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Asked — Edited

Aimec:Ez1 Robot

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Hi All

Introducing the AIMEC:EZ1

We are in discussions with DJ to produce a special version of our AIMEC (Artificially Intelligent Mechanical Electronic Companion) robot for the EZ-B, this will be a very advanced robot that will be made available in kit form, which will probably be by the end of this year.

Some history, the first AMI (Applied Machine Intelligence) robot was the AIMEC:3 which is a "hyper-tech" toy and we were very close to licensing this design to a large US toy manufacturer, but the deal fell through. Our most advanced robot is the AIMEC:4 which is still in development, this robot has advanced voice recognition (Dragon 11), face recognition and eye tracking and object recognition the robot has an advanced Ai core and is capable of self learning. When we came across the fantastic EZ-B system that the genius DJ Sures produced we immediately thought that it would be really cool to make a EZ-B version and this is what we are currently developing the AIMEC:EZ1. This robot is the development platform for a ground breaking robotics kit that we plan to sell to the general public, for the first time a highly advanced robot will be available (in various versions) at a price that hobbyists would be able to afford.

I have been building robots for over 30 years and some of my designs are recorded on Cybernetic Zoo

http://cyberneticzoo.com/?p=2280

http://cyberneticzoo.com/?p=3984

On our team we have the brilliant model maker (and engineer) Steve Cole (Articole Studios) http://www.articolestudios.co.uk/ who is also a member of this forum @ukrobotman, with Alex Cole on 3D design and (the incredibly talented) Mike Hodgson on software development. I am doing mechanical, electronics and sensor designs and firmware development for support PIC microcontrollers that enhance the EZ-B boards operation over the I2C bus.

We are all looking forward to working closely with DJ and his team in the new future!

Tony

-- Conceptioneering Ltd - Inventors of the Award Winning Cube World To see Product Innovation - visit our website at www.conceptioneering.co.uk To see Robotic Innovation - visit our website at www.appliedmachineintelligence.co.uk


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#1  

@Toymaker,

I can't wait to see how this goes! Do you have the preliminary dimensions worked out? Will it be wheel driven?

United Kingdom
#2  

Welcome to the forum Tony, I can't wait to see what you have in store for us:)

United Kingdom
#3  

@rgordon

The height of the EZ1 is approx 3ft 9in (114cm), the EZ2 which is the version that will go on sale will be a bit smaller and a different shape.

Due to the size of these robots locomotion is by wheels, this is for 2 main reasons, firstly with robots of this size it would be hugely expensive to make them bipeds (walkers) and our whole concept here is to make our robots affordable. The second very important reason is that our robots use odometry to calculate where they are, while this is possible with wheeled robots its very tough to do on bipeds. Here is the AIMEC:4 locomotion system the encoders on each motor have 64000 counts per wheel revolution, so all drive movement can be accurately measured, note the tires are specially designed to limit wheel slippage which can cause errors with odometry, the motor controllers use PID for accurate movement and this also enables them to move in straight lines.

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In the EZ version we are developing a custom PIC that will handle all this, so the EZ-B just sends commands down via I2C and the locomotion PIC does all the rest, this saves I/O and reduces the load on the EZ-B so it can be doing other cool stuff!

Rich, your Hearoid is looking great with the brain, nice job!

Tony

Conceptioneering Ltd - Inventors of the Award Winning Cube World To see Product Innovation - visit our website at www.conceptioneering.co.uk To see Robotic Innovation - visit our website at www.appliedmachineintelligence.co.uk

United Kingdom
#4  

I love the arms on the Aimec3, it looks like they are similar to my plans for the Hearoid if my 4th attempt using the original arms doesn't meet my standards. The shoulder covers look great and I hadn't thought of making them look that way (in fact I was struggling to figure out a way to hide the joint).

I can see me taking a lot of inspiration from those:)

Yes, the brain has given the Hearoid a whole new lease of life and added the minor details to make it that little more realistic. I can't thank you enough for the brain idea or the brain. While I loved the old face it had the new one is so much better.

#5  

@Toymaker,

I have to ask.....Is there a ball park price range? Will they cost more than a $1,000?

Thanks for the fast response:)

Rex

#6  

What is going to be the apprx price that you will be shooting for on the diferent models?

United Kingdom
#7  

Hi folks, I thought I would also introduce myself. I am Steve and am working with Tony on our new Robot Kit Project. We can't say to much about it at this stage but you guys are going to love it. The EZB will be the core of the programming and the bodyshell will be in a composite material. Keep your eye on this page as we will be announcing things on this thread! Regards Steve www.articolestudios.co.uk www.articoleprops.co.uk

United Arab Emr
#8  

Yes , pricing is important as we already loved what you have:)

Spain
#9  

Awesome! I can not wait, do not take away the eye of this thread.:)

United Kingdom
#10  

@rgordon

Yes, we plan on having an (entry level) version costing <$1000. Thats the great thing about our kit concept users can come in at many levels of robot, for instance we plan to have 3 arms available for the most advanced robot (Ultimate) the robot will have 5 DOF arm and we will have a mid range arm at 3 DOF and also a (non mechanical) poseable arm where users can manually put the robots arm into positions for holding trays etc. We have had to develop our own (low cost) mega servo for the shoulder that has a whopping 200Kg.cm torque so the mechanical arms will be capable of picking up quite weighty objects. The Ultimate version will obviously have a higher cost, and we do not currently know what this is until all the design is finalized.

But the robot body/chassis is universal so you may start off with the poseable arms then later decide to upgrade to the motorised arms the system is very flexible and will let users do this. There will be users that maybe just want to buy the body shell and build there own mechanisms or say the body shell and locomotion drives and they then add their existing EZ-B etc.

#11  

I hope you meant to say less than <$1,000. As much as I would like to have one, I could not afford it if it cost more than that. It is hard enough to justify (to the wife) spending any extra money these days on something that is a hobby. Oh well, I will just have to wait.

However, I will endeavor to continue to scratch and save as best I can to keep doing the thing I love the most...building robots.

United Kingdom
#12  

@rgordon

Thanks for picking up the typing error, yes it should read "less than" $1000. We think a lot of users may just start with buying what will be a very professional looking robot body and build it up from that. We cannot give prices yet for just the body shell, but we want it to be affordable to the hobbyist.

United Kingdom
#13  

It is great to be working with Steve Cole @ukrobotman, he been a great friend for years and makes all my prototype models for my concept toy inventions that we license to companies like Mattel etc.

To show off some of his work, I got him to make me a half scale Dalek, which one day I must put an EZ-B into!

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Steve is also a great mechanical engineer and doing some great work on our AIMEC:EZ robot arm designs.

#14  

That Dalek would look super cool driving around and taking over the world. That would make a cool robot platform for Dr. Who fans, or anyone who loves robots.

United Kingdom
#15  

I know of at least one person on here who is a huge Dr Who fan and I just know he will love the idea of that Dalek running around with an EZ-B in it.

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#16  

I did start to robotize it, here is the eye with a simple thermal imager (from Robot Electronics) and a single transducer ultrasonic ranger. In the photo I am testing it (on 2 PICs) that are connected with a superfast bit/bang algorithm that I have developed for high speed comms between multiple microcontroller nodes in my robotic systems.

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Here is what the eye looked like

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I think an EZ-B would be perfect for this Dalek.

United Kingdom
#17  

@mcsdaver

Talking about taking over the World, here is a Dalek toy that I did some years ago where I build in embedded speech recognition based on the Sensory RSC-4128 chipset.

PRO
Synthiam
#18  

Tony, super glad you're here and sharing the project. @Rich is right, there is a pretty huge doctor who fan on this website:) And more than just me! I think my EZ-B little Dalek is second or third in place of popularity with my robots. Even little children at events say "Mom look a dalek!" and get excited.

United Kingdom
#19  

Thanks DJ for the welcome, as you know I am a massive fan of your work and robotic achievements! it will be great to have the opportunity of (hopefully) working with you on this cool new project.

Question, if the Dalek is your third most popular robot, which one is the most popular, if I had to guess I would say your Omnibot 2000!

PRO
Synthiam
#20  

I'd also guess Omnibot 2000... but it's Wall-e. Second is Omnibot 2000:) ... And third is Dalek.

United Kingdom
#21  

Some people found that the EZ1 face a little scary so I have modified the mouth.

