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Skype robot

Control your robot with Skype API

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This project was created on 04/29/2014 and last updated 4 months ago.

Description
Doesn't matter you have a bomb to disarm or kid to play with from a distance, Skype robot is at your disposal.

This telepresence robot can represent you at any distance with network coverage (Wifi, 3G or LTE.. etc) The best part is... The Mark I cost around 200 bucks to make, Mark II cost 300 bucks.

Mark I project demo video:
http://youtu.be/xz0XEEfPV78

Mark II motor response test video:
http://youtu.be/YiMVO6gFck4

Skype network latency test video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz3Nz6JXrlI


Practical applications:
1. Low cost military probing robot. Send this 200 bucks robot to hell, no biggy..
2. Parenting robot. Follow your kids from the other side of the world and interact.
3. Pet owner spying robot. Make sure your pets are still alive and well.
4. Meeting robot. Send your robot to the meeting and you work from home :)

The source code (last updated on 7/20/2014) can be found here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eh7efmcbozmo8gw/AAC4K7XG1bgNtQz_3_wdwr_9a
Details

What I am trying to accomplish is to remote control the robot with Skype Desktop API. But why Skype? The reason is easy, Skype is fast and has a huge user based, most importantly Skype provide this Skype API for developer to write code to interact with all the included features. Too bad Skype was acquired by Microsoft before they were able to release the API for iOS, otherwise this build will be based on iOS device for sure...

Components
  • 1 × Remote control tank You can get a 1:16 remote control tank from Amazon for 99 bucks, my Mark II platform is Tiger 1 tank.
  • 1 × Tablet or small laptop with Windows operating system Windows tablet or small laptop that comes with USB port and able to run Skype. I bought my Acer ICONIATAB tablet on Craigslist for 99 bucks on Craigslist, it weight a ton but it does the job for now.
  • 1 × RC Servo controller (6 channel or more) Any USB to RC Servo controller will work, I choose Micro Maestro 6-Channel USB Servo Controller for $19.95 http://www.pololu.com/product/1350
  • 1 × USB cable Connect tablet to Servo controller
  • 1 × Find a PC with Visual Studio 2008/2010/2012 to compile the Skype code
  • 1 × Aluminum angle bar and square tube from Home Depot Home Depot Parts#887480013870, #887480013771, #887480013177, #887480017373, one for each
  • 1 × lots of small bolts and nuts and super glue Get a package with different size from Home Depot
  • 1 × band saw and table drill to help you fabricate the aluminum pieces, feel free to you hand saw and electric drill if you have the time and patience ;)

Project logs
  • Robotic gripper/hand R&D

    6 months ago • 0 comments

    I was in search for the best robotic gripper/hand for weeks and finally came across a brilliant solution from Aaron Thomen ( detail here ). Basically it utilize bicycle chain to mimic human finger movement. Each node of the chain represents one knuckle joint, and the combination of many knuckles represent the entire finger.

    I was able to prototype my index finger and thumb out of bicycle chain with very similar geometry:

    The best thing about bicycle chain design is that it has very little side movement, just like the human finger can only bend in one direction. Also this design only require one servo to operate the "grip movement" thanks to the spring at each joint to help relaxing the finger.

    All the material for this robotic hand can be found local easily. 

    1. bicycle chain (Walmart or get it from your old bike)

    2. heavy duty fish wire (Walmart or anything with similar strength)

    3. spring assortment kits (Home Depot)

    4. nuts and bolts (Home Depot)

    5. aluminum angle bar (Home Depot) 

    6. Servo, servo arm and servo joint (hobby store)

    Final touch will be a layer of fake skin (glove) to give it more grip and be more kids friendly.

    The result???

    The chain is able to cover almost any object in contact because of it's flexibility. That make it works just like a human hand and hold on to the object tight.

    One video win thousand words therefore I give you 2!!!

    Prototyping:

    Final Testing:

    oh wait a minute.......tomorrow is Monday again?  NOooooooo :(

  • Mark II - Test run

    6 months ago • 0 comments

    I squeeze a little bit of time today to install all the remaining components (ESCs, USB servo controller, battery, switch) and tidy up the wiring. Did a little bit of test run and holy cat it's alive!! Can't wait to take it out for a spin ;)

    Mark II test run:

  • Mark II - The fabrication

    6 months ago • 0 comments

    So, in case you are bored and want to do something different in the weekend, this is the exact step by step to help you burn 20 hours.

    1. Buy a perfectly good 1:16 or bigger RC tank from RC store or Amazon for 99 bucks, mine is a Tiger 1 tank.

    2. Prime your band saw and table drill for some aluminum action!

    3. Play with your brand new RC tank and once you are bored...cut it open!!

    4. Buy aluminum angle bar and square tube from Home Depot, parts number

    #887480013870, #887480013771, #887480013177, #887480017373, one for each.

    5. Admire at the robotic specific servos from HobbyKing.com Model #TGY-S403P , and thanks god how much time this servo can save you to create a robotic arm! (It has a matching spines coming out of the case from opposite side)

    6. Start the fabrication to mount the servo, game on guys!!

    7. Mount the first servo onto the platform.

    8. Fabricate the arms and mount the second servo, Take a closer look, now you really glad you bought the robotic specific servo. It make the job so much fun and easier!

    9. Finish up the third servo and attach your robotic hand or weapon at the end. In this case a 110v plug so that I can stick it into household outlet to recharge the robot while I'm away.

    10. This is how it looks like when it fold down, oh yeah, looks sick !!

    11. Start working on the structure to support the tablet, same fabrication but using the more sturdy aluminum square tube!

    12. After 2 hours cutting and drilling this is how it looks like with the servo mounted on the stand, I am using regular servo on this one.

    13. Test fit the tablet and fabricate a spring loaded clamp on top to clamp the tablet in place.

    14. Install a spring to help with lifting the heavy tablet (my tablet is super heavy, it is heavier than two iPads in combine.)

    15. Closer look at the ball joint and spring loaded arm. This is where my RC gears really came in handy!!

    16. Another closer look.

    17. Call your good friend carbon fiber rod out to help you with the extra support, make sure they know where they belong and drill some holes and super glue the hack out of them.

    18. More carbon fiber rod!! come on,  these carbon rods are cheap and easy to cut so why not more re-enforcement?

    19. OMG... 20 hours later, I did it, say hello to Skype Robot Mark II

    20. another angle

    21. This is the money shot, look at that monster!

    22. Mark I and Mark II side by side

    23. One more side by side and call it a weekend guys! OH NOooo...tomorrow is Monday ;(

    To be continued....

      Next week let's move on to the wiring and program the Mark II with much more sophisticated robotic control code. Looking forward!  Jack out!

View all 8 project logs

Build instructions
  • 1

    Build a robot with 1:16 RC tank platform and support the tablet with aluminum structure.

    tank

  • 2

    Plug-in the RC car servos and ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) to USB servo controller, write a C++ or C# program to control the USB servo controller and maneuver the vehicle.

  • 3

    Integrate the previous USB program with Skype API. Skype API reference can be found here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130607130426/http://dev.skype.com/desktop-api-reference#Windows

See all instructions

Discussions

JackRC wrote 6 months ago null point

Hi Adam,

This particular tank I got is a 1/16 battle tank from bananahobby.com for 99 bucks, you will find interesting that most RC tank platform are pretty much the same, just different brand name and color. I will certainly update my build doc to reflect this. Thank you!

I am also working on my second generation Skype robot which includes many upgrade like battery charging mechanism and functional mid-range robotic arm. I will update log as the build goes on.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Adam Fabio wrote 6 months ago null point

Thanks for submitting your Skype Robot to The Hackaday Prize! Which tank model did you use as a base? Documenting little things like that will help people replicate your work, and help you on your way to winning.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

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