The Robonova-1 humanoid robot kit from Hitec has sold thousands of units worldwide, and is frequently featured on science, technology, and gadget television and radio programs. Most of the people that buy one are very happy to have the assembled robot walk, do some karate moves, and even a cartwheel or two.
But, for others, that basic functionality is just the beginning of a long, and extremely rewarding journey. They spend countless hours figuring out each new challenge and capability. It might be as basic as creating a new move, or as complex as adding additional degrees of freedom and completely redesigning the robot's frame and geometry.
One challenge that's particularly interesting to us at the moment is adding sensors to the robot and then using their signals to modify it's behavior. It's the first, very preliminary yet necessary, step towards creating truly autonomous behaviors. A good example is the work done recently by "DirtyRoboto", a frequent participant on the RoboSavvy online robotics forums.
"DirtyRoboto" is his (or her) nickname on the RoboSavvy forums - we have no idea who this creative Robonova-1 builder might be in real life. But, frankly, we don't need to know - the quality and innovative nature of their work speaks for itself.
Over the past couple of months, DirtyRoboto has posted a whole series of Robonova-1 based projects, usually including video clips showing the robot in action. We'll be posting about some of his projects here on Robots Dreams soon.
In this particular instance, DirtyRoboto decided to implement sonar sensors on-board the Robonova-1. The sensor signals feed into the robots controller and are used to trigger other movements, like indicating curiosity or even attacking an opponent. In keeping with the general spirit of the RoboSavvy community, DirtyRoboto has been very open about discussing the details behind the project, as well as responding to questions and even sharing some of the source code.