sight range of 100 meters. “We’ve
driven robots down the block and
around the corner,” says Graham
Ryland, president of Barobo.
More of the Linkbot's
Linkbot uses absolute encoders
which are continuously rotating, and
brushed gearmotors to drive the hubs
Linkbot has a multicolor LED
with red, blue, and green (RBG) to
help tell them apart. Feedback from
users stated it was actually hard to
tell them apart when they were moving around together.
When you BumpConnect, the Linkbots choose a color at
random for the group color. There are also Mode colors for
TiltDrive (green), CopyCat (turquoise), and Pose Teach (blue).
Linkbot comes with lots of accessories, including
SnapConnector mounting surfaces for various
SnapConnector parts (wheels, plates, grabbers) that click on
to the outside of the Linkbot to form walking robots, and
also climbing and rolling robots. You can connect your own
accessories using standard screws.
Linkbot accessories are available to download from the
company website, so builders can 3D print them to use
with the Linkbot, hopefully design their own, and share
them with others. You do not have to have a 3D printer
though. Most of the examples in their Kickstarter video and
updates are made out of cardboard.
Linkbot also takes advantage of force feedback
capabilities. In CopyCat mode, you can feel force feedback
when you stop the rotation of the robot you are
controlling. It compares the angle of the controller module
to the output angle of the controlled module; if they
deviate too much, then the motors in the controller robot
lock up. It is very early in its development, but it is really
engaging and fun to use.
ProtoMold makes Linkbots using plastic injection
molded parts. A company called Pride handled the
controller board. Pololu supplied the motors.
Barobo’s first year of success with Linkbots shows there
is a huge interest in these types of robots. Anything that
can help spark imagination in children of all age’s minds is
a good thing. SV
SERVO 09.2013 13
Rotary Encoders / Shaft Encoders
Atmel ATmega 128RFA1
Arduino Controller Boards
Arduino Xbee Shield
Wireless Arduino Programming with ZigBee
The Linkbot at the Sacramento Hacker
Lab. (This Linkbot appears to be
sitting on an ancient-looking vice.)