Friday, December 21, 2012

Hexacopter and hexapod union looks like a robotic insect

Hexacopter and Hexapod are amongst  the latest and the most popular remote control robotic toys out there. How about combining them together to create a new walking and flying-walking hybrid machine. I bet you never though of that before. That's what the guys at Mad Lab Industries (MLI for short) have come up with. MLI is a  fresh start up that sells robotic components online and on the side they do cool stuff too.
So the basic idea behind this unnamed project is to integrate a remote controlled Hexapod Robot with a remote controlled Hexacopter. With this idea, they received a PhantomX AX Hexapod kit from Trossen Robotics.
The PhantomX AX Hexapod

Now the integration wasn't an easy task, considering the fact that the PhantomX was originally designed to be tough and was quite heavy to be  taken to the air. So it had to undergo a lot of surgery, the frame originally made of ABS plastic parts had to be replaced with lighter carbon fiber parts. Despite the fact, it was still heavy for it to be taken in the air by a quadcopter. Rather it needed a Hexacopter which has a much greater lifting force and was much stable than a quadcopter. A quadcoptor would have been cheaper considering the fact that it would have reduced the cost of 2 BLDC motors and ESC (Electronic Speed Controller).

So finally the the two creations were fixed together to form a totally new creation. Although the integration is pretty crude. It requires two people and two remote controls to control the Hybrid. The Mad labs team which includes Jason Penick, Don Miller, and Jason Williams, (with some help from Trossen Robotics’ Andrew Alter), started the project with no specific intentions and are yet to decide upon an official name for their creation. They’re open to suggestions.

The Final Hexapod-copter
Here is a peek into the specification of this machine.

Hexapod Specs
PhantomX Hexapod Kit from Trossen Robotics
Dynamixel AX-12 Servos
Arbotix Robocontroller
Arbotix Commander Controller
Custom 1/6th inch Carbon Fiber Plate Upgrade

Hexcopter Specs
Hoverfly Pro Flight Controller
Custom 1/16th inch Carbon Fiber Plates and Motor Mounts
2024 1/2inch OD 1/32 Wall Aluminum Booms
6 x E-flite Power 15 Motors W/ 13×6 props
6 x E-flite 40amp ESC
Spektrum dx7 Remote
Custom CNCed Delrin Boom Mounts

Overall Weight W/Batteries: 10.8 LBS

For the future the guys at MLI plans to develop a Hexapod Catch & Release Mechanism. That way the Hexapod and the coptor would attach and detach on command. Also they have to work on integrating the control into one remote controller.
In the end MLI are a very new start-up and are in the first year of operation so they are a little skeptical about launching this as a new product altogether. This machine is not some cheap RC toy. The whole unit roughly would cost around in the range of US $5,500.


No comments: