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Author Topic: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit  (Read 650 times)

craighissett

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Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:56:56 AM »


Once again I was lucky enough to be selected to review the Hexbug spider Robotics kit. I was over the moon; I have always wanted to build a hexapod but have always felt that such a project would be a bit too big, given my little understanding of controlling mamy servos, inverse kintematics etc.
This kit is a fantastic step for beginners to get a taste of hexapod building, and features some great design to only require two servos/motors to move!
 
Unboxing



The kit arrived well packed from the distributor. Inside the box there are sooooo so many parts, but they are all organised and grouped into separate bags to make co-ordinating the build easy!


 
Assembly

Putting together these hundreds of pieces is made easy thanks to a great instruction manual. Each step is clearly illustrated and even features 1:1 scaled pictures to aid you in ensuring the right parts are used at the right time. The kit all snaps together much like Lego Technics or K'Nex, so kids will have a great time putting it together. Parents can also rest easy knowing they dont have to arm their kids with weaponry such as screwdrivers :-)
Assembly time - it didnt take long at all. Adults can fly through assembly or it could make a nice afternoon project to put together with the kids:



Unfortunately in the final few steps i found I was missing one single, solitary part to connect one of the limbs to the body - sad times!
Luckily, after contacting the distributor's support team, a replacement part was ordered at no extra cost.
As soon as I receive the missing link I will be shooting some live action videos to capture my first attempts at piloting this beast, as well as exploring what automated behavior the robot is capable of.
Until then the Spider Robot has been employed to guard the booze on the top of our fridge:
 



16/11/2015 - IT IS HERE!!!!!

Today, after a long, tedious day at work, I cam home to discover a mystery package. Measuring a good 6"x4"x3" in stature, I was not expecting anything that size?
I cracked it open, lifted out the packing paper to reveal a lone delivery note; was this an empty box? A cruel, sick joke?!
No - trapped betwixt the sheets of packing paper, it sat there, in all its glory...



Soon you shall walk, my pretty... SOON YOU SHALL WALK!!!! Muhahahahahaha!!
 
With the elusive link no longer missing it was time to load the beast up with batteries...



The control unit takes 3 x AA batteries. While this is a convenient battery size I think that this thing will eat those three little AAs as a snack, given the onboard motors and sensors. I would have liked to see a rechargeable solution here, such as a Lipo. I may look at getting slme rechargeable AAs, but onboard charging would have been ideal!
Walking - Coming Soon



 
Just a quick little update until I get a chance to write up some more of my review. The Hexbug is a hit with my son! He has asked to see 'Mr Spider' every day since I was able to get the assembly finished, which is great - definitely opens the door to introduce some more robots for him to play with :-)
I initially harboured concerns that the motors may struggle to turn the geared assembly due to how stiff it was to move by hand, however it moves like a dream; such a smooth walking motion!
I was always under the impression that good hexapods needed articulated, 2DOF or 3DOF legs to get a good walking motion.... I have been proven wrong.
 
Automated Behaviours

After a bit of time away from my projects due to an intensely busy period at work and gigging I am picking up where I left off, and will be updating my finding on automated behaviours very soon. I have often been puzzled at the random actions my Spider untertakes in autonomous mode... Are my dip switches not doing what is expected of them, or has my Spider developed AI and become self aware?
More to follow soon!
Overall - Coming Soon

 

22/03/2016 UPDATE

Apologies for the late followup, but more will be coming of this review very soon.
the toy has been a resounding success with my young boy; he loves playing with it, triggering its sensors and following it as it wanders around our living room.
I do have a great deal to report regarding it's performance of the preset behaviours. Hexbug may well have inadvertently created true AI!!
:-)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 05:58:20 AM by craighissett »

deshipu

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 12:02:41 PM »
Quote
I have always wanted to build a hexapod but have always felt that such a project would be a bit too big, given my little understanding of controlling mamy servos, inverse kintematics etc.

It's bit of a shame that after building this robot your understanding of those topics won't be improved at all, since the gait of this robot is pretty much hardcoded mechanically in the construction itself. Not sure if it's so great from educational point of view, though it is a great toy for sure.

craighissett

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 04:43:16 PM »
Don't worry Deshipu, this has in no way become a substitute for me and wanting to build a proper hexapod as a platform to learn more in the topic.
At the time of getting this kit (this review is quite an old one) I did find the prospect of building a hexapod a lot more daunting than I do now :-)
I agree; nothing will be learned regarding gaits with this as mechanically there's no option for variation, just with behaviours.

deshipu

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 03:50:52 AM »
I still have one of the old hexbugs somewhere in a drawer, waiting for me to replace its radio control with a H bridge and a raspberry pi. This construction is actually pretty ingenious, even though it doesn't give much advantage over regular wheels in terms of the terrain it can negotiate.

Oh, and thank you for taking the time to write those reviews -- nice to see some hobby-robotics activity here!

craighissett

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 07:03:31 AM »
Ah, you'll have to get it back out!
Seems like a perfect project for the Pi Zero W if you can get your hands on one.
I've managed to order one but I'm struggling to find any more today.

I was really surprised by the construction; at the time I'd always (naively) thought you'd need many more points of articulation to be able to get a walking motion, and to see this walking with only one motor driving it all blew my mind.
With regards to terrain coverage it is somewhat limited. One thing it lacks over wheeled platforms is grip; those plastic tips on the feet are more like ice skates on any surface other than carpet. We tried to introduce some small incline ramps to allow the bot to climb over some obstacles and the feet just slipped.
Maybe tipping the feet in a more rubbery material could help on that front though.

deshipu

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 12:45:03 PM »
I always put pieces of a rubber hose at the ends of the legs of my robots -- not only they improve the grip, but also make things quieter and soften the shocks from hitting the floor.

craighissett

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Re: Hexbug Spider Robot Kit
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 12:52:36 PM »
I always put pieces of a rubber hose at the ends of the legs of my robots -- not only they improve the grip, but also make things quieter and soften the shocks from hitting the floor.

Going to steal that one. Cheers! :-)

 

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