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#22  

The AIMEC:EZ1 head with single microcontroller controlling all the head functions via an I2C link. The 14 I/O lines required in the head only cost 2 port lines (I2C bus) on the EZ-B controller. Also shown here is our face recognition system, that we have now integrated into ARC.

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United Kingdom
#23  

Here is the EZ1 robots main gear tray. There are 2 x 5amp 7V2 UBECs (for the high torque servos) the EZ-B controller, 3 watt stereo amp with sound to light circuit for the LED mouth (mounted on top of amp), isolated DC to DC converter (for noise suppression on the RF audio) and finally the 2.4GHz audio receiver.

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#24  

Toymaker,

Do you have a video that demonstrates the LEARNING of the robot?

;)

#25  

1000 step closer toward my dream robot, can't wait for mass production.

United Kingdom
#26  

Mel I will be posting more videos here of the EZ1 Robot as development continues over the next few month, when the body and electronics/mechanics are fully complete I will start linking it to our Ai and other software.

#28  

I'm impressed! With an EZ -B on board, it should really come "Alive":)

United Kingdom
#29  

As detailed on another thread, I have designed a special PIC microcontroller for the AIMEC robots that can emulate any IR controller, you have to just once teach it the IR commands by pointing (say) your TV controller at the robot in command learn mode then pressing the buttons that you want the robot to learn, after that the robot can change channels etc by itself or by direct voice command. The same PIC also controls the X10 system that I use extensively in my house, the robot sends the X10 commands via a simple 433Mhz transmitter (RF link) to the RF receiver that X10 sell for their RF hand controllers. This PIC will be part of the EZ:2 Robot.

Here is a video showing the system in operation with our Ai ARIEL.

Here is a closeup of the sender unit

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#30  

That is so neat! It is going to be a hit, I know it.:)

#31  

Teasing teasing teasing, terrific job.

#32  

It looks like your doing a great job of making this a bulk production project.

United Kingdom
#33  

Thanks Mel!

@PJ Thanks also, I do not mean to tease here, I think this is such a good community that I want to share the EZ:1 and EZ:2 development phases with you all. I also greatly welcome any feedback as this helps to produce a better end product.

#34  

I for one really appreciate your hard works and contribution to our wonderful community. I had this idea for about three years, but lack the expertise to fabricate such an awesome device. Since it will communicate with X10 devices, any chance on pushing it a little further to communicate with Z waves devices

#35  

Tony, Thank you for sharing the development phase updates. I just can't wait till next year to realize all the great features that will be utilized with the AIMEC EZ:1 and EZ:2 robots! Will the EZ:2 be the more advanced option similar to the AIMEC 4? I always look forward to any new information on the AIMEC EZ Robots. Keep it coming. Steve S

United Kingdom
#36  

PJ I will look into supporting Z wave devices.

Steve The AIMEC:4 robot is quite different as it is a self contained robot with on robot main processing, it has 2 Fit (micro) PCs that handle speech, face and object recognition and also the Ai core. My vision for the AIMEC:4 is to be a ready made "off the shelf" personal robot that people can purchase and operate without having to have any programming skills. The EZ:1 (development robot) and the EZ:2 (commercial robot) will be pretty advanced with face recognition and a plug-in to our Ai core which is self learning and has a neat conversation engine. Object recognition will also be added later.

United Kingdom
#37  

More development updates. Below is the 3 fingered hand of the EZ:1 robot, note the micro (digital) optical ranger in the center, this triggers when anyone puts an object in front of the hand.

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Here is the EZ:1 5 DOF arm showing the wiring loom.

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#38  

"Drool" that awesome especially with the EZ-B. You figure it'll be ready this winter?

United Kingdom
#39  

@Rural

There is still a lot to be done, but we hope to be in beta testing (at least 5 EZ:2 units) by the end of the year. The EZ:2 which is the commercial version of this robot has its body now fully designed and we are currently getting in costings on the body shell and tooling. The EZ:2 looks totally different to the EZ:1. DJ and team have seen the EZ:2 and seem to like the design.

#40  

I'll be a beta tester for you. :D

That sounds great can't wait to get one myself.

#41  

@toymaker is that a full length DALEK i know somebody who made one from scratch and built a full size and detail R2-D2

Second do hope the price is low $1000 it way to high,plus i love building ones from scratch then have one already made .

NO FUN in having one as a kit or already made,but still for me might get it for SHOW ROBOT

#42  

I like the kit because it can get you right into the programing and play. It's to easy to get bogged down with the mechanical build part and get frustrated and loose interest in it with a scratch build. Plus it'll make a great base for more elaborate stuff later on. Think of it not just a robot to play with but one you can actually use as a companion for say and elder person or whatever you want.

#43  

Tony, I am a like "Rural Geek", I want a kit. I have built robots from scratch, with rewarding results, but I want to take advantage of new technology and ideas of people smarter than me.
I have realized "EZ Robot", with outstanding results, far above my own. The AIMEC EZ:2 robot would be a great extension of that. I want to build an AIMEC EZ:2 Robot.

Thank You Steve S

#44  

I MADE a few robot kits but doesn't show how creative you are with a design from scratch A kit you mostly have to read the manual and put it together,ITS KINDA fun but no creativity

United Kingdom
#45  

So you won't be getting one then Fred?

I'm with the others, a kit would be great. I'm also with @Rural Geek when I offer my beta testing services:D

#46  

I'm joining this bandwagon also. Count on me for debugging even alpha units.

#47  

i said i like kits RICH also build a few and just like on the toymaker design that looks very cool kit,i might get it if the price is right

And even my last one was a part kit MY BIPED design witch is 90% done and getting posted soon with many photos. BUT even that kit doesnt show my CREATIVITY witch is very important to me.

any person at any age can put a kit together with the manual its FUN ,but no CREATIVITY now ON THE SOFTWARE side it may be different depending on hard it is.

BUT so with a design built from scratch with EZB is also fun and creativity in coding

ON the software side of the toymaker design it might me a lot better,cant wait for him to start selling them.

SO far i hear good things about it ,only the price is the problem ,i think $600 to $700 is a fair price for it

@RICH i mention twice if not more i would get him is the price is right

#48  

@RICH take a look at the QBO design without motherboard just add EZB AND COSTS ABOUT $600

ALSO RICH does the mean you are going to buy it too.

United Kingdom
#49  

@robotmaker You cannot compare the EZ:2 robot to QBO as the EZ:2 is nearly 4 foot high and approx 4 times the amount of body material, coupled to this its greater weight means that locomotion has to be scaled up with much larger motors and drives. Also QBO does not have 5 DOF arms.

I think the point is being missed here, the EZ:2 offers tech that you cannot get anywhere else, who else is offering face recognition and eye tracking for ARC? With object recognition in the pipeline. Also an Ai core that has so far taken over 12 man years to develop, how do you put a price on that? Hardware like custom microcontrollers that take the heat off the EZ-B and expand its operation.

At the end of the day if anyone thinks the EZ:2 is too expensive then don't buy it, The people that do will have one of the most advanced personal robots in the World. If people are ok with hacking toys like the Omnibot 2000 when thats great, but some people want a "real" (life size) robot that does not take a lifetime to make and that is what we are striving to achieve with the EZ:2 robot.

#50  

I am submitting my preorder notice to you now :D I'll take the one with the EZ-B in it please.

#51  

@toymaker I am not comparing the 2 and i didnt know about the AI software ,only looking at the cost has to be low enough for average robot builder,myself i dont have a problem buying it

What are the full specs on it.

#53  

I guess so far thats 5 guys including me and RICH who wants one.

United Kingdom
#54  

@Toymaker, that's a great response, if people don't want to pay for it they don't need to. I guess you could compare it to cars. If you don't want to pay the £30,000-£40,000 for that BMW you can pick up a Fiesta for under £10,000.

Thanks for all of the info and updates on it, keep them coming as and when you are able to release information, I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves to see it.

United Kingdom
#55  

Thanks Rich! You are spot on with the car analogy, the Fiesta is a hacked toy robot (nothing wrong with that), but the EZ:2 is a professionally made Personal Robot that does a lot of the things that the Willow Garage PR2 does and the last time I looked that robot cost $400,000. We are trying to configure the EZ:2 so there are many cost entry levels that the hobbyist can afford, like we are looking to have 3 arms available the most expensive being 5 DOF, mid range (cost) one having 3 DOF and a low cost arm with no servos that can be locked into any position manually, so it could say hold a serving tray to serve drinks. The EZ:2 is a very cool looking robot (very different from the EZ:1 shown in this thread), a lot of people may just buy the neat body shell and head and add there own mechanics and electronics, others will want the whole kit.

#56  

I am with Rich on this one, if you don't like it, simply keep your opinion to yourself. This is a very positive forum that support modern day ingenuity along with creativity. Being able to tap into the EZ-B, and unlock all those luxury features is remarkable. As much as I like tinkering, I personally would prefer a complete kit.

@toymaker please keep the update coming. You can count a solid 3 kit out of me.

#57  

I would like to be a Beta Tester. But, I have to bow out because I don't have any money.:(

But I am sure that the other guys are going to be good beta testers.

:)

#59  

Will we be able to upgrade as we go, i mean if i by the kit with 3 DOF could i later buy the 5's and install them?

#60  

I WOULD BUY 5DOF so dont have to spend more money on it,and would buy is a kit a lot more fun to put together

Also by getting it ,its a learning tool and like how the servo design are to make changes to my robots and more

WHAT is the shipping weight ?

#61  

@toymaker I have a couple of good question on you only,its about the your very good software and how you interface to EZB

DID you rewrite all the codes in used in ARC using EZ-SDK plus a code for your software ? SEcond or did you just made a interface to ARC using SDK ?

And last question DJ makes a lot of updates for ARC how does that work with your software ?

CANT wait till it comes out and selling it ,looks very good from your site and video's on it hope very soon :)

#62  

I also offer my services as a beta tester...:)

I am really excited about this robot. Just think of all the promotion we could drum up for you by touring these around to different locations. The world is ready....robots are my life...it's all I think about from the time I get up till I go to sleep.

#63  

I would like to see your design (toymaker) in a lot of maker fairs it would really sell very fast i would think. I did now you have a lot of great programmers and robot builders in with you ,until i found your site in youtube

LOOKS LIKE THEY are very good at their jobs.

United Kingdom
#64  

@Rural Yes the whole EZ:2 design is modular so provided you have enough spare ports on your EZ-B you can easily upgrade to a 5 DOF arm.

@robotmaker The EZ:2 is still being developed so it is impossible to know shipping costs at this time. Shipping costs are actually the one thing that worries me on this project as we expect that most of our customers will be in the US and shipping a robot of this size (from the UK) is going to be expensive. Typical dilemma if we sell direct we can keep the retail cost right down as there is no distributors (in the territory) markup, but single product shipping of a robot this size will add greatly to the end cost. With distributors we can ship in bulk for them to warehouse or we get them to get bulky components made locally, but again this adds another markup so it is a difficult decision that has to be made at some point.

On beta testing, the first beta EZ:2 robot to leave the UK will probably go to DJ who has said he will do some custom controls for the robot, so most of you will first see the EZ:2 moving around DJ's office.

We want to sell the EZ:2 into schools and Universities where an advanced modular kit robot can be built, dismantled then built again by many students and they should learn a lot about electronics, mechanics and programming. Maybe one day robotics will be added to the National Curriculum here, do any of you know if US schools run robotics classes?

#65  

@toymaker What about the questions on software and EZB I HAD posted?

United Kingdom
#66  

@Tony I can't wait for the day that robotics is in the curriculum. I'm currently toying with the idea of starting up some kind of after school club for robotics - I have no clue how though lol (all ideas/suggestions welcomed). But I'd love to see these in the class room, kids building it and programming it, I can see it being one of those "fun lessons". When I was at college the "fun lessons" were those which involved programming (Pascal & Assembly Code) and debugging.

The cost is always going to be an issue. You need to make money but also need to have it affordable while keeping the standard to a high quality. I don't envy you on that task (I do on all other tasks though!)

#67  

The guy who never sleeps RICH lol

I KNOW toymaker needs to make a profit and costs will be a issue,a idea and may be you are using it get most parts made by china.

I know every one usa hates parts made in CHINA mostly because it takes away jobs,may be the rest of the world too.

IDEA on shipping if you come to a maker faire in usa you can sell some there and no shipping costs,plus people at the faire will mostly likely want one.

6 AM HERE IN SUNNY FLA

AND another idea for me since i travel a lot and love london and england i can easy pick up there and only pay customs fee,and baggage fee

United Kingdom
#68  

Here is a first look at the EZ:1 (development robot) with its 5 DOF arm under the control of an EZ-B (and ARC).

Now I want to ask you all your advice, you can see that I get the dreaded servo noise when the arm is under load. I might be able to help this with "damping" springs but I do not think I can totally get rid of all the servo noise here.

The shoulder is a "home brew" power servo that has a whooping 200Kg.cm torque, but as you can see its this that makes most of the noise! My question to you all, is this noise acceptable on a hobbyist level robot (also for educational level) or do you think its unacceptable and I should design a new one from scratch? I have an idea of designing a screw driven high power servo, where the screw should hold position without drawing power or making any noise, I could produce an 8pin custom PIC as the servo controller cct, what do you all think?

Thanks in advance for all your comments.

Tony

United Kingdom
#69  

I have no sound at the moment so I cannot comment on the sound level, I'll watch it again later when I have sound and post what I think. Although I wouldn't expect a silent robot, the noises from servos, motors etc. are all part of what a robot is. Look at the films with robots in, look at Titan, sound effects of the motor noises are added in.

United Kingdom
#70  

Rich

I tend to agree with you on some motor noise, but this servo motor noise is pretty excessive from the high power shoulder servo and seems too loud to me and may be annoying to people. I look forward to your further thoughts when you been able to see the video with sound.

#71  

I am wondering if you are going to change to a ball screw design wouldn't a liner actuator work better. With a ball screw you either need a break or constant power to hold its place.

United Kingdom
#72  

I see what you mean about the noise now. If you are able to adjust it then I would say now is the time. Moving noise is all fine but holding noise, at least in my humble opinion, should be a minimum.

Springs to aid the arms and sound proofing may help but a worm/screw method would be more effective.

To be totally honest, I wasn't satisfied with less noise in Melvin's arms.

United Kingdom
#73  

I was hoping for more feedback with the groups opinions on the noise issue, I do really appreciate everyone's thoughts/comments on my work.

My problem with the shoulder gearbox is cost, we am trying to make an affordable design (that hobbyists can afford) and this current 200cm.Kg servo design has a prime cost of approx £70 in contrast a Dynamixel MX-106T servo costs around $500.00 and has only half the torque. Dynamixels are great servos but a 5 DOF arm made from them is probably going to cost over $1500.00 for the arm alone.

@Rural I think I am going to re-design the shoulder servo to a screw/worm drive, here no holding current is required as the screw/worm thread locks the shaft into position when if reaches its desired position so the servo main drive is not on load and the controller does not need to keep "hunting" to hold position.

#74  

Toymaker, I am sure you will get more feedback after the 4th holiday; you are putting together a very desirable robot kit. My question is, you said about an idea of yours designing a screw driven high power servo, where the screw should hold position without drawing power or making any noise, and possible 8pin custom PIC as the servo contoller. Is that idea separate from the "Dynamix" expensive servos? If your screw driven servo idea is a possible, viable cost alternative to the high power servo used in your arm demonstration video, it is worth looking into. If it is not, then my opinion would be not to raise the price of arms too high. Less noise would be desirable, but I don't think it should be a show stopper. Having that large of an arm, capable of lifting a beverage, is amazing. Tony, I hope you understand my question. Thanks Steve S

United Kingdom
#75  

Steve thanks for your interest in the project. I am now scrapping all the upper arm servos (shoulder, elbow vertical, elbow horizontal) and replacing them with new worm drive units that should have virtually no holding noise, the new design should not add to much to the prime cost.

#77  

@Bravia, So. .. which model of motor did you use? and Where can we buy it? Thanks, :)

Ireland
#78  

@Moviemaker its a few years old now try search using " Bosch VMC Actuator Motor "

United Kingdom
#79  

@Bravia Thanks for the link! These are great motors but look a little pricey for the torque what I require.

