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Thread: Puppet Master/ Slave setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Plymouth, UK
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    Puppet Master/ Slave setup

    Hi I'm a total neeb here so please be gentle!!

    I'm a puppet builder in the UK and one of my clients has asked to have arms that move on his puppet via servos!
    I normally use hobby servos and Maestro but realised that this wouldnt be good enough.
    I saw the video where the motion was copied from one arm to the other using dynamixels and wanted to know how difficult this would be with no programming experience!

    For a puppeteer to be able to control fluid movement like this would be invaluable. I have used RC before but that doesnt give the full realistic range of movement, and the servos are very "jumpy"

    Again, any help would be really gratefully received.


  2. #2

    Re: Puppet Master/ Slave setup

    The RoboPlus software that comes with the Dynamixel series of servos can do some of those things without programming.
    You have to read the instructions, which are sometimes hard to just FIND, and then configure all the joints, but once that's done, you should be able to pose the arms, and "capture" the positions, and then play motions that move through those positions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Plymouth, UK
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    Re: Puppet Master/ Slave setup

    Thanks for the reply,
    Will they move/mirror the joints movement as I move them in real time?

  4. #4

    Re: Puppet Master/ Slave setup

    Is the theory that you have two robots, one to capture the pose, and one to play it back?
    That would require software.
    The user "tician" on this board used to support a graduate art program that used robots for ballet; he probably would have a better idea about how complex this would be.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Re: Puppet Master/ Slave setup

    How big is the puppet? Does it have to support its own weight at all times (free standing, bolted to a floor, hanging off wires, etc.)? Does it have to physically interact with other objects (lift a weight, wave around a sword, etc.)?

    For real-time control, a 'control' armature matching the design of the puppet and built out of XL-320 servos in low torque operation is the cheapest option shy of custom position sensors. The XL-320 and AX-12 are only 10-bit (1024 positions) compared to the 12-bit (4096 positions) used by the more expensive, higher torque servos that would be required for a heavier puppet and smoother motions, so if the puppet is using the 12-bit servos you will have to do some oversampling to get the controlling joint's position up to the resolution of the puppet's joint.

    Basically, you set the torque of the XL-320 armature to a low value and all the joints to a goal position of the puppet in its 'natural'/'neutral'/'idle' state and continuously poll the XL-320 servos for their current position. Those positions are then build into a sync write packet that is sent to the puppet's servos making them match the armature's pose. When the control armature is released from human control, it will return itself and the puppet to its idle pose.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"

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