Maker Danny Benedettelli recently used an Android app, Arduiono and Bluetooth technology to wirelessly control a Lego humanoid with an exosuit. The technology isn’t new, but it may have big implications for the future of LEGO Bricks. (via DannyLabs/PolkaRobot)
If you’ve watched any kind of futuristic show growing up, you’re probably familiar with the idea of robots being controlled wirelessly. Maker Danny Benedettelli took that idea and ran with it. While he certainly isn’t the first person execute such a maneuver, he is one of the first to do so with LEGO Bricks. (LEGO has asked me to not say LEGOs... but instead say LEGO Bricks. Just so you know.)
LEGO Bricks are every kid’s dream, because it marries an idea with the tools needed to build something cool. Whether its fairy princess castles or dangerous alien spacecrafts you fancy, LEGO Bricks can help you make than dream a reality. Benedettelli’s dream was building LEGO Bricks to do his bidding via wireless exosuit. While he’s accomplished some cool things thus far, it has been a long time coming.
Cyclops (image: LEGO: PolkaRobot/DannyLabs)
Benedettelli has been working on his “Cyclops Project” since May 2011. While there are many robots controllable via handheld remote, this maker wanted a LEGO structure to mimic his physical movements. It took some time to build a humanoid robot that was capable of executing such movements (over a year to be exact), but with a few servo motors and a lot of patience, Benedettelli did it.
Using a custom Android app, Arduino, Bluetooth technology and a telemetry suit, the humanoid robot mimicked Benedettelli’s movements. While the maker didn’t give any specifics on how he did it, he did say that the telemetry suit was equipped with potentiometers that can predict the range of motion of the robot. This keeps the robot from overextending itself during bigger movements.
Benedettelli said the robot was superhero-inspired, per the suggestion of a friend. Lego didn’t hesitate to initiate a photo shoot with the maker and his humanoid bot that mimicked that. As corny as that is, the technology still has implications for what LEGO Bricks can do in the future.
One designer recently unveiled a mechanical arm for amputees that’s customizable with LEGO Bricks. This Cyclops project can vastly reduce the cost of custom surgical robots, for example, in low-income areas. If surgical robots can be built mostly with LEGO Bricks (excluding the surgical instruments themselves, of course), building costs would be greatly reduced. This would give poor communities access to better medical devices and healthcare.
Benedettelli did not say that was his vision for the technology. It is quite possible he wants to be a superhero. Regardless, the technology certainly exists. And if we can make it, we should.
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