Sunday, July 27, 2014

LCD Display and Tail Rig Installed

Its been a while since I updated. This is because progress is slow. I work on new hardware when I can. There have been significant improvements and I will summarize some of them with some progress pictures.

First off, my family has added a new real living dog to the crew. His name is Appa after the sky bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Here is a picture...


He is into everything and he is not sure what to make of K9. At least he has not decided to chew on him yet. Now back to what progress I have made.

In my last entry I had started working on the tail servo rig. This is now completed and I have a wagging tail that can be controlled through the web interface. Here is a video of the installed tail rig in operation.


video

The web interface is coming along nicely too. K9 runs a python based web server (Flask) and exposes all of his functions for debugging and testing through it. This has been invaluable as a testing tool, allowing me to debug the tail motor and dorsal lcd display. Here are a few shots of the web interface which is a work in progress, of course.




Moving on, I have finally gotten around to installing the LCD composite monitor on the left side of the shell. This is very handy because I can actually watch the boot-up process and know what is happening when things go wrong.


I still have the trim and an acrylic cover for this display on order which really needs to be installed so it will not look so obviously like a car dvd player. It still comes in really handy. Here is a video which shows off the display and the ability to play sounds from the web interface.

video

So everyone asks me, "That's great but when are you going to build the head?" Well its all about parts and time. I have the wood cut for the head but I don't want to assemble it until I at least get the printer that I am going to install in it delivered. I want to make sure I leave enough room inside the head to mount the printer. The head will have multiple servos inside it to control the ears, telescoping antenna and nose gun and will have to be constructed around these systems. Still, its next on the list and I need to get started on it.

I always like to post other K9 builds I come across. Here is one that I came across at Philadelphia Comicon this year (2014). I don't think it ever moved on its own and it obviously has been around (just look at the scratches and dents) but it is always interesting to see what other people have done.


Its a good reminder of how far I still have to go on this project to complete the hardware. After that, hopefully I will have even more work ahead of me writing software to allow it some autonomy from its own remote control. That's it for now, I will try to post some more design details and pictures as I start construction of the head.