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Roboscraptor

Act like a real (with a pinch of Jurassic Park/World) raptor
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Update 10/23/17 - 8:05 AM

Hey everyone! It’s good to be back.

So I’m looking over my disassembled Roboraptor, and am going to give “her” another go when the weather gets better (most likely next year...).

I’ve done quite a number on the leg motors, having crimped/hot-glued them. I think I’ll just use the original motors again (and properly re-solder them).

Also, I plan to eventually replace the plastic leg pieces I unintentionally destroyed. If that ultimately means Roboraptor will have mismatched legs, that’s okay- I can always repaint them.

In other news (yes, there’s more,) I have changed my mind about neural networks and am now currently experimenting with spiking neural networks (SNNs)- quite unlike traditional ANNs, they are more biologically accurate. And since researchers are programming SNNs on microcontrollers(!), I have decided I might be able to use one of my new-or-newly-repaired Arduino Unos instead of a MicroPython board. Exciting stuff!

I’ll keep you all posted on future updates.

Edit 1 - 3:42 PM

I've also decided to research possible Utahraptor behaviors to make Roboraptor act more like a real raptor might have. However, I'm still keeping one aspect of Jurassic Park/World velociraptors (and possibly real Utahraptors): Roboraptor might one day have a "pack"! I have one potential "pack member," and I also have another in mind...

But that will be for a future time.

Edit 2- 11:32 PM

Hmm, I didn’t find a lot on theorized Utahraptor behavior... maybe a “more realistic” robot Utahraptor is beyond reach right now.

Oh well. Yay, creative license!

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Update 3/29/17 - 9:15 AM

Hi everyone! I'm finally able to upload the video that sw0rdm4n requested. I must apologize in advance for the watermark covering the video. I don't think Windows 8.1 has a free Movie Maker version, so I had to download a different movie editor online.

I had also completely forgotten about another editor I could've tried. D'oh!

Oh, well. Hope you guys enjoy the video!

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Update: 3/28/17 - 10:23 AM

So I have recently looked into behavior-based robotics- a field everyone else in the AI field seems to have moved away from. After reading a Quora answer by Steve Grand (an A.I. researcher, and the same guy who brought us the Creatures artificial life games,) I realize now that ANNs pretty much only recognize patterns, and therefore don't meet all of the requirements for being a generic unit of intelligence.

So right now, for the upteenth time, I have again changed my plans for my AI architecture (yes, I am seriously that indecisive!). Behavior-based robotics is now the way I'm going, with a sprinkle of the Global Workspace theory and a memory, of course! :-) Edited 3/28/17 3:08 PM

Edit 2: 3/28/2017 10:47 PM

Sorry everyone, I'll have to work on the video tomorrow, since it's getting late here. I'll make sure it gets posted sometime tomorrow.

Good night, everyone! Thank you for your continued interest.

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The title, I am aware, is quite misleading... the robot hardly uses any scrap parts outside of the RoboRaptor itself (save for some motors from a fairly-recently bought kit). "She" (I think my robots are more personable, but not too much so, with an assigned "gender"... and yes, I know it doesn't really have a gender) doesn't have a name yet, but when I find one, I will change this page's title accordingly.

Now onto the *real* interesting stuff- the building of the actual robot. I don't remember too much about what I've done to "her" in the past, but I will recount what I've done to the fullest extent possible.

First, I took RoboRaptor's chassis apart, starting with her legs. I then removed the two halves of RoboRaptor's body... and left her like that for months, thinking about how to hack her from that point on (1st attached pic). I have just recently come back to work on RoboRaptor more, thinking I could somehow get her to walk better (whether aesthetically or efficiently). At the time I tried removing the brackets from the plastic pieces inside Roboraptor's legs, and have replaced them with springs that I got from detaching the pieces that held the legs on (2nd attached pic).

I then (foolishly) sanded down some of the screw holes on the pieces that held the legs on, trying to see if I could attach the legs in a different way (3rd attached pic)... Long story short, it didn't work the way I wanted it to (4th attached pic. Painful, ain't it? ;-) ). In the meantime, I detached RoboRaptor's circuit board, initially wanting to replace it with an Arduino Uno (but since I need a little more computing power, I am now going to use a MicroPython board. Hope it works!).

I then tried to make several cams, none of which worked out that well. I plan now on trying to put her legs back on those plastic pieces, which were meant to hold the legs on in the first place. Hopefully, it won't be too painful...

While that was going on, I actually managed to replace two of RoboRaptor's on-board motors with medium-speed, medium-torque motors from the RadioShack Robotics Gear Motor Kit (5th attached pic)! I have recently received my MicroPython board, and plan on testing it with RoboRaptor's body before putting an AI "mind" into it (and no, I'm not expecting it to be human-level). More info (hopefully) coming soon- Stay tuned!

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How complex do you want your behaviors to be? Python is great but you'd be surprised the amount of behaviors you can get from an Arduino. I’ve been able to put a subsumption machine on one of my robots using a stock Arduino.

-Rich

 

I have actually tried working with Arduino before this project, but... prepare for my epic fails... I have bricked both of my Arduino Unos trying to get the serial monitor to display the neural networks' output! So embarrassing. But if you have a solution to make the serial monitor work, I'd love to hear it. I'll look up a way to restore the Arduinos without using a third. As for the AI, it will hopefully be a little complex, given that it runs on (greatly simplified, but still powerful) feedforward neural networks. It's based off of one of the Global Workspace papers, so I would imagine it would need a lot of computing power. Though seeing as I had previously used tens of simplified MLPs and Gated Recurrent Units in my Arduino Uno AIs, maybe not. Thank you for any help you can give me! :-)

It might be obvious, but, have you checked the baud rate settings match? Both in your sketch and the serial monitor?

