Humanoid Robot Design

Overview

In a collaborative interdisciplinary team, a full sized humanoid bipedal robot was designed and manufactured.    The design goal of this robot was to design an open frame to reduce overheating of high torque motors while at the same time emphasizing design.  This led to the integration of the frame and design, made possible by multi-axis CNC machining.  The robot has been named DyRoS, from Dynamic Robotic System.  The Digital Human Research Center led the aesthetic design and manufacturing, while the Dynamic Robotic Systems Lab led the electronic specifications and mechanical manufacturing.   The robot design and development was presented at Humanoids 2014.  Below are some key points of the robot, but for a full understanding please read the IEEE-RAS 2014 paper.

Design Process

The design process was an initial sketch, followed by a 3D model of the general shape.  This shape was then brought into solidworks and then connected to ANSYS for structural analysis.  After different structural tests, the design was refined and modified to incorporate this new information.  In a final iteration stage, the designed parts were 3D printed to check for any obvious phsyical problems in assembly as well as a better visual representation of the final design.  The 3D printing proved valuable in its visualization ability as the curvature of the legs were modified due to a difference in the computers rendering which made the design look as if it had more curvature than in real life. The resulting structure was machined from 7075 AL with a t–6 heat treatment.  Colors of the robot were visualized through renderings in 3D studio Max.  The two main choices were, everything as the same color, or a two colored robot.  The latter was chosen and red was the most visually appealing for displaying the design.  The main designed parts were anodized in red to give a visual distinction of the curvature while the motors and basic parts were anodized in black.

Features

Some defining features are the minimal number of bolts to assemble the frame, as well as the easy access to the electronics.  The heat sinks are bolted directly to a flat panel machined into the design.  Additionally, the electronics can be accessed by removing two bolts on the side.  The motors are directly at the joints with no pulley or belt systems.  The entire control computer is in the temporary upper body.

Future

We plan on continuing the robot and building the upper body, replacing the current upper body of just the controls and electronics with a full sized humanoid upper body.  Additionally as seen in one of the slides, the robot was integrated into a contemporary Korean dance performance.  We hope that the continuation of thoughtful design will help integrate the arts and engineering more into the future.

3D Files

In the interest of promoting open source and community engagement, we decided to release the STL files of the robot design.  These files can be used as a baseline for designing custom robots or just 3d printing our robot design at home.  We would be delighted to see if the community can design smaller motor casings in combination with our model to make a low cost smaller version.  Download Link.