Robot tentacle — part four

The second prototype! This one has some significant advantages from the first. I decreased the length, and the tentacle is now tapered, so that the final control ring is 40% the size of the first. These changes have made all the difference, and it’s ready for motor control.

Speaking of motor control, the first attempt!

Here you can see the stepper motor winding the paracord, and lifting the tentacle. We were able to control the stepper motor with just some Python scripting from a Raspberry Pi.

Motor control being added

Here’s quick peak at what’s to come — adding permanent control. I’m going to be building a housing for the whole assembly in the next few days.

Now is a great time to mention this is now (and has been for some time) a team project. I’ve been focusing on my own process here, but it’s very exciting to have a large team of programmers and engineers (students at CU) working here with me. They are in Ben Shapiro’s machine learning class, and they are interested in controlling the tentacle via a gesture recognition device, the Myo band. This may serve some accessibility use cases, for instance wheelchair-bound people may be able to use Myo band input to control the tentacle, enabling greater environmental manipulation.

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