It has been a full two months since the last post here, it has been difficult to find much time recently to work on the Quadruped4 robot.
Finally though I reached a point where I felt I had achieved enough progress to warrant a blog post. I have written enough firmware for the two Atmel processors on the Dynamixel Robotics Controller to get AX-12+ servos moving under control of a laptop connected via WiFi.
I also had to change the small test application I had written to send AX-12 commands via serial to use a TCP/IP socket connection, but once this was done, I had a servo happily moving back and forth as I dragged the mouse over a dial control. May not seem like much, but this is a pretty important milestone I think. If you look really hard at the fuzzy video, you can see the temporary wires tacked on to add a JTAG interface on the secondary micro (secondary micro handles the 1Mbit/s servo comms). I had a fair bit of trouble getting the SPI link between the two micros going well, and a borrowed JTAG debugger was very handy.
On another note, this week Honda's ASIMO robot appeared in Melbourne as part of an Australian tour. Of course I had to go see it even though the show would have pretty much zero technical content! Here is a bit of a sample of some video I took during the show as I sat among all the kiddies.
Back to the Quadruped4 robot, and the next step in construction. Now I have enough electronics and firmware going to move servos over WiFi I think it is time to start on the physical build. I have the design finished to a buildable level I think, and in the interests of getting something going sooner rather than later, I will start on construction. I am quite happy with the attached render of the latest cad model - it looks kind of like it is on the surface of Mars...