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TipToe: A walking Robot with iPhone App Control

TipToe_final

TipToe has 6 legs, LED eyes with changeable color (RGB LEDs). The robot comes as a kit of parts which you assemble in about 30 minutes. Then download a free iPhone app, switch TipToe on and start walking. Forward, Backward and Turn motions are possible. Add on modules allow you to upgrade TipToe to add a speaker to have him beep sounds, or add a sonar sensor or temperature sensor for ranging.

TipToe can be controlled immediately using the iPhone app, but advanced users can reprogram for their own behaviors, including autonomous action.

TipToe is based on the RFduino, a bluetooth enabled Arduino compatible module. So reprogramming is easy using the Arduino interface if desired.

TipToe debuted at the Denver MiniMakerFaire on May 3rd and 4th at the National Western Complex. Watch a quick clip SaveFrom.net from that event.

What does TipToe do?

Walk – TipToe has quite a few features incorporated into an easy to use interface and a small hardware package. The most obvious is TipToe’s 6 legs which relate TipToe closer to organic creatures than typical wheeled robots. Because TipToe uses legs as apposed to wheels, TipToe can make its way across surfaces that might cause wheels to slip.

Change LED Color – TipToe can change its “eye” colors to any color in the rainbow. As the LED eyes are actually composed of Red, Green and Blue lights the eyes can create any color you’d like. Using eye color you can express different emotional states like red for anger, blue for fear, yellow for thinking, etc.

Temperature – TipToe can report back the ambient temperature.

PLUS MODEL ADDS…

Play Sounds – The included speaker can be used to beep, chirp, honk, etc. and even play simple melodies. Sound really helps to convey a particular robot condition and is a real crowd pleaser!

Sense Distance – The sonar sensor will report the distance from TipToe to a solid object. This information can be used to stop before hitting an obstacle.

Feature Set

There are two models: Basic and Plus.

Basic has

    • 6 Legs
    • Forward, Backward and Turn Walking Capability
    • 2 adjustable color LED “eyes”
    • Temperature Sensor
    • iPhone App Control by Bluetooth 4.0
    • Plus, has the features of Basic, plus …

      • Cool carapace-like upper body feature
      • Sonar ranging sensor
      • Sound module (speaker)

 

      TipToe has six legs, but uses a simple design with only three servo motors. There are other six legged walking robots available, but they use many more servo motors and cost $250 or more. TipToe starts at under $100 and includes a ready to run app. We have worked with robotic kits that offer software to operate them but have frequently found their software to be limited and sometimes not even functional. This can be a very discouraging experience and turn off many to robotics, especially young folk just starting out in robotics. The fully integrated hardware, firmware and software of TipToe solves this problem.

 

Was TipToe born overnight?

XYZbot has spent several months developing TIpToe. We have built over a dozen TipToe prototypes. We have designed and fabricated the mechanical parts using 3D printers, and used rapid prototyping processes for making the TipToe circuit board. We have built, tested, redesigned, built, tested, redesigned, built… you get the idea.

TipToe is not just a set of parts. It is a fully integrated system consisting of mechanical and electrical hardware, firmware on the electronics board and app software running on iOS devices. We have thoroughly tested TipToe, both as individual components and as a system. We have shown TipToe to people at shows like Robotics At The Hangar (Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum’s Annual Robotics Show) and the Denver Mini Maker Faire and listened to feedback from potential customers.

Above is a family photo of sorts, showing some of the evolution of TipToe with the final version at right.

Can my kids use TipToe?

Yes! TipToe is a great introduction to robotics and provides an incremental approach for kids. Rather than requiring knowledge of a low level programming language, kids can become familiar with TipToe and a servo controlled robot very quickly using the interactive capabilities of the iPhone/iPod/iPad application. They can use the operator interface buttons to control TipToe. Once they get comfortable with the basic movements and animation potential they can continue advancing to recording movements or creating dance routines using the Dance Creator interface (also on iPhone/iPad/iPod). From creating dances one can then move onto direct programming of TipToe using the provided programming interface. See the Stretch Goals for more information.

How do I control TipToe?

TipToe is controlled by a device you probably already have, an iPhone, iPad or iPod! Using a simple interface you connect your device to TipToe using Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Once connected the interface shows a bunch of control options that you can press to perform the appropriate action. Moving is accomplished by pressing the red directional arrows. The LED eyes can be changed by clicking on the colored squares at the top of the interface. Sounds and melodies can be played by pressing the appropriate sound at the bottom of the interface or a melody listed on the side. Finally, you can even control individual leg positions listed on the left side to create your own fun walks!

Why legs?

Most mobile robots today utilize wheels since they typically are quicker and operate well on flat surfaces. By some estimates, 80 percent of land cannot be accessed by wheels so legs are important! TipToe helps to introduce how legs on a robot work and when they are advantageous over their wheeled counterparts. Imitating the way animals walk makes one appreciate the complexity and beauty of life. Plus, watching the legs move is way more interesting that seeing wheels spin!

Why the name TipToe?

TipToe gets its name from the somewhat odd looking way that it walks. The center leg or “toe” rotates down, tipping the body up on that side, which allows the legs on that side to move forward. Repeat for the other side and then a breaststroke like maneuver propels TipToe forward (or backwards).

What Can You Do With TipToe!

LEARN BY HAVING FUN

Learn how to assemble a kit of parts into something that isn’t just a kit of parts. TipToe requires hardware and electronics assembly and comes with interactive software.

EDUCATIONAL TOOL

Bored of teaching how to program yet another little car that your kids just can’t relate to? Try introducing TipToe the walking robot to your kids along with the iPhone interface and see what they can create.

CONTROL

Use an iPhone/iPad/iPod to control TipToe and explore the expressiveness of what is possible with 6 legs!

ROBOT DANCER

Try out your coordination and see if you can create a dance routine with the Dance Creator that really moves to the beat!

A MAKER’S DELIGHT

TipToe is built on the Arduino platform that can be directly programmed using the Arduino IDE.

CREATE A ROBOT RACE

Have two or more kids built robots and compete to see who’s the fastest crawler.

DO YOUR KIDS LIKE CREEPY CRAWLERS?

Well, TipToe is a lot less creepy … and cleaner. Enough said!

JUST HAVE FUN

Seriously, it’s a crawling robot … how cool is THAT!

About boaks

Ben is the Editor-In-Chief for Gizmofusion, I am also the owner of Cerebral-overload.com and the Verizon Wireless Reviewer for Techburgh.com. Ben’s love of gadgets came from his lack of a Nintendo Game Boy when he was a child . Ben vowed from that day on to get his hands on as many tech products as possible. Ben’s approach to a review is to make it informative for the technofile while still making it understandable to everyone. Ben is a new voice in the tech industry and is looking to make a mark wherever he goes. When not reviewing products, Ben is also a 911 Telecommunicator just outside of Pittsburgh PA. Twitter: @gizmoboaks Hangouts: Beavercountyemt Skype: Ben.Oaks

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