/breakout board package came in as a container. Make some cutouts to access the USB cables and to feed the IR LED through.
- Attach the box via velcro to the robosapien. Due to the size of the box I added two additional velcro attachments to the box which I connected to the inside of the teddy bear skin.
- Attach the USB power bank to the robosapien via velcro. Plug the usb power bank into the Edison to launch.
- Use electrical tape to attach the infrared LED to near the teddy bear head. Due to power requirements the LED must be very near the head for IR communications to work.
- WARNING: attach all components (except the IR LED) to the robosapien near the waist level. Do not attach anything at the chest level because the chest articulates when walking and you will raise the center of weight.
- Sew up the teddy bear, leaving enough space to put your hand into the back of the teddy bear to connect and disconnect the USB power (and to remove the power bank for charging when needed!).
- Congratulations, you now have an internet connected teddy bear with a powerful local computer.
Step 6: Future Steps
The intel edison is a powerful computer in it's own right. While this project will internet connect your teddy bear, it doesn't do much to use the edison's onboard compute power. The Edison is powerful enough to run OpenCV (computer vision) and PocketSphinx (speech recognition), meaning your teddy bear (with the addition of a usb webcam with microphone, $30) could be capable of face recognition and language understanding in it's own right. Happy hacking!
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