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TecFoot by David L Buckley
in A Minimalist Approach to Biped Walking Robots
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TecFoot is a two foot (63 cms) tall biped robot controlled by a Parallax Basic-Stamp-2 computer and two auilliary processors. It is equiped with five servo motors which enable true biped walking and turning.
TecFoot was designed during spring and summer 2000 for Milford Instruments to fulfil an order from the University of Glagow's Mechanical Engineering Department for ten large BigFoot type biped robots.
In February 2008 I attended a Walking With Robots workshop in Bristol and for that I upgraded both the Prototype and Production version of TecFoot with two of Parallax's Ping ultrasonic sensors so they could wander about unattended which they did on the floor of @Bristol, Bristol's hands on Science Centre. I also changed the servo horns and modified the programs to suit. In addition I put Toe-sensors (bump-sensors) on TecFoot-1.
Since then I have also added IR sensors for drop-offs (table edges).
The modifcations for TecFoot MkII and the Mk-I sensors are documented in the revised TecFoot build manual.
Following on from the workshop at @Bristol both Tecfoots have been walking about at various Science Fairs and have interacted with about 1500 people of all ages. They have been patted by toddlers, herded about by young girls, ignored by teenagers, and mosly stared at by adults. All in all they have shown that robots can coexist with humans without any problems, most of the time a pet dog wandering about would have got the same responses.
On 19 April 2012 the FabLab Manchester had a 2nd birthday party and exhibition and in the evening the room was full of people standing around drinking wine and talking. Condor was autonomously wandering about in and out of the people. The interesting thing was that nobody stood on Condor's feet nor tripped over him. Dogs and cats in similar situations get trodden on and you hear them yelp and I can only presume that adults have some sort of inbuilt toddler avoidance mechanism built into their brains.
See Videos.htm for videos of TecFoots and Amblers wandering about.
TecFoot is an educational Biped Robot designed by David Buckley aimed specifically at the beginner in electronics and robotics. The control-board is ready assembled consequently the kit requires no special knowledge of electronics. The TecFoot kit is easy to assemble using a small screwdriver, a pair of pliers and wood-glue.
Tecfoot stands about 63 cms or two feet high and has five servos enabling true biped walking and turning. The control processor is a Basic-Stamp2 from Parallax Inc. however the control-board will fit any of the popular 24 pin microcontrollers with the same pin-out as the Stamp2 including all the 24 pin Parallax modules, the BasicX-24 from Netmedia and the Basic-Atom from Basic-Micro. Power for the servos is supplied by four AA cells and power for the electronics by a 9 volt battery.
The five servos allow independent control of each foot, each leg and the splay angle between the feet. A simple fully documented Basic program is provided which passes messages to two servo-co-processors which take care of pulsing the five servos. The supplied program operates TecFoot in a static balance walking mode but TecFoot is also capable of operating in a dynamic mode swaying quickly from foot to foot as do humans and other animals, in this mode TecFoot walks much faster and the experimenter may choose to explore this way of walking._download walking video .wmv 306k
_download walking video dynamic mode .wmv 154k
TecFoot with underfoot sensors walking dynamically 19.02.01