Animabot - Advanced Hexapod Robot

Animabot is a 3D printed hexapod robot created to be a daily life companion to interact with people and its environment.

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Animabot is a 24 DOF Advanced Hexapod Robot like no other. He was created to interact with its environment through multiple sensors but also with people. He is (and will be) capable of recognizing persons, talk, listen, show emotions and play. The goal of this project is to really have a daily life companion to interact with, like Aibo from Sony or other robotic toys. 

This project started back in 2001 with much simpler versions than this one, and after years of improvement and tons of design, I think I finally reached my objective in term of looks and capabilities.

More detailed information about the construction, design and previous versions of Animabot are available on my website:  as well as my other projects.

Components & Characteristics:

   • Energy: Li-Ion 11.1V 7800mAh
   • Power: Custom 140W PSU based on LM25119PSQ
   • Charger: Custom, based on LTC4015
   • Brains: STM32F415VGT6 + Raspberry Pi 3B+
   • OS: RTOS + Raspian
   • Programming Language: C, Python
   • Communication: 2x Bluetooth + WiFi
   • Vision: 5Mpx Micro Camera
   • Displays:
      - 2x 0.49" OLED for the Eyes
      - 1x 1.81" Flexible OLED for robot status
   • Actuators:
      - Legs: 18x Herkulex DRS-0101
      - Hood: 1x KST DS215MG
      - Head: 2x KST DS215MG
      - Ears: 2x Hitec HS-40
   • Sound: 2x 1W stereo speakers + buzzer
   • Interface:
      - Capacitive touch switch with RGB led
      - Gesture sensor
   • Control: Autonomous and Remote-controlled
   • Sensors:
      - 1x IMU 6-DOF
      - 2x LM75B temperature monitor   
      - 1x IR telemeter(GP2Y0A21)
      - 1x Magnetic switch for charging dock

   • Target environment: indoor/outdoor
   • Size [LxWxH]: 28cm x 36cm x 16cm
   • Weight: 2,5kg


All the design has been done on Solidworks (which I use since more the 10 years now) and is fully 3D printed by SLA process. The print has been externalized to China to ensure best result. I do have a 3D printer at home, but the quality and precision needed by the design are too high for FFF process. After being printed, the parts are sanded, mat painted (RAL9007) with a soft touch coating. The end feeling and result is stunning !

The robot is composed of 3 main body zones: Head, Body and Legs. The Lower body contains the battery, Motherboard and Control Interface. The upper body is composed of 2 parts which allows me much easier assembly and better reliability. The upper body will be constantly screwed to its lower counterparts and the Upper Cover (Raspberry Pi location) will be screwed on the Upper body. As you can imagine, this will allow me to access all the internal part of the robot without removing the legs (which is currently a huge problem on the Rev2), by simply unscrewing the Top Cover. The Head, Rpi, servos are directly mounted on the Top Cover, and connected by only 3 cables to the Motherboard for easy assembly/access. I installed on the belly a connector composed of 2 concentric copper rings (to avoid polarity inversion) for a future docking station.

The rear side of the robot contains the main switch of the motherboard, the charger connector and the Raspi On/Off button. There is also the curved OLED display allow me to show different information and animations (battery charge, current mode, sensors info, etc..)

The Raspberry Pi is completely hidden inside a special compartment which I call hood. The Rpi has been modified and I got rid of all connectors in order to fit it inside ! The...

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  • Face Recognition & ArUco markers

    Emmanuel10/28/2020 at 13:23 0 comments

    Been a while this the last log, I let aside the development of the Kinematic to work a bit on the RaspberryPi side. So far I could install everything I needed and tested one of the main feature of the robot: Face recognition and tracking.

    I used the standard OpenCV library for face tracking and recognition (haar cascade). This work very well, I'm able to recognize different faces and track the x,y position regarding the center of the camera's image. I also discovered the ArUco markers for augmented reality, I'm planning to use them for the docking station and some other features like cube toy for Animabot.

    The framerate is not as high as expected but this will do for the moment. The next step is to transmit all this to the motherboard, let's see how it goes :D

  • Let's go for some Kinematics !

    Emmanuel05/11/2020 at 08:49 0 comments

    Instead of making and Excel sheet to check the value of the Servos angles, let's use Animabot's simplified leg to debug the IK equations ;)

  • First expressions !

    Emmanuel04/12/2020 at 09:24 0 comments

    The development of features and functionalities is going pretty well. I’m now working on the mood and expression of the little guy. Now that the drivers are mainly done, this makes thing much easier :)

  • OLED and Battery Charger

    Emmanuel03/24/2020 at 13:27 0 comments

    Update concerning the Animabot's project. The Flex OLED driver has been updated as well as the battery charger and the IMU. Now, I can properly display sensors information on the back of the robot. This is a nice little feature which is pretty handy for debugging but its main job will be to display useful data concerning the robot's mode, power and battery info.

    HMI during battery charge
    Sensor data (IMU, temperature, fan speed and IR distance)

View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Petar Crnjak wrote 11/07/2019 at 10:28 point

looks really clean . Do you have a video of it moving ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Emmanuel wrote 11/07/2019 at 11:05 point

Thanks ! not yet... I'm still finishing the assembly of the Raspberry part and checking the cabling... it will be a while before I can show it moving. I need to finish writing the drivers and routines first....

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 11/06/2019 at 16:29 point

Wow, they did a great job - almost looks injection molded.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 11/06/2019 at 16:09 point

Nice look! The body sections look really nice - what printer was used for the SLA?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Emmanuel wrote 11/06/2019 at 16:16 point

Thanks ! I have no idea... I externalized the parts manufacturing in China. They are printed, sanded and painted with a soft touch feeling.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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