Stanford’s Pupper quadruped robot can be controlled by using a Playstation 4 controller, and it’s capable of walking, jumping, and running. (Image Credit: Stanford Robot Club)


Anyone who’s ever wanted a robot in their life can now build their own instead of buying one. The Stanford Robot Club has designed and developed an open-source quadruped robot dog called Pupper, which is considerably less expensive to build than the state-of-the-art robots. It costs approximately $600-$900 to build, depending on whether you already have the tools or parts, such as Raspberry Pi 4 and a PS4 controller.


The 3lb-quadruped robot has 12 degrees of freedom and is capable of trotting, hopping, running, walking, and can “sneak” across the floor like an actual dog. It’s designed for students from grades K-12 and undergrads who wish to study robotics. It will take around 4 to 10 hours to build the robot, depending on your expertise, but the skill level is equivalent to constructing a small quadcopter drone.


To build the Pupper robot, users will need to use a frame made of carbon fiber routed pieces and 3D-printed PLA parts. Pre-cut parts are available on Plastic Spider for purchase, and the complete list of required materials can be found on the BOM spreadsheet. The quadruped robot also contains twelve JK-Servo CLS6336HV servo motors. It also contains a 2S LiPo battery and a printed circuit board that’s responsible for powering the servo motors. Build instructions along with the CAD design, can be found on the Google Document page.


The robot’s code is executed as a loop, which contains the joystick interface, controller, and hardware interface that orchestrates the behavior.  (Image Credit: Stanford Robot Club)


The Pupper quadruped robot is also equipped with Raspberry Pi 4, which is responsible for executing the code. The joystick interface reads the inputs from a UDP socket and converts them into commands for the robot. A separate program publishes the UDP messages and reads input from the PS4 controller via Bluetooth. The controller carries out most of the work, which can switch between trotting, walking, resting, etc. and creates servo position targets. The hardware interface then changes the position targets from the controller into PMW duty cycles. From there, it gets sent to a Python binding, which produces PWM signals in software and sends them to the motors connected to the Raspberry Pi.


Robot enthusiasts can purchase most of the parts from Amazon or McMaster-Carr. However, some pieces will need to be custom manufactured for the user. Custom parts consist of the carbon fiber parts, 3D-printed parts, power distribution printed circuit board, and the motors.



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