GoonQuad, an Emotive Quadruped




About: I'm a PhD Candidate at the Human Media Lab. Obtained my Masters from Carnegie Mellon University / University of Madeira and I am currently exploring the emerging are of actuated flexible interfaces. My resea...

Hi everyone

This week our students from Computing in the Creative Arts had a public exhibit of their term projects. This project is close to my heart as I worked closely with this particular group of students who despite having very little technical background were deeply passionate about creating an interactive robot capable of expressing emotions and interacting with people.

The students involved were
Lauren Abramsky [portfolio]
Kristy Titanic [portfolio]
Jesse Shaw [portfolio]

The instructors were
Antonio Gomes (myself) [portfolio]
Paul Strohmeier [portfolio]

I have submitted this project to the robots and arduino contests. If you like it, your vote is appreciated :)

I present you "Goon Quad". In this version, Goon Quad has 4 prerecorded states ("angry","party","confused","breathe"), triggered by the touch of a person in areas specified by the eyebrows and a tattoo that read "Mom", painted with bare conductive and used as capacitive sensors.

My students just finished editing their video! Cheer them up with some comments and likes on YouTube :)

To enable the robot to record new motions, 8 analog feedback servos were used. As of now, we are only using one leg to record and translating it into the remaining 3. v2 will feature a fully programmable robot. Here's an example of the recording motion in action (arms and base video below)

In the step by step I will provide all the .stl files and early iterations of the robot. Assembly should be self-explanatory by looking at the images but if anyone as any questions or requests for laser cutter friendly formats I am happy to provide those. Just leave me a note in the comments section!

Hope you like this project and feedback is very much appreciated

Step 1: 1. Parts List

1x Power Distribution Board [link]

1x Arduino Mega [link]

8x Analog Feedback Servos [link]

1x Zippy Flightmax 1000mAh 15C [link]

1x Bare Conductive Pen [link]

3x 10M Ohm Resistors

3x PushButtons

4x RGB Leds

Step 2: 2. 3D Printed Parts

All parts were printed on a replicator 2x. To assemble the robot you will need:

1x head

1x frame

1x arms

1x hand

1x servo-to-forearm/hand

1x servo-to-frame

(If anyone needs .ai, .cdr, shoot me a message and I will upload them ASAP)

Step 3: 3. Development

It all started with a simple idea. Developing a robot capable of expressing life-like movements. Early iterations aimed at devising a starfish due to its organic nature and reduced body complexity

This videos shows their first attempt at creating coordinated motions in a tech demo prototype.

After much deliberation, they agreed a quadruped was the most appropriate format to follow since there are a fair number of explorations they could refer to for design ideas and pre-recorded motions.

First motions after assembling the robot. The wiring was significantly reduced through the use of a power distribution board. Future version of this robot will encompass a micro-sized arduino with multiplexers, thus reducing the need for external cabling

Step 4: 4. Programming

Arduino code attached.

In its current state, 2 separate sketches are used, one for pre-recorded motions, one for recording motions (I will upload the second at a later time as well as a single code as soon as i have time to work on this)

Step 5: 5. Final Thoughts

I hope you appreciate the project as much as I did while working on it.

Any comments and additions you would like to see in future versions are welcome, leave me a comment below. I will keep updating the Instructable.



Step 6:

Robot Contest

Second Prize in the
Robot Contest

Arduino Contest

Participated in the
Arduino Contest



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      Beauty Tips Contest
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      Sensors Contest

    12 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Ur project is very good. I wish u luck for the contest.

    Tex Arcana

    5 years ago

    hurry up and enter this into a contest so I can vote for it!

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction


    What i do not understand: What is that box for? A little more explanation for everything would be great. I really would love to do this projekt :-)

    I only have access to a cnc mill so ai files would be great ..


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice project

    i don t understand exactly how is fixed the "hand arm mount" and in the zip file it's a plate to print not the piece.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I have uploaded new stl files/instructions. Let me know if you have further questions :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool project! I would love to attempt this build. Thanks for sharing!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Your comment made my day!

    I wish I had the time and resources to consider it but a kickstarter over a project i can share and grow through instructables is definitely on my mind :)


    5 years ago

    u do realise that it cant turn right

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    that was hardly the scope of this project although modifying it to a walker is trivial.