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Hexapod Update

So the new Hexapod hardware has been in use for a few weeks now. Thought you guys deserved some pictures of it assembled.

The hardware has bump stops so that it does not damage servos when in a closed position.

Normal standing stance.

Head-on tilted forward.
Hexapod Front

Stance used when manipulating objects, standing on 4 legs, weight shifted backwards.

And some more artistic photos . . . .
Dynamixel Box 2
Hexapod Hat

New Hexapod Designs Soon

Recently iv been working on a 2nd revision of the chassis used for my hexapod. So far I have redesigned the legs and have a clear idea of how the new body will look.


The new design focuses on increasing the range of motion, functionality and reliability. I have also been trying to get rid of the ‘prototype’ look of the old design in favour of a sleeker and more stylised appearance.

Finally cut the new legs

These parts have been laser cut and are now awaiting a sunny day to get painted. I have also painted a spare leg in the planned colour scheme as a tester. This is slightly messy due to the fact that it was painted whilst assembled, the new legs will be painted before assembly so this should not be an issue.

hexapod test leg

The long-term plan is to eventually release all of the designs for this hardware as open-source. This will probably happen once I have finished the hexapod and am happy with all parts of the design. Hopefully that will not be to far away but development is slow at the moment with many coursework deadlines approaching.

One Giant LEAP For Robotkind

Finaly my long awaited Leap Motion pre-order arrived so I decided to see what I could do with it.

After playing with some of the demo programs I noticed on there was a Processing library on the leap developer site (can be found here). The control program for my hexapod is already written in processing so adding the leap was relatively easy.

All I have done currently is map x, y, z, yaw, pitch & roll of the users hand onto the body of the hexapod. The smoothing and inverse kinematics are then done and sent to the hexapod over TCP/IP. Raspberry Pi on the hexapod receives this with a python script and outputs the values to the servos.  Hand tracking with the Leap is enabled or disabled by a key tap gesture with any finger.

To add this to my code it was as easy as including the library at the top of the sketch:

import de.voidplus.leapmotion.*;
LeapMotion leap;

Then initialising the leap in void setup()

leap = new LeapMotion(this).withGestures("key_tap");

and setting position from the Leap in main:

if (enableLeap == true){
 for(Hand hand : leap.getHands()){
  PVector hand_position = hand.getPosition();

  HexapodOrientationYaw = hand.getYaw();
  HexapodOrientationPitch = hand.getPitch();
  HexapodOrientationRoll = hand.getRoll();

  HexapodPositionX = hand_position.x;
  HexapodPositionY = hand_position.y;
  HexapodPositionZ = hand_position.z;

Turning the Leap control on and of is done by a seprate function which runs when a gesture is recognised.

void leapOnKeyTapGesture(KeyTapGesture g){
 enableLeap=!enableLeap; //toggle Leap on/off
 delay(200); //small debounce

When I get some time I hope to add the ability to use both hands to control the front two legs. This will allow for manipulation of objects through the Leap


Servo controller arrived today so I managed to get the hexapod standing all by its self. Its not great but there’s a video for anyone that’s interested 😛

2/3 of a hexapod

On Friday i decided to start designing a rough chassis for the hexapod. I only wanted something quick so that i would have something to test with then my controller arrived. I was able to design and laser cut these parts within only a couple of hours.

fresh out the laser cutter

The parts came out really nice for a quick prototype and also cost less than £1 in material.

This morning i had time to finish assembling the parts and attaching the servo’s (the ones that i have anyway). I have already found things i want to change in the next version but that was kind of the point of this. having a prototype to test with allows me to make more informed decisions about the final design. I am very pleased with how this has turned out and cant wait to get controller and servos for the other 2 legs.

Hexapod Parts

This year I am on placement at the Bristol Robotics Lab and I am doing a project involving a Hexapod. As nearly all hexapod kits are extravagantly expensive I have decided to build my own to best suit my project. I was very happy Today to find that the first 12 of my  AX-12A robotics servos have arrived 🙂 shame there are 6 and the controller missing however i guess at least i can start measuring up and designing now.