Robot Dogs Hack Chat

Who's a good boy?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 12:00 pm PDT Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Afreez Gan will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, September 29 at noon Pacific.

Time zones got you down? Try our handy time zone converter.


Thanks to the efforts of a couple of large companies, many devoted hobbyists, and some dystopian science fiction, robot dogs have firmly entered the zeitgeist of our "living in the future" world. The quadrupedal platform, with its agility and low center of gravity, is perfect for navigating in the real world, where the terrain is rarely even and unexpected obstacles are to be expected.

The robot dog has been successful enough that there are commercially available -- if prohibitively priced -- dogs on the market, doing everything from inspecting factory processes and off-shore oil platforms to dancing for their dinner. All the publicity around robot dogs has fueled a crush of DIY and open-source versions, so that hobbyists can take advantage of what the platform has to offer. And as a result, the design of these dogs has converged somewhat, with elements that provide a common design language for the electromechanical pets.

Afreez Gan has been exploring the robot dog space for a while now, and his MiniPupper is generating some interest. He'll stop by the Hack Chat to talk about MiniPupper specifically and the quadruped platform in general. We'll talk about what it takes to build your own robot dog, what you can do with one once you've built it, and how these bots can play a part in STEM education. Along the way, we'll touch on ROS, lidar, machine vision with OpenCV, and pretty much anything involved in the care and feeding of your newest electronic pal.

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

    Dan Maloney09/29/2021 at 20:07 0 comments

    Dan Maloney1:01 PM
    So we're coming to the end of our time now, so we need to let Afreez and the rest of the team -- thanks for joining, BTW!! -- get back to work. Or back to bed, maybe, for the China-based people. I really appreciate you coming on and chatting with us, it was great. Best of luck with the campaign, and congrats on the success so far.

    And thanks to everyone for the outstanding questions, as usual. I'll post a transcript right after we're done, in case anyone wants to refer back to anything. Thanks all!!

    Afreez Gan1:01 PM
    Definitely, better, smaller, cheaper, powerful are our targets.

    Myrna Bonin1:01 PM
    Thank you!

    Audi McAvoy1:01 PM

    0nhc1:01 PM

    Afreez Gan1:01 PM
    Thanks every one.

    Tomato11071:01 PM

    Afreez Gan1:02 PM
    If you have any questions, please feel free to connect me separately. :)

    Myrna Bonin1:02 PM
    Will do that.

    Dusan Petrovic1:02 PM
    Thanks @Afreez Gan

    Afreez Gan1:03 PM
    You are welcome!

    Afreez Gan1:03 PM
    For more information about Mini Pupper, please refer to our campaign page, haha

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

    Dan Maloney09/29/2021 at 20:06 0 comments

    Dan Maloney11:09 AM
    Hi all, Hack Chat starts in about 50 minutes:

    Dan Maloney11:09 AM


    Robot Dogs Hack Chat

    Afreez Gan will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, September 29 at noon Pacific. Time zones got you down? Try our handy time zone converter. Thanks to the efforts of a couple of large companies, many devoted hobbyists, and some dystopian science fiction, robot dogs have firmly entered the zeitgeist of our "living in the future" world.

    Read this on Hackaday

    Afreez Gan11:16 AM
    OK, thanks

    Afreez Gan11:16 AM
    I'm here already :)

    Dan Maloney11:18 AM
    Hey Afreez, welcome aboard! We'll kick it off officially at noon PST, but everyone should feel free to chat.

    Afreez Gan11:24 AM
    Hey Dan, OK, many thanks for your great help!

    David Williams joined  the room.11:35 AM

    Josh Pieper joined  the room.11:48 AM

    Audi McAvoy11:53 AM
    Wow! Congrats on the Kickstarter campaign.

    Afreez Gan11:54 AM
    Thanks! Hope Mini Pupper becomes better and better with many guys' help :)

    Myrna Bonin joined  the room.11:56 AM

    Afreez Gan11:56 AM
    Kat just said I'm a good man :)

    Afreez Gan11:56 AM

    Afreez Gan11:57 AM
    Kat is from ROS community.

    lordbobofthechickens joined  the room.11:58 AM

    beanot joined  the room.11:59 AM

    Afreez Gan12:00 PM
    After a cup of coffee, I'm refreshed.

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    OK, folks, let's get started. Welcome to the Hack Chat, I'm Dan and I'll be moderating today along with Dusan for Afreeze Gan. We're talking about Robot Dogs today!

    Dusan Petrovic12:01 PM
    Hello and welcome!

    Afreez Gan12:01 PM
    Hey every one, nice to meet you here.

    I'm Afreez from MangDang company, Mini Pupper Product manager.

    Mini Pupper is an Open-Source,ROS Robot Dog Kit

    Mini Pupper will make robotics easier for schools, homeschool families, enthusiasts and beyond.

    It's my pleasure to share anything you want to know about Mini Pupper.

    Boian Mitov12:02 PM
    Hello everyone :-)

    Anna Camburn12:02 PM

    Afreez Gan12:02 PM
    Hello Anna :)

    Dan Maloney12:02 PM
    Can you maybe start us off with a little on your background?

    Afreez Gan12:03 PM
    Yeah, I worked about 20 years, as a engineer, team leader, project manager, product manager

    Andy Geppert12:03 PM
    "Mini Pupper" is a great name. Very cool project too!

    Afreez Gan12:03 PM
    From last year, I set up MangDang to focus on robot dog,Mini Pupper.

    ecalfee joined  the room.12:04 PM

    Richard Unger joined  the room.12:04 PM

    Afreez Gan12:04 PM
    I studied robot dog from Stanford Pupper project, an awesome open source project.

    Dan Maloney12:05 PM
    Are you based in China? If so, how has that made developing MiniPupper easier or harder?

    Afreez Gan12:06 PM
    Yes, our company is located in Hong Kong, now I'm located in Beijing, but our team is a really global team.

    Afreez Gan12:06 PM
    It looks easy, but not really easy.

    Afreez Gan12:07 PM
    we built Mini Pupper prototype last Oct. but spent long time to make it stable.

    Matthew Moore12:07 PM
    Anyone try a build with springs in the legs?

    Matthew Moore12:07 PM
    For extra distance? Hehe

    Afreez Gan12:08 PM
    It's a good idea with springs in the legs

    Afreez Gan12:09 PM
    It depends on the mechanical design. You can see some robot dogs are with springs in the legs.

    Andy Geppert12:09 PM
    I watched some of the videos, and the robot looks great. One thing I noticed was the "steppy" servo movements. Is that a function of the resolution available in the motor position feedback (potentiometer I assume)?

    Dan Maloney12:09 PM
    I'm curious about what kind of motors are being used to drive the legs. I think the bigger dogs have BLDCs with harmonic drives or planetary gearboxes. And I've seen smaller dogs use nothing but hobby servos. But is there something in between those extremes?

    Afreez Gan12:10 PM
    That is one of the key problems.

    deʃhipu12:10 PM
    there are dynamixel "smart" servos out there, but until recently they were pretty expensive

    deʃhipu12:11 PM
    they do provide position feedback...

    Read more »

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