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View Full Version : [Project] Semi-Intelligent third hand.



PseudoNym00
11-17-2008, 12:46 PM
I'm sure that a lot of you with soldering experience know what a third hand is.
http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:XKBaAXb-RII13M:http://www.wintools.ch/images/TroisiemeMain_01.jpg

So imagine a third hand, that is a robotic arm, that not only holds things for you, but also retrieves tools. My project, codenamed Zeek, will be roughly that. Basically I intend to be able to tell zeek "Zeek, get small Phillips head screwdriver" and zeek will recognize "zeek" "Get" "small phillips head screwdriver" move from its idle position to the Phillips head screwdriver slot, grabs the screwdriver, and "hands" it to me(by returning to the idle position and dropping it basically) Later versions might incorporate RFIDs to make things easier. Although I haven't gotten started on it yet here's the plan.

Zeek 0.1 will be(hopefully) a rhino robotics XR-3 arm (http://www.rhinorobotics.com/xr3_flyer.html), on some sort of rail, with just a shelf to catologue tools. "Zeek identify [item]" "Zeek get [itme]" "Zeek put [item] 'back'" "Zeek delete slot [#]" and some teleoperation will be the main bulk of his functions.

zeek 1.0 will probably be the same arm on a different rail with a tool-box to work from, along with a few more functions, probably a camera and some advanced user location sensing.

zeek 2.0+ will hopefully be on a chassis with a bigger arm and a lot more commands capable of roaming a workshop and coming to you. perhaps with advanced gestural interfaces like "Hold here".

Unfortunately, before I can get things rolling with the actual robot, I've got to get a rough husk of the code going before I can actually get the arm to play with. Right now, all I've got is a outline of what 0.1's code will look like.

Comments, constructive criticism, and suggestions welcome.

jes1510
11-17-2008, 05:42 PM
Wow that is a really ambitious project. You are essentially building the arm from Iron Man the movie. I remember sitting in the theater thinking that I really wanted a small version of that arm.

Off the top of my head you have a lot of technical challenges ahead of you.

Speech recognition: While there have been many advances in speech recognition it is still far from perfect. Having a tv or radio on in the room will greatly interfere with the performance. Ambient noise is always an issue.

Item recognition: If you lay down the screwdriver and then tell Zeke to put it back then it has to be able to identify the screw driver on your table. That is a pretty big task in itself. It will also need to be able to reach any point on your table to pick something up.

Bin recognition: Figuring out how the tool bins will be identified by Zeke will be pretty complex. RFID tags maybe?

Definitely keep us updated on this project. If you get it all figured out we all may have to build one!

sthmck
11-17-2008, 05:42 PM
Sounds like a pretty cool project. I got the same basic idea after I watched Iron Man. From what I am reading it seems like this arm is not going to be mobile? If that is the case look into controlling through your computer. Then You could take advantage of some pretty good speech recognition software. Also you could use a program like roborealm and do vision recognition, that way you wouldn't even have to worry about rfid. Good luck this sounds like a lot of fun.

lnxfergy
11-17-2008, 06:31 PM
RFID sounds like a good idea, you could tag the tools, then have a reader on the end of the arm which can pick out the right tool by scanning the rack.

Initially, you could probably program it so you say "screwdriver A" and it pulls that tool out of the rack and hands it to you. If you have feedback on your arm, you could use that "tug" to decide when to let it go (after you have stopped and let everything settle for a second, so that moving the tool doesn't generate a tug). Then an simple IR sensor could be used to determine when you hand the tool back to the arm, and it can go and find an open spot on the tool rack to store it.

If a tool is missing it could tell you that. I really want to see the robot occasionally freak out and say "They took my STAPLER!"

Good luck...

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
11-17-2008, 07:37 PM
Barcoding is cheaper and works well for that kinda thing too.

A Cuecat can be had for a few dollars and modified easily - if you don't have a box full laying around from the RadioShack days. . . Common barcode fonts are available free (http://www.bizfonts.com/free/). Just print 'em on mailing lables and stick 'em on the rack.

As far as that arm goes - I'd need a BUNCH more information before I invested in it. Their site just doesn't leave me, personally, feeling all warm-and-fuzzy.

Here's some pre-modified usb-enabled CueCats for ~$10 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=360099268438&ssPageName=ADME:B:EF:US:1123)

PseudoNym00
11-18-2008, 03:09 AM
Barcoding is cheaper and works well for that kinda thing too.

A Cuecat can be had for a few dollars and modified easily - if you don't have a box full laying around from the RadioShack days. . . Common barcode fonts are available free (http://www.bizfonts.com/free/). Just print 'em on mailing lables and stick 'em on the rack.

As far as that arm goes - I'd need a BUNCH more information before I invested in it. Their site just doesn't leave me, personally, feeling all warm-and-fuzzy.

Here's some pre-modified usb-enabled CueCats for ~$10 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=360099268438&ssPageName=ADME:B:EF:US:1123)

my er... sponsor, has about five of those arms lieing around, if I can finish the code I get to use one for free, so... yeah. Bar codes is an awesome idea, thanks. This is why I put this project on here in the first place, I can't think of everything. also, the tug thing is a nice idea too, thanks inxfergy

and yes, it was inspired by iron man.

ooops
11-19-2008, 07:28 AM
Very cool project!
Don't forget the fire extinguisher.

Droid Works
11-20-2008, 07:01 AM
Wow! Its not that often you hear about the rhino arm. I have one with the controller, power supply and remote...lol I haven't used it in years im not even sure it still works.