A low cost, high precision haptic robotic arm with 50 micron repeatability and modular end effectors

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Dexter is a trainable, 3D printed, 5+ axis haptic robotic arm controlled by an FPGA supercomputer. It utilizes optical encoders to achieve high precision with repeatability of 50 microns. End effectors such as a gripper or a laser can be utilized by Dexter, increasing its functionality and potentially even adding more axes.

Dexter is an open source, 5+ axis robotic arm. It is built from 3D printed parts and held together with carbon fiber strakes for reinforcement. Dexter uses five NEMA-17 stepper motors with three harmonic drives in conjunction with optical encoders to get extreme precision, with a 2.5 micron stepping distance and 50 micron repeatablity. 

Dexter is also trainable, meaning that you can manually control it and have playback of the exact path it took. This makes it easily programmable for applications.

Dexter can also be controlled with our software, Dexter Development Environment (DDE). DDE utilizes a modified version of JavaScript that allows for a more traditional approach to programming while still being friendly to those who are newer to code. It also contains a simulator that will show playback of Dexter's movements using a pane in the development environment.

Dexter even has a Unity library that one of the members of the Dexter community put together, complete with haptic feedback. This could potentially be used for video games or even real world applications where a Dexter must be remotely controlled.

  • 5 × Wantai Stepper Motor NEMA 17 stepper motor used for Dexter's movement
  • 3 × HanZhen Harmonic Drives Harmonic drive that is used on three axes, 52:1 gear ratio
  • 1 × Avnet MicroZed FPGA board used by Dexter to process information from the optical encoders

  • Dexter HD

    Haddington Dynamics06/01/2018 at 21:16 0 comments

    2018 continues to be good for Haddington Dynamics and we picked up seed investors.

    We will be exhibiting the remote control scaling system in Munich at the automatica show.  This along with the latest version of Dexter we call Dexter HD.

    Very busy times.

  • Kickstarter and more

    Haddington Dynamics06/01/2018 at 21:14 0 comments

    On February 14 we open sourced everything (CAD, Code, boards) on Github using the GPL3 license.  The next day we launched our Kickstarter campaign.

    We set it at $100k and hit that goal with 112 backers.

    In the campaign we offered a "Makecation".  Come to Las Vegas and build your robot with us.  This allowed us to get to know our backers and these Makecations have led to great business opportunities.

    By open sourcing we reduced the friction to work with universities and New York Institute of Technology (which we met Matt Cornelius back in 2015 at the New York Maker Faire) was keen to work with us with the leadership of Christian Pongratz.

    They are now building Dexters on campus and our technology will be part of the curriculum this coming fall semester.  NYIT is focusing on Makerism and see Dexter as a tool to work across disciplines.

    2017 Bay Area Maker Faire allowed us to meet NASA.  The project manager came to do a Makecation that fall and purchased 5 Dexters to prototype a Drone inspection cell in a project called Fit2Fly.

    We also formed a JV with Axiom Electronics called e1ectr0n to build robots for the EMS industry,

  • Out of the Garage

    Haddington Dynamics06/01/2018 at 21:05 0 comments

    March 28, 2015 brought in investors that I knew from the neighborhood.  The neighborhood was called Haddington and is located in Henderson NV.

    The goal was to move out of the garage and raise money.

    We moved to the first location in July 2015 and spoke to many investors - all of them wanted to keep the project closed and patent everything.

    We thought the best approach was to open source the platform allowing a more friction free adoption.

  • Garage Time

    Haddington Dynamics06/01/2018 at 21:01 0 comments

    Dexter (named after human dexterity) began in earnest in 2012.  The project started in the garage.  I sold a supercomputer company and used the proceeds to fund my research taking supercomputer technology and putting it into a robot.  I built a language to program FPGA chips and began using it to create a real time physics.  I used  a laser cutter to cut out pieces to put together the first robot and also used the laser cutter to cut the first optical encoders on paper.

    This allowed me to test out all the signal processing I was doing in the FPGA.  There is video on Youtube of my first release of this system.

    I started to realize this could be a much more touch sensitive and precise robot control system.

    I spent the next three years in the garage working on the design and testing the control system.

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  • 1
    Dexter Assembly Manual

    The link to the Dexter Assembly Manual is here

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