Eight Legs, Two Motors and a Lot of Personality

Please take a look at the videos demonstrating these Robot Walkers. Our study of minimal actuation for walking robots has lead to pairs of specialized leg mechanisms at each of four corners of the walker, eight in all. The robot is steerable with two separate drive motors, that is each side has four leg mechanisms connected through a gear train to a motor. This is a lot of moving parts, but the result is remarkable.

All of these robot walkers respond to commands from an infra-red remote control. They can go forward and backwards, speed up and slow down, turn right and left, and even spin in place. 

It was a pleasure working with students on these projects. Their creativity and enthusiasm is fun to be around.

Stegosaurus Walker: This first video shows the Stegosaurus Walker designed and built by the team of Cristian Albrektsen, Itzel Montoya, Matthew Reber, John Williams, and Megan Yang. Select this link or the image.

The Grinch Walker: This second walker captures the Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the moment he brings the toys back to Whoville. It was designed and built by Melissa Lepe, Esteban Ruiz, Sebastian Petcu, Purushotham Verma and Jasper Yao. Select this link or the image.

Tio de Nadal Walker: The third walker celebrates a Catalan tradition known as the Tio de Nadal, which is a magical log that delivers presents and warms the family. It was designed and built by Paula Simo, Lois Meira, Eudald Sangenis, and Marc Quiroga. Select this link or the image.

Jiaji Li’s Robotic Rowboat

Jiaji Li has succeeded in building a prototype Robotic Rowboat. I have used 3D printing technology ever since it was introduced decades ago to build spatial mechanisms and routinely failed, which is why this is a particularly satisfying outcome.

He convinced me to buy an inexpensive 3D printer and said he was sure PLA (poly lactic acid) would provide a strong but light-weight product. So I gave it a chance and find the result to be very nice.

Please take a look: Robotic Rowboat

Quaternions in Kinematics: BYU Lecture

Students at BYU formed a study group advised by Prof. Denise Halverson to explore Kinematic Synthesis. They invited me to join them to discuss Quaterions and how they are used in Kinematics.

I have not talked about this material in some time, so it was interesting pulling together the theory from many past talks, but I soon became afraid that I was assembling a short course, not a lecture. So I took a different approach.

Here is a video of the lecture. The notes that I prepared are posted below.

My Quaternions in Kinematics presentation is posted here.

Ruiqi Mao’s Panda Walker

This Eight-Legged Walker with two stepper motor drives controlled using a Bluetooth interface developed by Ruiqi Mao for his 2023 UCInspire project builds on work by Chenhao Liu, Jiaji Li and Ken Nguyen, and my senior project team of Tom Nguyen, Jonathan Chavez, Connor Linklater and Jonathan Lu.

Chenhao Liu was a 2022 UCInspire fellow who was in Covid lock down in China while he worked on his four-legged walker driven by DC motors and a bluetooth controller with Jiaji Li, a UCI PhD student.

Ken Nguyen developed both four-legged and eight-legged walkers using DC motor drives and infrared controllers. His early work has inspired much of what has followed.

The following videos show:

1. Ruiqi’s Summer 2023 eight-legged Panda walker which uses two stepper motors and a bluetooth interface,

2. The Winter 2023 four-legged GNK Walker which used two stepper motors and a bluetooth interface by my senior project team of Tom Nguyen, Jonathan Chavez, Connor Linklater and Jonathan Lu.

3. Chenhao’s Summer 2022 four-legged walker with two DC motor actuators and a bluetooth interface, and

4. Ken’s Winter 2022 eight-legged tank walker which uses two DC motors and an infrared controller.

  1. Ruiqi’s Eight-legged Panda Walker (Summer 2023)

2. Four-legged GNK Walker (Winter 2023)

3. Chenhao’s Four-legged Walker (Summer 2022)

4. Ken’s Eight-legged Tank Walker (Winter 2022)

UCI Ready for Racecar Engineering Season

The Vehicle Performance Engineering Lab is clean and ready for the return of students in the coming weeks. This sequence of videos introduce 1. the vehicles in the lab, 2. a close up of Rogue, and 3. a close up of our EV Prototype.

