ShockSoc and the Quadruped

So it’s come to that time of the year where University societies are opening elections for the new committees. I’m an active member of around 4 societies (BladeSoc, NUIce, ShockSoc and BandSoc) and decided to run for positions on two of them. Fortunately, I didn’t have too much competition and have made it onto the committee of BladeSoc and ShockSoc!

After running for the positions of Vice President of ShockSoc and General Secretary of BladeSoc, I was really happy when I got both positions.

As this is an Electronics blog, I’m not here to talk about BladeSoc so onwards with the Quadruped!

Quadruped
As the Vice president of ShockSoc, one of my roles is planning the project throughout the academic year. Its been quite coincidental as me and one of my friends from home have been designing and developing a human sized and ride-able Quadruped (quite like – http://goo.gl/E540bL) using an Arduino for control and linear actuators for movement.

We’ve been thinking of many different designs on how to achieve motion through using linear actuators (its harder than it seems!) and have managed to design a leg system using only two actuators meaning in total, the whole device will require 8 actuators.

Each of these actuators has a maximum current consumption of 3-4A and it will be in my responsibility to design the control code along with the motor driver boards for each actuator.

So far, I’ve decided upon using the L298 motor driver IC for each actuator. The advantages of this IC is that they allow for sensor resistors which can be read using the analog inputs, therefore allowing the arduino to know when the motor is moving or not (moving = voltage >0v, stationary = voltage ~0v). There will need to be 8 of these driver boards for each actuator. Each actuator has a quite slow movement speed so no land records will be set though as of now, the idea seems sound and the I’ve budgeted it at around £400.

Richard (my friend) is doing the CAD simulations using Creo as he is studying Mechanical Engineering and knows much more than I do on general mechanics.

Keep tuned for more updates!

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