Joinmax Digital Robot Dog

via Pololu


This robotic dog kit includes all of the components you need to build your own robot dog. In total, this robot has 15 degrees of freedom: the three degrees of freedom in each leg allow you to create life-like gaits, the tail has one degree of freedom for ample wagging, and the neck can rotate and nod up and down to really bring the robot to life. Once you have mastered the basic four-legged walking gaits, sitting, and standing back up, you can explore the robot’s hidden talents such as rolling over and then going into a head stand.

With all mechanical components, a custom 16-servo controller, PC software, and a download cable included, this robotic canine kit is very complete: the only thing you need to add is five standard, AA size batteries. NiMH cells are recommended because of the high current consumption of the robot.

All of the components are precision molded, and you won’t need to tape or glue anything in place. All you need to assemble this robot kit is a phillips screwdriver and wire cutters (though a pair of pliers and a small hammer might make things a bit easier). Assembly time is about 2 hours. The only criticism we have of the kit is that the instructions are incomplete and apparently written by a non-native English speaker, but the kit is simple enough that the drawings alone should be sufficient. We can assist our customers with any assembly problems, and we will be posting additional tips soon.

The included software allows you to manipulate the servos and store sequences of positions. A sequence of up to 60 positions can then be downloaded and stored in the servo controller so that the robot can move without being tethered to a computer. Of course, you can instead provide your own control system and sensors to make a completely autonomous robot dog. (The servos are compatible with regular radio control model servos, so all you need to control them is a 1-2 ms, 5-volt pulse repeated every 20 ms.)

For more information, including video clips of the robot in motion, see the manufacturer web page.

Note: The Joinmax Digital robot dog is a kit; assembly is required. Five AA batteries are required but not included.