scout updates: learning from OpenDog [updates]
So many of you in the robotics community, especially the legged robotics community, have probable seen the OpenDog project by James Burton. It seems to be the only project similar to scout in terms of scale and intention. For scout, I really just want to build a robot dog, but since I'm doing it anyways, I might as well make it open source, put it on the web for anyone to use (makers, developers, researchers, etc). James Burton is a make who just loves building robots and as he builds things he posts the source online!
I would say the main differences between scout and OpenDog from a design perspective are that OpenDog is a mostly 3D printed robot controlled by Arduino/Teensy from what I can gather, whereas scout is a mostly metal/aluminum robot with a more autonomous control system. Before scout is released officially, we want to make the system a whole lot less complicated (so I'll be looking into that and it could require a system overhaul), but scout BETA is set to be released possibly by the end of this summer.
I was looking through the OpenDog project on YouTube and Burton has figured out how to do the kinematic modeling and the programming for the kinematics and making it walk and etc. We haven't been able to do that. I'll take a look at his videos of OpenDog to see how he deals with homing the actuators, doing the kinematic model, and etc just to get an idea of how to do these things. We will write all our own code for scout mostly (because we have to since we are using a RoboRIO), and then test most of it in a similar fashion to how OpenDog tests their stuff.
Currently the framework of OpenDog is much simpler than the framework of scout in that its all powered through one Arduino. Scout has a much more powerful actuation system but the controls are very difficult to deal with so in the future (as we further develop the system), we will want to be able to drop the scout's computing system at the very least to a single Nvidia Jetson and have real actuators we will design. For now, we are going with this.