Ireland
#80  

@Toymaker If I could have your email please I may be able to help

United Kingdom
#82  

Update I have built the first ultra High torque worm driven servo prototype and it is totally silent in holding position under full load and draws virtually no current, I now need to replace the top three arm power servos with worm driven type

#83  

I'm very interested in your worm gear design to hold load. Is it possable to share details of building it and parts used? How much weight can it hold? Thanks, Dave Schulpius

#84  

That is great news ! Low noise and low battery draw ! Toymaker,

I appreciate your hands on, determination to develop a great robot system. It is a breath of fresh air, from what is available.
Your EZ robot will be amazing!

I can't wait. So much to look forward to, professional robot body, outstanding A I, location control, external controls, and EZB controls. (Can I give a pre order?)

Thank you Tony, Steve S

Ireland
#85  

@toymaker Thats great news Does it have a potentiometer built in

#86  

It would be nice to hear input from D J, about this great project? Please tell us what you think! Thanks Steve S

#87  

Now I'm debating built my own, or simply save money and wait for the ez1 Robot to be available.

United Kingdom
#88  

Thanks everyone for you interest on this, I am still evaluating the design but I hope to do a video of one of the new servos in the next couple of days so you can see it in action.

Dave

The torque is massive, because of the worm gearing its over doubled from the original 200kg.cm at a cost of its speed it is slower now but still ok considering the massive advantages. The existing (noisy) arm could pick up and hold a can/bottle of drink at full arm extension (of 52cm), so the new servo will be even more powerful. One issue I am looking at is that with such a powerful arm I am going to have to design in some safety circuits which will allow (ignore) the motor start current, but will then trip (and release) if it sees a later stall current.

Pat

Yes it has a potentiometer mechanically connected to the outgoing shaft.

Steve

I guess DJ must have his reasons for staying quiet on this project, he is only one of a handful of people to have actually seen what the (production) EZ:2 looks like. I think the EZ:2 body shell style and accessories is exactly what a lot of the community is looking for, I am very pleased about how the robot looks, it is a lot different from the EZ:1 which is based on an AIMEC series body.

#89  

This is a very interesting project! I find your bot very cool and futuristic looking. I read something about these bots going into production? confused If so, ill start saving up!

Great work!

#90  

Tony, Thank you for responding. It is nice to get a reply. Sounds great, looking forward. Thanks,
Steve S

PRO
Synthiam
#91  

Steve s asked... Because he created a new thread instead of using this one.

D.J. and Tony, Is there any update on the AIMEC EZ Robot? AI system, location control, great robot body, IR controls. Can you both respond? I can only wish the EZ Revolution Christmas release will include AIMEC EZ Robot? That is what I want! So many new features! A full size robot with the latest technology. I think the new EZB with new features will be great. Thank both of you! Steve S https://synthiam.com/Community/Questions/3288

#92  

I thought it was important enough to create a new thread, sorry. The AIMEC Robot is very interesting to me. I am just trying to get new information. Steve S

#93  

D.J., Is there any update on AIMEC EZ Robot? You did not respond to my post or the thread you removed? Steve S

PRO
Synthiam
#94  

EZ-Robot does not make the AIMEC robot. That's done by the talented Tony Ellis:) He'll be able to answer your questions of availability, etc.:D I wouldn't want to speak out of line with incorrect information.

United Kingdom
#95  

Steve Here is an update for you on the EZ:2 robot.

We currently have a delay in the development schedule as I was unhappy with the operation (noise) of the 5 DOF arm and decided to completely redesign it. For this I had to come up with a radical new servo design which is now complete. This means that EZ:2 beta testing stage will probably now start in early 2014.

Here is the specification of the new servo

12Volt operation Ultra high torque Input#1 = standard servo PPM (pulse position modulation) Input#2 = I2C (controlled by I2C link) Zero holding current at hold position Totally quiet (no noise) at hold position Very quiet movement noise (to hold position) Smooth mechanical operation Active stall detection (saves servos from burning out)

A new 5 DOF arm is being made now for the development EZ:1 robot, I shall be posting a video of this in a week or so, when its all debugged.

I have spoken to DJ on the EZ:2 robot and we have agreed that EZ-Robot should be part of the beta test, so one of the first pre-production units will be going out to Calgery and I hope to visit DJ and team at around the same time. DJ has some really cool ideas about using the EZ:2 in the new EZ=Robot office.

There is a high probability that EZ-Robot will sell (and distribute) EZ:2 robot kits and parts and possibly be our main agent in North America.

We plan to continually evolve the EZ:2 robot range around all the new exciting things that DJ and team have in the pipeline.

Tony

#96  

Toymaker. Thank you for responding, The new redesign arm servos sound awesome, high torque, low noise, so many improvements. I am glad D.J. is going to beta test. He will probably add many positive critiques. It would be great to purchase an AIMEC EZ Robot from EZ Robot and have new features in the pipeline! Looking forward to any updates. Thank you Tony, Steve S

United Kingdom
#97  

Here is a first look at the new EZ:1 5DOF arm. Its almost silent while moving with zero holding noise and current draw in its holding position.

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I have now got to build the new heavy duty (worm driven) shoulder servo, I should be able to get a video up of the new arm fitted in the next couple of weeks.

These new servo's can be controlled by the I2C bus which saves a lot of port lines.

Ireland
#98  

great to see the arm sorted I would imagine you have a very gentle move from these motors also

United Kingdom
#99  

Pat

Yes the operation of the new servo's is very smooth, incredibly quiet and the torque to current consumption is unbelievable! Its very difficult to stop rotation as they have so much torque while the servo is only drawing a couple of hundred milliamps! These new smart servos are designed for 12V operation.

I purchased a number of the motor drives you suggested, if you want a few I can post them over to you (free of charge)?

For these new smart servos, I used a 14 pin PIC16F1823 this is a really nice microcontroller packed with features. Here is the prototype servo controller board that is connected to an external H bridge, it has an ICSP port (In Circuit Serial Programming) which is very useful while de-bugging or modifying the firmware.

User-inserted image

Ireland
#100  

Excellent Tony Am I correct in saying that you controll these motors from I2C, I thought they were just 12 volt only ,or is it possible because of your pic circuit and h bridge?

From my experience you may have to decrease the power when lowering the arm and increase when raising it up,to allow for its weight,But no doub't you will come up with an appropiate circuit or programming solution.Looking forward to your design solution. Thanks for your kind offer will be in email contact

Pat

United Kingdom
#101  

Pat

Yes the new smart servo can be I2C bus controlled via the PIC (thats the 4 pin header on the board) or PPM (some say PWM). The new servo is 12 volt. I will be looking at adding a PID algorithm to the arm movement at some point to improve operation.

Tony

United Kingdom
#102  

Here is the prototype wrist smart servo (in debug mode with LCD display active) showing more of the electronics.

The current sense function is really neat, for the hand you can send down from the EZ-B a grasp (pressure) command via the I2C bus so the claw can go from a very delicate hold right up to crush hold!

Currently the hand grasp (hold) pressure is quite extensive and is a value from one to a hundred.

User-inserted image

Ireland
#103  

Debug feature interesting Tony not just building a robot do I detect a boot test where all movements may be monitored and errors reported,possibly add to cost but could be invaluable in any remote monitoring or fault finding

United Kingdom
#104  

Pat

You are right the smart servos now monitor there own operation and have a number of safety shutdown features built in which is necessary as they have so much torque.

I am sending the servo motor drives off to you today, if you carefully remove the plastic actuator you will find a 5.9mm spindle and 6mm hubs fit nicely on these.

I Look forward to seeing the arm that you build with these!

Tony

#105  

Hi Tony,

I've been lurking in the background these past few months and watching this thread and your progress with amazement. What got my interest was how great your Speech Recognition works. Although Microsoft Windows SR is working OK for me (kinda) in full sized B9, I'm still not satisfied. I'm dreaming of the day my robot will respond like the computers on Star Trek and other Si Fi shows do to SR commands. I see your creation being closer then any other I've seen. Now I'm seeing the Smart servo your developing and am again super interested. I find myself asking "how can I get these systems and servos into my B9? I'm looking forward to seeing the final result and how you are able to integrate this all into EZB. I have three EZB's controlling my B9; one in the leg section, one in the torso and the 3rd in the bubble. EZB controls them great but like I said I want a better SR then Microsoft can give.

Also I'm to the point with my build where I'm designing my B9's arms. They are long and heavy. Made out of rubber with plastic claws and wrists. Then need to retract from full extension (about the length a humans arm) to fully tight to the body. I want them to do at least that and also the claws to open and close and rotate. Where I see your design helping me is the elbow. I'm thinking if your new servo can lift the load of this arm and claw I could slip a design like your into the rubber are of my B9 and have a arm that bends up and down. The original TV robot had a man in the custom and the arms looked great. With some modification Your arm design would work great. Here's a pic of my robot with the arms attached (no claws) but hanging:

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You say they are strong and silent. How much weight will they lift at the extension length of a mans arm and will they hold up to this kind of pressure and use?

Very nice work, Dave Schulpius

#106  

@Toymaker, I am also interested in the 12 volt servos and would like to know your source if possible! Also can they rotate 360 or at least be modified to do so? Once my own robot is done( well as done as possible as anything worthwhile is always ongoing ) I would be interested in your Aimec robot. I also really like your trouble shooting debug pic and LCD diplay. Thanks so much for sharing it:)

@Dave yup it is fun to be "reenergized" again by others innovations and...passions. Are you designing the arm mechanisms because if you are this instructable link might be helpful! (ignore the arduino part:) ) http://www.instructables.com/id/Animatronic-Tentacles-with-Arduino/

United Kingdom
#107  

Hi Dave

Glad you like the EZ:1 robot. Here are some pictures of the new arm attached to the EZ:1 body, (I am still working on the shoulder smart servo). Yes I think these could work well in your B9 arm and should fit inside the arm tubing.

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One of the things that make all this work are the very neat amazingly low cost Bosh servo motors (with feedback potentiometer) that Pat (@Bravia) pointed me to, you can see them here.

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BOSCH-12-VOLT-VARIABLE-SERVO-100-MOVEMENT-GEARED-NEW-/380343639810?ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:GB:1123

At an unbelievable price of £6.99 each! Problem is, Pat said they will not ship outside the UK, so I have bought quite a lot of these units and sent some over to Pat in Ireland (hope they arrived ok Pat?). I would be happy to send you some over Dave (free of charge), but I not sure how much the postage would be?

In the servo motor drive, you get an amazingly powerful worm driven motor that generates huge torque at a very low run current.

User-inserted image

What I needed to add to make the whole thing work was a microcontroller that gives it the "smart" features and a H bridge with motor current sensing all on a small PCB. The servo drive could be controlled via an external H bridge which in turn could be wired to the EZ:B with it reading the pot, I think you have done this on your B9, but I did not want the run-time overhead that this would produce on the software side. The EZ:B just sends a positional command and the smart servo does the rest and continually monitors for stalls and errors like not acquiring the target position within a specified time. Also the servos are so quiet that you can barely hear them moving!

As you can see from the photo, there are no end effectors connected, this new arm allows various types of hands/claws to be added. We so far have 2 end effectors designed a low cost simple claw and a 3 fingered hand.

User-inserted image

The arm as shown can easily pick up a full can of drink and hold it horizontally with no problems (totally silent). I have not fully tested the full pick up force yet, as I need the final shoulder smart servo fitted. They are automobile grade units so they should have a long lifespan.

@irobot58 The original servodrives do 100 degrees, but it is possible to extend this in the firmware on the microcontroller, the wrist on the EZ:1 servo does 180 degrees. You do need to remove the mechanical end stops though.

Tony

#108  

Thanks so much for the information and offer to send me over some of these cool little motors. I am very interested but don't want you to take the hit on either the cost of the motor or the shipment. I would gladly pay full cost of both.

With that said, I'm just a little confused on how this all works mechanically. Forgive me if you've already described all this. It looks like there are two parts to your Smart servo; the 12v Bosh servo motors (with feedback potentiometer) and the little white box it's attached to? If I'm reading this right in your past posts you have a controller board you've made with the microcontroller and other circuits to give it the "Smarts" you mention. That must be inside the little white box?

If this is the case I am totally interested not only in the motor but also the technology (your controller board) that make it all work. I assume if this is what will make me happy I need to wait and buy the whole kit when it comes available. Do you "foresee selling any of these parts as "Stand alone"? I'm mostly interest in the SR and arm servos. If I buy the kit I'd be taking it all apart and retro fitting and modifying it into my B9. Like I mentioned above my arm will need to retract from full extension (about the length a human arm) to fully tight to the body. Also, the claws need to open and close and rotate. If I can get your elbow design in there that would be a huge deal!

I'm completely willing to help implement your new boards and motors and work out the bugs. Like you mentioned I have DC motors working now in B9 and have EZB monitoring the poisons with external pots attached to ADC ports but your method seems much less primitive. I may need a little help implmenting the technology and adapting it to EZB but I think I've got the building part worked out.

@irobot58 , Thanks for the link! I'm heading over there right now to take a look!

Thanks again for your help and the work your've already done, Dave

United Kingdom
#109  

Dave

If you want the servo drives to work on their own, you need a control board like this

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It uses a PIC microcontroller with firmware that I have developed for the smart servo and has the H bridge etc. As this is in development stage, it is still on prototype stripboard. I will be producing a dedicated PCB in the month or so when the design is totally finished. I would be happy to let you have a few pre-programmed PICs as well as the motor drives, but you will need to make up the stripboard circuit yourself. If you dont mind waiting until I have the servo boards done and the first batch delivered then I can let you have a few of these as well, but I am not sure when this will be. If you cover the postage, then Its all free of charge as I feel that it's good to help fellow robot builders especially people that are so dedicated that they produce a robot of the quality of your B9!

I have a friend here in the UK (Adam) that has also built a full size B9, here is a video of the arm mechanism he put together.

On the SR, I wonder if some of the problems you are having is because of the mic? The AIMEC;3 and AIMEC:4 robots use DNS11 with almost 100% accuracy. The EZ:1 robot currently uses Microsoft engine 8 as the robot is controlled by an EZ-B and I have yet to make the DNS link with ARC. But I still get really good accuracy with engine 8 in grammar mode (dictation mode is not so good, but grammar mode is what you use with ARC), but I use a really good wireless mic that just clips to my shirt pocket or collar. This works so well that I can even control music volumes etc as the SNR (signal to noise ratio) is so good with regards to my voice. I use the Revolabs xTAG its pricey but you have to pay if you want this level of performance.

revolabs.com/Products/Product-Line/XTAG-USB.aspx

Hope this helps

#110  

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the kind words about my robot and also thanks so much for the advice on the mic. The one you mention looks like it will work nicely. I might have to go with this to get better response. I wanted to try to stay away from having to wear a mic. Right now I'm using the Blue Snowball and havein it pick up commands from the desk top. I've been having good success with this setup but only when there's not a lot of background noise. All bets are off when there's a group of people milling around.

I've seen your friends video of his B9 arm many times and have been Very impressed. I fact I had planned on building my own based on his version. I was hoping to somehow modify it to add an elbow and when I saw your creation the gears started turning in my mind! All I need is a small enough elbow motor to fit in the 5" rubber arm with enough guts to lift the forearm and claw (and of course any servos and brackets that will operate the claw) and a way to control it. Then I'd also need a motor of some kind to suck the arm in and out.

I love the way you have incorporated an H-Bridge into your control board and have the PIC microcontroller taking the heavy lifting from the EZB. I do know I want to somehow work this into the arms of my B9 but I only hesitate because I don't know yet how to utilize them. Perhaps I should start with a couple motors to see if they are strong and quick enough for how I want to use them. I'm in no real hurry and maybe by the time I have it figured out you'll have the boards ready to sell. I'm no stranger to making my own homemade control boards but I'd rather have a master like you make a proper one. Should I contact you off this forum to arrange shipment and payment?

Thanks again, Dave Schulpius

United Kingdom
#111  

Dave, The wireless mic is perfect for operating the robot in noisy environments people talking in the background etc, it was designed to do this. The other neat thing with the xTAG is that its so small, that when its operating in my shirt pocket, no onlookers can see it at all so they assume the mic is based on the robot.

