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Posted on June 17, 2016

Mobile robots are electric vehicles

Marty is a fully programmable and customisable walking robot. For kids, makers, and educators created by Edinburgh University startup Robotical. Marty's unique design reduces the cost of making a robot that can walk, turn, dance, kick a ball, and more.
 
Marty is controllable from a phone, programmable in a variety of programming languages over wi-fi out of the box, kids and beginners can learn with Scratch, where coding is as simple as clicking and dragging blocks. Experienced programmers can control him using more powerful programming languages such as Python and C++, or state of the art robotics tools such as ROS.
 
Marty is easily expanded with a Raspberry Pi or Ardunio for ultimate flexibility. He is designed to be customisable with 3D printed parts, and is also completely upgradeable. All the plastic parts can be 3D printed, and the CAD files will be available, so users can customise the designs as much as they like. The electronics on board also support additional sensors and motors.
 
The unique leg design makes the robot easier to use than a traditional walking robot and gives it a longer lasting battery. Each leg has three motors: one for forwards and backwards, one for side to side, and one for turning. That's fewer motors than a traditional two legged walking robot, and makes Marty cheaper to make, easier to use, and makes him use less energy to move around. Springs are used to help support Marty's weight and reduce the amount of work the motors have to do.
 
The robot is built to hold a full size Raspberry Pi, so while it's not required to have one, users can add one and then have a walking quad-core computer. With a Raspberry Pi on the robot you can do things like vision processing all on-board for tracking a ball and playing football, or even detecting faces for Marty to communicate. Marty's design makes it compatible with all Raspberry Pis, including the new Zero, and Arduinos, Beaglebones, and other commonly used boards. Marty's control electronics are custom made and designed. Based around a 180 MHz ARM Cortex M4 micro-controller, the board takes care of all low level functions, generating movements in real time, reading sensors, and connecting to WiFi.
 
The little robot is perfect for kids, educators and makers, to help learn about programming, electronics, mechanical design, 3D printing and robotics.
 
Marty was developed by Dr. Alexander Enoch over the last year and a half originally as a side project during his PhD (for which he was building bigger walking robots) at the University of Edinburgh. There are now several functional prototypes and Robotical is ready to start producing kits. The company is currently crowdfunding and hoping to bring Marty to market next year.
 
For more information on the topic please see Robotics 2016-2026 External Link and Microcontrollers and Single Board Computers 2016-2026 External Link at the end please.
 
Source and top image: Robotical
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Energy Independent Electric Vehicles 2017 External Link on 27 - 28 Sep 2017 in TU Delft, Delft, Netherlands hosted by IDTechEx.