Introduction to the UCI Racecar Engineering Lab

Here are our current mini-baja, ice and EV race cars, which are the foundation for our vehicles for 2024. Many thanks to our sponsors, particularly Chris McMurray.

Close up of Rogue our mini-Baja racecar

This is a close up of Rogue, our mini-Baja vehicle that competed in Oregon in 2023. This vehicle will be the foundation for our 2024 design. Please help us out at http://Zotfunder.give.uci.edu/racing

Close up of our EV Prototype

This is a close up view of our EV Prototype. It is the foundation for the design of our 2024 EV competition vehicle. Please help us at https://Zotfunder.give.uci.edu/racing

The Mini Starship Delivery Robot

Angelina Licos is a UCI engineering student who seems to have a gift for filmmaking along with her skills in project engineering. Select this link to see her video of the adventures of a Mini Starship Delivery Robot.

Mini Starship Delivery Robot
Mini Starship Delivery Robot and full sized friends
Micro water robot student project

2023 Southern California Robotics Symposium

UCI is hosting SCR 2023: On September 14 and 15 Robotics researchers and graduate students from across Southern California will meet in UCI’s Pacific Ballroom to discuss the future of robotics.

Henrik Christiansen, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering from UC San Diego will provide a Keynote Lecture on mega-trends, changes in workforce, emerging applications and the resulting new challenges in robotics.

Find more information at the SCR 2023 web page.

2024 UCI Racecar Engineering

Universities across Southern California start soon, and Engineering teams will begin the design and fabrication of their race cars for the the SAE Formula ICE and EV and the SAE Baja 2024 intercollegiate competitions. These student race teams need the support of their alumni, so please contact your home team and find a way to help.

UCI Alums and Friends: Our young UCI engineers were kept out of the Racecar lab for too long because of Covid. They are back and committed to demonstrating the high quality of UCI Engineering at the SAE intercollegiate competitions. And we need your help.

If UCI racecar engineering has impacted you in any way, or if you are passionate about our racecars and competition, I hope you’ll join the community of alumni and friends who support UCI Racecar Engineering by donating to https://zotfunder.give.uci.edu/racing.

Registration fees are due in October and we need running cars by March 2024. Here is the breakdown of costs:

Registration fees for the SAE EV and Baja competitions: $5,000
Kohler CH440 engine: $1,200
Subsystem Costs for Baja vehicle: $11,000
Subsystem Costs for EV vehicle: $15,000

It is easy to see that this $35,000 campaign is just a beginning. Additional funds such as costs for travel to the competitions, are not included in the campaign total so I hope I can count on your support today and for years to come. Please contribute in whatever way you can. The impact of your support is immeasurable!

15 Terrific Robot Walkers

This Spring quarter 60 students divided into 15 teams to design and build robot walkers. Two stepper motors drive a set of legs on each side. These legs are formed from a pair of six-bar linkages that provide coordinated rectilinear movement of two feet on each side providing stable legged locomotion.

I am always amazed by the creativity of the students in the design of the personalities of these walkers.

The ribbons and medals decorate the walkers with the three best times through our autocross course.

MechGen SP for iPad

MechGen Software Privacy Policy

McCarthy Design Associates has developed a variety of linkage design tools that it makes available to engineers around the world. In particular, the MechGen FG and MechGen SP applications are marketed through the Apple App Store. None of our software applications collects information about the individuals who purchase or use this software. In particular, MechGen FG and MechGen SP are self-contained software tools for the kinematic synthesis of linkages that have no interaction external to the user’s device, which means no information about the user or the use of this software resides anywhere except on the user’s own system under their control. If you have any questions about this privacy policy please contact Prof. McCarthy.