Prey objects for the foot-bots

A Swarmanoid foot-bot gripping a prey object

I work in robotics, but on the artificial intelligence side of things. That means, almost all the lab is composed of computer scientists and the like. (and their non-affinity to hardware can be quite exasperating at times!) The robots are designed and build at other groups by people that, in contrary to myself, know what they are doing. :) Nevertheless, from time to time I get to dabble in hardware in order to fix things or to enable us doing certain experiments that where not possible without my additions.

This is the case with the objects we’ve designed here. It’s meant for the foot-bot, which is a wheeled robot designed during the Swarmanoid project (see this post for a video explaining the project). While the foot-bot features a gripper to connect to other robots, it cannot simply grab any object, as it depends on a special gripping ring for attachment. The objects we’ve designed are meant to close this gap: the foot-bots can grab and transport them, allowing us to do experiments in foraging and the like.

Left: The two rings that make up an object plus the required M2 screws. Right: An assembled gripping ring.

For me it was the first time to go from the design phase to a fully finished “product” that has the look and feel of a professionally made object. Well, we’ve got it made by a company, so that’s not really a surprise. Anyways, for someone that usually just hacks stuff together, it was quite a nice experience!

For more info on the objects and their design (which is, in the end, quite simple) you can check out the technical report and the supplementary on-line material.