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Thread: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

  1. #11

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    But my main question is still torturing me...

    You know this creature and the care it takes... Do you think an average guy with no knowledge of robotics, could in two months get used to handle this robot safely, and to deal with all the random errors and mechanical problems it can have? I need your opinion on this particular subject.

    Once I decide to put it into my theatrical play, if it brings problem after problem, and sucks all my energy and concentration, I will collapse... I need to know if the problems this robot can present (code, cables, mechanical parts, batteries... etc.) can be handled by an average person in reasonable ratio between time invested and good results.

    Thanks again.

  2. #12

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    Hi David,

    For me that is a real hard question to answer. I think it really depends on a whole variety of things, like:

    You say you have no robotic knowledge, but how comfortable are you with electronics and mechanical things. For example suppose a servo fails, how comfortable are you to tear down the robot enough to replace the servo and/or replace the gears...

    Electrically and batteries: It may depend on how comfortable you are on doing such things. Also it may depend on how you build/configure your PhantomX. For example: some have been built with the battery above the top plate, to make it easier to remove/replace. For example I believe Zenta did that with his earlier ones and then maybe had a cover over it.

    Also with Electronics/Software: how comfortable are you with experiencing with this. For example depending on your needs an Arbotix-M may or may not be your best solution...

    A big question to me is, how are planning to control it? Are you planning to simply use the Arbotix Commander to make it do some simple tasks, like walk several feet in one direction? If so that should be fine. If you are wanting it to work with some more complex things, than need to know more...

    For example if your goal is to get the life like performances from it like Zenta (Kåre), than you are probably going to need a better controller. Which was all custom built.

    If you are wanting it instead do something like: use a 3d Camera and/or sensor like Lidar and have the robot do things like walk behind someone and maybe stay a few feet behind them, that is a lot of work, probably using ROS, with other processor on the PhantomX like an RPI3 or ODroid or NUC or...

    So again to me it is a really difficult question to answer. My suggestion is give it a try and see how comfortable you are with it. I would suggest having several spare parts, like a few extra servos, a few batteries and be ready to experiment. And feel free to ask questions.

    Sorry, I know I did not give an answer here.

    Kurt

  3. #13

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    @ Kurteck, nice attempt! It helps me to put myself in the situation. But still not answering... I did handle small devices on stage, with simple connections to batteries. I did handle small scripts and some custom Max/msp programs dealing with simple sensors and tasks. But all of this was already a lot of concentration and work for me. Specially because I am also the one in charge of all production and preparations... I can't afford to be focused only in the robot! Thant's my main concern.

    My plan is to control the robot with the joystick. Ideally with the Phoenix code, which adds a lot of moves and actions that I love so much.

    I will take these next two weeks to make my decision, any opinion is welcome!

  4. #14
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    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    With Commedia Robotica, there was one computer science graduate student to create the MAX interface to the DARwIn-OP framework and one electrical/electronic/mechanical engineering graduate to handle all maintenance as part of normal lab work. While the PhantomX is a very nice product, it is still mostly intended for hobbyists and researchers willing to spend a bit of time building and/or fixing the robot. If you can find someone with a PhantomX in the region who is willing to rent their robot and to travel around providing support, then it should be possible to add it to the cast.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    bleh

  5. #15

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    Honestly, I think that, with the constraints you're suggesting, it's probably too much risk for your use case.
    If you could afford two robots so you have a "hot spare," that might reduce the risk.

  6. #16

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    Quote Originally Posted by jwatte View Post
    If you could afford two robots so you have a "hot spare," that might reduce the risk.
    Two robots, and an expert in robots traveling with us. That would be ideal situation. But unfortunately I'm producing myself this work, and I can only afford one robot, and I have to be in charge of it.

    So you think guys it would be to risky, right?

  7. #17

    Re: Advice and opinion about Phantom X for use in theatrical performance

    So you think guys it would be to risky, right?
    From the data you've given us, I would give it a 70% chance that you will have to cancel at least some performance, with the set-up you describe.
    This is not based on any kind of solid statistics, just a gut feel.
    There's probably also a 20% chance that something will go wrong enough that you can't go on -- catastrophic failure of some sort.
    Is that too risky? I don't know. Maybe you're already taking other risks that are just as big, and it's necessary to create your art. Only you can make that determination!

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