Can a robot have a personality?
Jake Scherlis, Vivian Qiu, & Myles Blodnick
Waddle was created to explore the idea of an autonomous entity that comes to life, with a personality displayed through its response to stimulus. We decided to match the robot’s movement to its 'lovability' in a way that draws people in and engages them in an interaction.
The robot responds to two types of stimulus detected by proximity sensors and sound sensors. Waddle dances in response to music or sound, while responding to its environment to avoid collision. As a result, Waddle is an adorable waddling robot that effectively navigates around a crowded room.
Fabrication and Design
Some of the greatest technical challenges included counterbalancing the robot’s constantly shifting center of gravity, maintaining structural rigidity in certain parts of the chassis while allowing for movement in others, packaging electronics without interfering with the robot’s movement, and finding appropriate mounting mechanisms. This final iteration of the chassis allows for a wide span for the balance servo to move, giving the feet of the robot more space to move up and down. Consequently, Waddle moves with much more stability and does not require as much finesse in its counterweights.
Waddle's is powered by three servos: two that act as the left and right feet and the third as a balancing mechanism. An Arduino Uno was utilized as the microprocessor along with two sensors: a microphone and an ultrasonic range finder. A mini protoboard was used to connect the power to the servos and sensor.
The distance sensor allows the robot to turn when it detects an obstruction that would prevent it from moving forward. In response to music or other audio stimuli, sound sensors prompt Waddle to dance.