Thats a good idea about trying out the servo motor drives first, I can spare 4 motor drives and I am honestly happy to donate them to your robot build. You can email me at toymaker(dot)tony(at)gmail(dot)com

Adam is a brilliant robot maker he has made full size Daleks, R2D2, B9 and a Wall-E. Here is my half scale Dalek with Adam's R2D2 at a UK Robotbuilders meetup

I have an idea about building the ram part of your B9 arm, possibly using Meccano. I use Meccano all the time to try out mechanical arrangements, and it is possible to still buy Meccano parts.

www.meccanospares.com

The idea is to use a threaded rod to drive a 3 bore coupling

www.meccanospares.com/shop/article_63-BR-N/3-Bore-Coupling.html?sessid=SDbFjC0SmZy8X8FW2dQbzPBrOat0vfaSJjB6J2IlzCcfrd61H8jx9Hln5dC1eMze&shop_param=cid%3D46%26aid%3D63-BR-N%26

The middle thread is driven forward/back by the rods (center) thread and the hole thing is kept stable by 2 axles in the side (non threaded) bores, the whole thing retracts to the length of the threaded rod. The threaded rod is driven by a motor, end stops would be via a magnet mounted in the retractable part and reed switches in the end stop positions. When the retractable part gets to the stop positions the reed switch makes (detects the magnet) and flags the controller (or EZ-B) that the motor must stop. Meccano parts are pretty strong, so may be good enough for your application as long as the claw is not picking up too heavy loads. It would be easy to mock the mechanism up in Meccano to see it all working and then scale it up (say to 6mm rods) if you need something stronger.

Tony

#112  

Tony, that's a fabulous idea! A screw crank balanced by two rods. Now you've really got my mind gears working! Thanks for the thoughtful input and also the links to help me put it together. You've also sold me on the mic. I'm going to go ahead and order one.

Hey, I really feel bad about hijacking this thread and working through a couple of creative blocks I was having on my robot. I'm going to stop talking about me now and wrap up my business with you on the motors off forum. Can I reach you through the e-mail link you posted earlier in this thread?

I'm in love with your half scale Dalek and how you've animated it. The vids you've shared with us have made my mouth water. If I ever finish this B9 I've got to find the time to build one.

Anyway, thanks again for all the help and ideas. I cant wait to see what rolls out of your work shop.

See ya off forum, Dave

United Kingdom
#113  

Here is the latest news for the new smart servo EZ:1 arm. I have now built the shoulder servo by combining 2 of these amazing Bosh servo motors, here is how it now looks

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These servo motors are incredible, I have tested the new arm (fully extended) by picking up a full 750ml bottle of liquid with no problems at all (or noise), but the most amazing thing about this is that the drive peak current taken by both motors is only 510mA!

The servo driver board has been updated with an opamp in the motor current sensing stage, this is to allow for a really low value sense resistor (0.1R) to be used. Here is the servo driver board housed in the top enclosure of the shoulder servo.

User-inserted image

#114  

Very exciting! Cant wait to see the final product.

Tony, did you see my last post to you in my B9 thread? I'll get to you in a private email as soon as I get a little free time. I hate it when life gets in the way of fun! mad

#115  

Tony, I sure like the new arm, smart servos w/controllers. Amazing strength with safety built in. Your comments about IR sensors on your robots (right, center, left) that allow the robot to respond if someone approaches, sounds great. Full size robot with face recognition, AI, working on EZ Robot. Keep up the awesome work. I can't wait to see more on the AIMEC EZB-2! Especially how it looks. Any additional available info. sdstud1975@yahoo.com The new EZB4 sounds great, can't wait. Steve S

Ireland
#116  

Tony That brilliant what you have done with those motors ,I suggest you mass produce your controller card there has to be big demand.As for using two motors to increase the arm lift power thats unique,maybe you should have a see through cover on the arm to show off your robot building talents.

Pat

#117  

Ya, sometimes its hard to cover up call our hard work. That's why I installed lights in my robot. I can turn them on and not only see to work but also show off his insides.

I agree, Tony does awesome work.

United Kingdom
#118  

Dave, I have put 3 PIR sensors in your package, you will need a simple single transistor buffer stage from the output of the PIR to the input of your controller. I will put a circuit diagram of this into your package with some transistors. I have set the package aside for you and its ready to go when your ready.

Steve, The EZ:2 (commercial version of the EZ:1 robot) is looking awesome, I so wish I could share this with you all at this time, but we have made a decision to keep the body design "under wraps" until we go into the beta testing phase. The EZ:2 looks totally different from the EZ:1 shown in this thread as its not humanoid looking, the EZ:2 looks like something from a futuristic film set!

Pat, Yes I plan to make the smart servo controller available when its fully tested and the PCB is designed, then I would be happy for you and Dave to have a few to try out with your Bosh servo motors.

Tony

#119  

Thanks Tony, I'm overwhelmed. Your truly a great guy! I'm really looking forward on working with all the new toys your introducing me to. I've been thinking about these sensors and thinking that this is one of the "dream" features I've been looking to install in my B9 but thought I'd never be able to.

I feel bad I haven't had more time then to blurt these short posts to your thread. I've been putting in long hours in the real world. Worked 19 hrs through the night last night till 6am this morning. I'll contact you through your private e-mail with all the details you've been asking for in this package and other things.

United Kingdom
#120  

Dave, no problem I know what its like working long hours! Make contact when you are ready.

The 3 PIR sensor array is a neat addition to a robot as it tells the robot where to start looking for humans, also in my algorithm it constantly monitors all motion in the 3 directions and computes actual activity levels at front, left, right. This end up as 3 variables, the higher variable value tell the processor where the most activity is. So say if 2 or 3 people were on the left side and only 1 person was in front and on the right side, then the robot will take more interest in the left side as that is where the most activity is.

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Here is the test rig I built for developing the algorithms for the 3 PIR body heat direction sensor array. The PIRs here have covers to restrict their viewing angles, you will probably not need these on your B9 as the robots torso is so broad, but on a small rig like this they are necessary. On the microcontroller board you will be able to see the 3 x transistor buffers required for the PIRs and a good old SD20 servo driver.

The round part in front of the board is the new EZ:1 robot ear, you will see the PIR protruding through the perspex.

Tony

#121  

Toymaker a possible silly question.... Will you be selling the completed arms by themselves? I'm interested in a left and right with the 3 finger claws. No shoulder joint but the remaining joints. Really like your design! Thanks Chris

United Kingdom
#122  

Hi Chris, yes we will be supplying arms and claws, glad you like the design.

Tony

United Kingdom
#123  

Here is the latest evolution of the EZ:1 and EZ:2 5DOF arm with the double smart servos fitted to the shoulder, they are nice and simple to fix to the robot. It has our low cost claw (option) as its end effector. I am not finished with the arm design yet as I think its too long for the robots size, so I will be reducing the size of the first section after the shoulder section, once I am happy with this, I will put a video up of the arm in operation.

User-inserted image

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#124  

Tony, Great work, that will be one HD amazing arm. I agree that it might look a little long for body, but you will get it worked out, you usually do. I believe you mentioned the AIMEC EZ2 body will be somewhat similar in size, but different shape. Thanks for posting those AIMEC videos on your other thread, love them. I sent you an Email Tony. The AIMEC 3 humanoid body is also impressive. Keep up the great work and updates. Thanks Steve S

#125  

Sweet! Very neat and functional looking. How long are the arms as they stand now?

United Kingdom
#126  

Hi Dave, they are currently 60cm.

Steve, not received an email from you (checked my spam filter also), are you using the right email address? You can contact me from the Conceptioneering or AMI websites.

www.conceptioneering.co.uk www.appliedmachineintelligence.co.uk

#127  

This is a Great arm. Hey, Tony, check out the other Tony's 3000 HD-7. His arm has the capabilities of hugging someone. Just add the U-shaped bracket and another joint on the shoulder so it goes up and down as well as round and round. I saw the video and it was awsome.

Have fun,;) Mel

United Kingdom
#128  

Hi Mel, I pretty happy with the 5DOF arm as it is now, its built for precision quietness and ability to pick up heavy objects. This is in part thanks to the neat servos motors that I am using. You will see how powerful these are when you receive the ones I am sending you, they would be perfect for your robots shoulder motors. I use 2 to drive the EZ:1 shoulders as I need the end effector to be able to pick up some serious weight, but one should work well on your smaller robot.

I will get you package off next week, but it looks like it may take a few weeks to reach you surface mail. It will contain servo motors, 6mm hubs (to attach to motor spindles), couple of metal servo horns, 3 x PIR sensors, ultrasonic ranger and an Sharp IR ranger.

