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Automation Technologies 5/2014

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Automation Technologies 5/2014

Control and Drive

Control and Drive Technology Robot world champions with powerful light-weight DC motors Anja Schütz The World Cup is over, but football is always of interest, even in robotics: the annual Robo Cup is played to determine the best football-playing robots. Several US universities developed the Darwin-OP robot in co-operation with South Korean robotic specialist Robotis and won both, the Robo Cup 2012 and 2013. But the robot is capable of doing more than just scoring goals. The Darwin-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence – Open Platform) is used mainly for research and education purposes. The user can easily program the robot, as the system is based on an open source platform. The quick and precise movements of the robot are executed by DC motors from Maxon Motor. Author: Anja Schütz, Editor, Maxon Motor Double world champions The robot is about. 45 cm high, equipped with sophisticated sensors and is able to perform dynamic movements. For example, the fully autonomously working research project can walk 24 cm/s, it can speak and listen, run processes and balance itself. One of its biggest hobbies is playing football. In June 2012, Team Darwin conquered 24 international teams and won the Robo Cup in Mexico City. And even more impressive, the team was able to repeat their success in Eindhoven at the Robo Cup 2013, raising the trophy in the Humanoid Kidsize class for the second time in a row. Open platform A special feature of the humanoid robot is its open, modular structure that makes changes very easy. Darwin-OP is an open platform; both the hardware and the software can be customized in any way and various software implementations are possible (C++, Python, LabVIEW, MATLAB, etc.). Furthermore, all CAD data for the robot components and instructions AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2014

Company name: Maxon Motor Established: 1961 Headquarters: Sachseln, Switzerland Turnover: CHF 360 m (2013) Employees: more than 2,000 Products: Motors, gearheads, sensors, position controllers, servo amplifiers, … About In total, 20 Dynamixel units are used for arm, leg and neck movement for manufacturing and assembly are available online for free. A computer has been built into the humanoid robot; like a normal PC, it is equipped with all customary ports such as Ethernet, USB and HDMI. Thanks to the USB camera integrated in its head, it can locate objects and thus detect the ball during a game of football. The robot was developed by the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory of Virginia Tech (RoMeLa), with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in co-operation with the University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University and the South Korean company Robotis. The mini robot is based on the award-winning Darwin series which has been developed since 2004. Robotis is responsible for the very high mobility of the robot. Smart actuator with integrated DC motors The company manufactures the Dynamixel actuators, which are used by numerous robot developing universities and research centres all around the world. The actuators are smart actuators with fully integrated DC motors and are produced exclusively for robots. They are characterized by their high precision and wide functional range. The all-in-one drive modules with built-in controllers are equipped with numerous feedback functions (position detection, velocity, input voltage and internal temperature) that are controlled via a network. The Dynamixel actuators are programmed by means of Robo Plus, the free graphic programming software from Robotis. Darwin-OP is a good example of how intelligent a robot can act with the aid of actuators. The drive modules are used in the production of robotic arms and mobile robots, as well as humanoid robots. Each Dynamixel unit is equipped with a Maxon DC motor from the RE-max family. The implemented RE-max motors achieve a performance of 0.75 to 22 W, thanks to their neodymium magnets. Three different versions of the motors are used in the small robot. One of these is the RE-max24, which has been specially modified for this application by adapting the drive pinion. A total of twenty Dynamixel MX-28T units can be found in the robots – twelve for the arms, six for the legs and two for neck movement. Robotis chose the solutions by Maxon, although small and light-weight, they are very powerful and simultaneously very robust with a long service life. Well-balanced robots The robot is supplied with power by means of a rechargeable battery. The Darwin-OP weighs 2.9 kg and can go through its wide range of motions for thirty minutes on a single battery charge. It can even stand on its head. Three gyro sensors (balance sensor module) make sure that it does not lose its balance. Darwin-OP in action This video illustrates the various functionalities of the robot, from speaking to running. Video AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 5/2014


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