Just wondering how you could brick an Arduino, if it isn't through over voltage/current? Only thing I could think of would be writing to the flash memory too frequently.

I have actually tried working with Arduino before this project, but... prepare for my epic fails... I have bricked both of my Arduino Unos trying to get the serial monitor to display the neural networks' output! So embarrassing. But if you have a solution to make the serial monitor work, I'd love to hear it.

>> You bricked two Arduinos with Neural Network code!?!?  Is it accessing the flash memory somehow?

>> What’s the code look like? Is it yours from scratch, or did you get it as an example from some place?

 I'll look up a way to restore the Arduinos without using a third.

>> Arduinos bootloaders are not hard to reprogram but in general you need an ICE or something. 

>> Sparkfun,  Adafruit, Atmel and the Adruino site are all good resources for that.

As for the AI, it will hopefully be a little complex, given that it runs on (greatly simplified, but still powerful) feedforward neural networks. It's based off of one of the Global Workspace papers, so I would imagine it would need a lot of computing power.

>> Global Workspace?!?! Last I heard of that, was that it was still pretty theoretical.  What papers are you looking at? Has someone done some sort of implementation?

Though seeing as I had previously used tens of simplified MLPs and Gated Recurrent Units in my Arduino Uno AIs, maybe not. Thank you for any help you can give me! :-)

>>What kind of behaviors are you looking have your raptor exhibit? I see it has two motors to make it walk, but what sensors does it have for input to your AI?

 

>>If you’re looking for behavior based robotics, you may want to check out Arkin, Behavior-Based Robotics or some of Rodney Brook’s early papers at MIT on subsumption.

-Rich

>> You bricked two Arduinos with Neural Network code!?!? Is it accessing the flash memory somehow? Perhaps it was... I was trying to save space, so maybe that was what backfired. I'll try and look into the proper use of Arduino flash memory. >> What’s the code look like? Is it yours from scratch, or did you get it as an example from some place? >> Global Workspace?!?! Last I heard of that, was that it was still pretty theoretical. What papers are you looking at? Has someone done some sort of implementation? I used Murray Shanahan's paper below as an example to base my code off of. http://bernardbaars.pbworks.com/f/ShanahanConCog.pdf >> Arduinos bootloaders are not hard to reprogram but in general you need an ICE or something. >> Sparkfun, Adafruit, Atmel and the Adruino site are all good resources for that. Thank you. I will take a close look at those sites. >>What kind of behaviors are you looking have your raptor exhibit? I see it has two motors to make it walk, but what sensors does it have for input to your AI? I now realize I didn't answer this the first time around. Sorry about that. I... honestly haven't thought about it, but I think I know where to start. I think, in behavior-based style, I will start with basic movements (which I will be playing around with) in response to stimuli, much like the original toy, except it will be slightly more complex (and involve "hunting"). I plan on slowly working my way up to a reptile-esque intelligence, with some established elements of modern AI (i.e. long-term memory, the Global Workspace, etc.). Human level would not be a good place to start in my opinion- most AI researchers, I now realize, are trying to run before they can walk! As for sensors, it has a lot of them already built in, such as leg pieces that register when the leg motors have turned to the greatest allowable extent, IR sensors, and touch sensors. It can't "see" properly right now, but maybe as a future upgrade. And last but definitely not least, I will certainly be looking up Brook's work. Thank you so much for your help and suggestions! :-)

I think, I started to fall in love with you NeoGirl, Can you post some videos so I can see the mechanism ?

btw isn't this your twitter ? https://twitter.com/neogirl101

I'm not sure what you mean by mechanism... but I'll gladly post the leg motors running for you! As for the twitter account, nope! I personally don't have a twitter account... it's just someone who ironically has my username. :-)

The walking mechanism that came with the toy involves switches that must give feedback on how far the motors have turned. And sadly, the switches are a crucial part of how the legs work, since if the switches are disconnected/not giving feedback, the motor will be strained and ultimately burn out (which, as you'll see in the video, certainly smells like they're burning out already!).

I'm working on the video I promised right now! :-)

"The walking mechanism that came with the toy involves switches that must give feedback on how far the motors have turned" , it's pretty much the mechanism of a servo motor. I've seen the roboraptor on youtube, so the mechanism involves only 2 servo motors but it can move it's head, arms and feed, it looks like complicated, but since you already unpacked the toy, this should be continued, If you're really willing to finish this, then you should create a timeline for this. In case the timeline has passed you should try to make another robot with simpler mechanism.

Question :

"the motors can't run too long since it's getting too hot, then the volt is too high. what's the voltage regulator ? is it the switch ? how many volt(s) do you supply ?"

 

If I were you, my first step is to fix the electronic parts,

- My very first step is separating the electronic parts from the mechanical parts in order to test whether it works perfectly or not.

- probably I will use single wire cable instead the original cables

- I will try to add 100 nF ceramic capacitor to help reduce the noise of the motor dc (decoupling capacitor)

- I don't know why the switch didn't give feedback, maybe I will try to replace the circuit with newer one (before that, I will check the cable connection, I will make sure the soldering is strong by adding some glue gun above the soldering, if only by repairing the cable connection it works I don't need to replace the circuit).

- once the motor is working as expected, and there is no problem with cables and electronic, I will plug it again into the body,

- my next step is trying to finish the mechanism. (however since I don't have one, I can't really figure out how the geering works)

- Once everything works as expected, I will plug all peripherals, then do the coding.

and then I'm done ! yes ! I've finished the raptor ... but wait ... it's just my imagination since I'm not the one that will finish this raptor

Just wanted to say thank you for your input! :-) PS. The switches were just taken apart from from the legs, so that's why there's no feedback- they are still in great working condition. Sorry for not being more clear.