Tony

Spain
#129  

Tony great job with the arms, so I can understand the black box are the motor and potentiometer, and control electronics are apart, I like it because it makes better use of the space that would occupy high torque servo, an engine much more torque instead. One question: what will be the weight of the claw manipilacion about?

#131  

Humm, 63cm. That's 2 feet in my part of the world. I think that would fit perfectly inside my B9's rubber arms. So many ways to go. I love it.

Spain
#132  

Tony has done some weight lifting test with the arm? though I suppose the ability to manipulate depend on the total length weight arm. Any idea how much weight you can lift your arm? Your robot is technologically impressive, I love it. greetings.

United Kingdom
#133  

Hi R2, For initial tests the end effector (claw/hand) comfortably picks up and holds 750ml of liquid which is roughly 900g in weight. I am pretty sure that I can push it above this. The main thing I really pleased about is how silent and smooth the arms operation is.

Tony

Spain
#134  

Awesome, thanks for the reply, 900 grams is a very high value for an arm 50 or 60 cm long, it is because with a 30kg torque servo lift him 300 grams of weight in a 35cm long arm. And the combined use of the two arms of the robot would be 1800 grams or more, I guess inside their black boxes are a low speed engines with a gearbox ratio 100/1 or higher to avoid engine noise when subjected to heavy loads. Tony your project is a great example to follow.:)

#135  

Yes R2D2, it's technologically impressive and looks great also!

Tony, Did you receive my private e-mail a few days ago. with the shipping info?

United Kingdom
#136  

Here is the new (lower cost) claw prototype for the EZ:1 and EZ:2 robots

User-inserted image

It can be controlled from the EZ-B using PWM (or the I2C bus) this is how it currently works.

  1. Sending a value < 50 then the claw fully opens
  2. Sending the value of 50 forces the claw to half open position this way the proximity sensor can sense past the claw fingers
  3. Sending a value of > 50 denotes the closure (hold) pressure ie 51 is the lightest grip while 100 is the strongest (crush) grip.

As soon as I get some free time I will get a video up of the first trials of the new arm and claw.

Tony

#137  

Looking forward to seeing how this works. Soon I'll be working on my B9 claws and arms. Along with the info, ideas and help you've already provided me this may be something else that may work.

Does your mind ever take a break from finding new ways to improve robotics? Amazing.

#138  

@R2D2 , the joints in the picture appear to be jumbo 1/4 scale servos. They may have modified them for feedback but that is what they appear to be.

Spain
#139  

@ jstarne1 I read that they were bosch engines somewhere in this thread, but do not know if it is engine and gearbox that can be achieved easily.

United Kingdom
#140  

@R2D2, you are right these are not jumbo servos (the original arm that I abandoned did have this type of servo), they are now low cost Bosch actuators (worm driven motor and gearbox) out of cars. I needed to develop custom electronics and firmware to make them into ultra high torque smart servos.

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United Kingdom
#141  

Here is a video of the first test trials on the new EZ:1 and EZ:2 low cost heavy duty arm using the specially developed worm driven "Smart Servos". As you can see its operation is virtually silent, while it has the ability to smoothly and accurately pick up reasonably heavy loads.

The development of this arm and the Smart Servos has put back the main EZ:2 Robot development programme by about 2.5 months, but I think its is worth it, to be able to produce arms of this precision and strength.

Tony

#142  

Tony, that is a very nice looking arm! They don't appear to sell those Bosch actuators here in the USA and the Ebay UK web site said it does not ship to USA?

When you finish with your arm designs I would like to purchase two complete arms and also talk to you about the A.I. software.

You can email me at: rex.gordon61@gmail.com

Rex

#143  

Tony, The new arm movement is very smooth, quiet, strong, and impressive!
I know you mentioned you can control the claw with PWM from the EZB, are you controlling the arm from EZB in this video? I love big robots and it looks amazing. You are making great progress in the development of the AIMEC EZ robots. We appreciate your updates. Thank You, Steve S

United Kingdom
#144  

Rex, I can spare some Bosch actuators if you want to try them? I used surface mail for Mel and Dave's delivery, Mel's got delivered in a week and I am hoping that Dave package will arrive soon. The surface mail cost is very reasonable from the UK to the US, so I will cover the cost for you, and of course the actuators will be free of charge, let me know if you are interested.

Steve, yes everything is controlled by the EZ-B, here is a view from the back

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Neat thing about the Bosch actuators is that they are reasonably small in size enabling the 2 shoulder smart servos to be mounted outside of the Robots body freeing lots of space internally for electronics etc.

Tony

#145  

Tony, are you using one of the Bosch actuators for the claw open/close?

United Kingdom
#146  

Rex, no the claw has a smaller worm driven motor inside the claw enclosure.

Tony

Spain
#147  
#148  

@Tony,

I love the smoothness and how quite the motors are. The speed seems good also but a little faster would be better. Not a deal killer though. Do you have the speed set all the way up? I'm looking for ward to getting my package from you as I'm going to be trying these in the arms of my B9. Still need the see if they will pick up the load of the entire arm (very heavy with rubber, slides, claws, motors and wrists).

Also Tony, do you have a print or drawing of the bracket you used to connect the two shoulder motors to the load of the arm?It looks very expertly built. Nice craftsmanship.

@R2D2, I'm under the impression that these bosch motors (engines) already have the feedback pots built into them.

United Kingdom
#149  

@R2D2, Yes the Bosch actuators that I use have built in feedback potentiometers. Dave, when you get yours, the top 2 connections are for the motor and the bottom 3 are for the pot.

Dave, I can speed the arm up if I wanted to, just by the turn of a (multi-turn) preset on the buck convertor, but I dont want the servos to move too fast as this will cause the EZ:1 robot to lurch and be unstable when manipulating heavy objects in its claw. Its ok for big pick and place arms and car welding/paint spraying robots to be fast as they are bolted down to a concrete floor, but on a mobile robot that is to carry and manipulate "real" loads in its end effector, then lurching (and unbalance) can be a real problem, I want to see smooth and fluid movements in our heavy duty arm.

Light weight arms do not have this problem and can move quite fast, but they are not expected to do any real heavy duty work.

I have learnt to my cost that its not possible to make an arm of this capability (that I require) with RC servo's even high torque ones. The only servos that could get these arms capabilities are Dynamixel. You would probably need 2 x MX-106T for the shoulder and one for the elbow (vertical) at $500 each and a MX-64T for the elbow (horizontal) and wrist rotate at $300 each, so we are talking $2100 for just the servos! Also the EZ-B does not currently have the ability to control the RS-485 bi-directional comms link required, so it would be necessary (at this time) to design an interface micro that converted I2C commands from the EZ-B to RS-485 serial as (again currently) I2C is the only comms on the EZ-B that has read and write functions.

In contrast, the smart servo that I have developed for the EZ:1 and EZ:2 arms has just $20 of components in, so instead of costing thousands of dollars that a Dynamixel version would our arm will be in the hundreds. Of course you could make much cheaper arms with the Dynamixel AX-12 and AX-18 etc but they would not have any where near the power/torque required for our arm specification. The EZ:2 robot is being designed to do useful work around the home, so it has to have powerful working arms and manipulators.

The bracket connecting the 2 actuators is a standard "C" bracket on 6mm hubs

www.active-robots.com/motors-wheels/servo-hardware/aluminium-c-large-servo-brackets-2.html

Tony

United Kingdom
#150  

The pre-production "Smart Servo" PCBs are in, they are fully self contained and measure 60 x 46mm. They can be controlled via regular servo PWM or the I2C bus

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I will probably go for an even smaller board using SMT (surface mount) for full production units.

Here are the smart servos in the EZ:1 robots head pan/tilt setup which is very smooth and quiet in operation. The worm drives takes all the problems out of tilting the heavy head which used to buzz slightly under load when it was made from regular high torque servos, these are completely silent.

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Tony

Ireland
#151  

Fantastic Tony:P Hope you make huge progress in 2014 now you have a smooth motor drive unit ,well done Pat

United Kingdom
#152  

Thanks Pat, you finding the Bosch actuators (on ebay) for me helped a lot! Because I am now buying them in volume, I have got the unit price down to just over £4 which is incredible for such a powerful worm driven motor drive with integral feedback pot.

Tony

#153  

Toy maker can you post a link and description , I would like to check them out. Thanks.

United Kingdom
#154  

Josh, they will not ship them outside the UK, thats why I have personally sent some out to Pat, Mel, Dave and Rex. I can spare a couple for you if you want to try them out?

Tony

#155  

These are sweet little motors. I wish I could buy them here in the US but thanks to Tony I have a few. Thanks again Tony!

I love the control boards. I with you had them complete and for sale! cool

#157  

Oh nice! Will be eagerly anticipating this!

#158  

Tony, I like the progress on your AIMEC EZB robot development. The new arm looks fantastic. I am currently building arms for my robot Captain Ann Droid. I also bought a female mannequin for a new project, but it needs heavy duty shoulder servos. I like large robots. Do you have a projected date when the AIMEC EZ2 robot might be available? Looking forward to the new EZB4 and your AIMEC EZ@ robot! Thank you, Steve S

United Kingdom
#159  

Hi Steve

Unfortunately, in now looks like we will not be entering into the hobby robot market, the fact is there does not seem to be enough demand to warrant setting up the huge infrastructure required. The other big problem is that very few people (in the hobby market) would want to spend this amount of money even on a very advanced robot like the EZ:2. Demographics are also a part of this equation, where most of our business would come from the US, but transit costs for a large 4 foot tall robot from the UK are going to be huge, we estimate it could be up to a third of the cost of the actual robot itself! I have recently noticed others on the forum are now going to offer custom large robots but being US based they will have the advantage of much lower delivery costs, and quite frankly there is not enough room for 2 players in this very limited market so this makes our current decision seem even more like being the right thing to do.

So our plans now are to sell the EZ:2 robot into education sectors across the World and maybe selling some pre-built EZ:2 robots through distributors like Robot Shop, Active Robots etc.

The others forum members will probably make great large size custom robots but I guess they will not be able to offer the EZ:2 features like true face and object recognition together with a real self-learning Ai (a product of 6 years work), and low cost precision worm based smart servos. Anyway I wish them all the luck with their endeavor and they should certainly find a very nice niche business if they stay with the EZ-B.

I have made some great friends here on the EZ-B forum and will always continue to help with things where I can and will also still keep you all updated with the cool things that we are doing with the EZ:2 robot if there is still interest in the project. But I don't want to get your hopes up that there will be a fully featured kit robot available later this year because this is now unlikely.

Also Steve, I can send you some Bosch motor drives if you want to give them a try, let me know.

Tony

#160  

@Toymaker

Have you considered splitting off the higher margin software and still providing it to the hobby market without the hardware? I for one would be very interested in the mentioned recognition features (particularly if there was a way to plug them into ARC without writing my whole robot interface with SDK's), and would happily pay for them.

I agree with your demographic analysis for the hardware. I would probably not have been in the market for your robot kit even if the shipping cost was not so high. I am more interested in making from assorted bits and parts than putting together from a kit. I think there probably is a kit market, but I would imagine it is fairly limited in size.

Alan

United Kingdom
#161  

That is some sad news to read. I hope you do keep us all updated with the developments of the EZ:2 despite it not being available though. I for one have been following it with great interest.

I guess I may be at an advantage being UK based, if nothing else I may be lucky enough to see the EZ:2 in the "flesh" one day (you are aware than once it is complete I will be making that drive across the country to see it in action right?:))

#162  

Tony, we still Love you. And , we understand perfectly. Too Bad.

But, what about the software? It looked promising. In fact, it was the MOST promising part of the robot. A robot is simply NOTHING without the software.

Let us know.

Thanks,

#163  

Tony, I agree with Rich, that is really sad news, but I understand your logic. Recently I purchased a "DR. WHO" Cyborg helmet on Ebay, sent from the U.K.. I realized the shipping issue, but it was something I wanted. Maybe not everyone will understand. That being said, it is a shame that we will not have such a great product available. I am still interested in the advanced features you were incorporating into the AIMEC EZ Robot and willing to buy them. The amazing A.I., face and object recognition, smart servo controller, head control module, the heavy duty AIMEC arm, and the I.R. control module. Maybe you could still offer them. Thank you for honesty and the way you have interacted with the community, first class. Please keep us informed with your outstanding work and if AIMEC EZ Robot makes it to the "The Robot Shop", still might be interested. Thank You, Steve S

#164  

Crap Tony. This sucks. To bad the shipping costs will keeping you from offering your robot to us over the big pond. I'm sure your version of the "big robot kit" would have kicked the Competition's ass all over the world.

I'm honored I was able to meet you here on line and get to watch your obvious genius in robotic control. Seeing your robot evolve has been fascinating. Like looking into the future. I don't know how what you have done can be competed with. I truly hope you continue to visit our forum and be a part of out little family. ;)

Good luck in your adventure my friend!

Dave Schulpius

United Kingdom
#165  

Thetechguru, I will give that some thought.

Rich, You will always be welcome to come down to our design studio, we are on the Ashdown Forest which is what 1000 acre wood was based on in "Winnie the Pooh" we are actually 2 miles from Pooh Sticks Bridge which actually exists! The decision is purely commercial, I have licensed 58 inventions/products in the last 12 years some selling in multi-millions so I have a keen eye on the commercial aspects of retailing products, I just feel now that its just not time for an advanced large robot kit, there is just not a viable market out there yet. A robot as highly advanced as the EZ:2 should do very well in the Education sectors especially as it has features that are only found on very expensive robots like the four hundred thousand dollar PR2 robot, yet the EZ:2 will be a fraction of this cost.

Dave, Mel thanks for the kind words. I will keep posting bits and pieces here and am always available in you need any tech help.

Steve, I will email you regarding the Bosh motor drive, you can have some free of charge for your robots shoulders. Is this the Cyberman helmet that you got off ebay?

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Tony

United Kingdom
#166  

For those of you using the Bosh motor drives, here is another jpeg on how 2 motor drive servos can be mechanically interconnected.

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The large hub allows for a really strong mechanical connection to the 6mm spindle and makes the higher servo very solid and stable.

Tony

#167  

Nice looking work Tony. It looks like a very substantial connection for stability. I know you talked about the brackets before, are the spindles custom made? Yes, your DR.WHO helmet looks similar to mine. Thank you for sharing, Steve S

#168  

Amazing concern for your fellow robot friends. I'll be using this soon.

Glad your going to stay around Tony.

Have you considered giving your customers living overseas the option of paying the high shipping costs if they wish? Not sure what your business model is but instead of shipping a fully assembled large robot perhaps you could sell a "kit" that's packed in pieces and shipped in smaller, light and compact shipping materials. As you know after shipping to me and a few others here there are many shipping options available. Some of them are more affordable then others. Also large shipping companies like Bax Global, USP, DHL and others give better rates if you have a business relationship with them. Also like mentioned above I really think there would be a large demand worldwide for just parts of your robot like the arms, Smart servo boards, face recognition, exc.

Just some ideas because I'd hate to see you limit your amazing technologically and craftsmanship to just your area. You'd be doing yourself and the rest of the world a disservice.

United Kingdom
#169  

To keep my EZ:1 Robot thread complete up to date, I am posting the Object Recognition video.

I know some of the forum members are interested in the EZ:1 and EZ:2 development, so here is an update. I have nearly finished developing 2 new (low cost) robotic ranger/sensor systems. The first is a fixed ultrasonic ranger system that completely and accurately covers the complete front 2.5m view of the robot and can even detect things like thin table legs etc. We are using ultrasonic transducers that are used in automobiles reversing systems which makes the new ultrasonic system almost invisible to the onlooker as they are the same colour as the robots body. The second sensor I call "Sense Field", with this via a special internal antenna the robot can detect almost any object that moves into a 1.5m radius at 360 degrees (so completely surrounding the robot with a sense field). This sensor will also detect any human/animal approaching from any angle and currently has 3 sense ranges being Far, Midway and Close.

I will be putting a video up of the systems working in the next couple of weeks.

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#170  

Video is outstanding, you are very good robot builder.

:):):):) j

#171  

Toymaker, An ultrasonic system that covers over 8 ' front view ? "ultrasonic ranger system". A second sensor that covers almost 5' radius for 360 degrees coverage? and also knows distance? So much to look forward to! EZB4 and AIMEC EZ Robot! Again, another want on my radar. I can,t wait! The upcoming video is something else that I am looking forward to. Thank you for sharing updates. Steve S