Construction date: Unknown

Cost: Over ~36,000.00 dollars (in parts)

Time to build: Unknown

Status: Design phase

*Hardware design update 12/20/2018*

This is a mock up of the full size robot.


Drive system: The holonomic ball drive is based on custom made 4 inch rubber coated balls, This drive system would allow the robot to move in any direction similar to a drive system based on omni wheels but with more control, less slipping and greater climbing ability. This chassis was designed by a very talented team over at Garfield Robotics, (with Garfield High School).

Arm: A representative reached out from KINOVA (an robotics company) to let me know of a arm that they have been developing some light weight robotic arms that might be a good match for the platform. I quickly called them back to get a better understanding of their product and price. They have a GEN3 model that is 6DOF being released in May of 2019.  Their arm has many benefits including being very lightweight, has a low power usage, high amount of lift, compact motor controller built in and is ROS compatible.

* old update – The collaborative arm is from Universal Robots. The arm that was chosen may be to heavy (20,6 kg / 45.4 lbs) and expensive for this robot type. While I like the design of the arm, a newer, more affordable, and mostly lighter arm, will need to be substituted. A good possible substitution may be the UR3 arm that has a reduced reach and weighs considerably less.  Also a huge shout out to Universal Robots as they are making great strides to bring the cost of collaborative robot arms down.

The arm is driven up and down via a electric linear actuator so there is more areas that the robot arm can reach.

Computer:  Sophie’s head has a embedded Nvidia Jetson X2. The processor/GPU combo consumes under 15 Watts of power at full tilt. The Jetson platform is a fantastic choice for this type of research and development platform. The software frame work will be the ROS (robot operating system) and feature additional code to help the robot achieve its goals.  AI and computer vision problems can then be tackled once the lower level software base is compiled.


Technology Improvements/research to be explored:

  1. Lightweight and safe robotic arms
  2. New gripper technology (perhaps a soft robotics gripper may be better suited)
  3. Faster/lower cost computers to crunch the needed calculations, AI and images for mobile manipulation
  4. Software will need to be written in a way to handle lower-precision/flexible grippers
  5. Ways for the robot to learn from past experience the way humans do and apply it to different task

The links below will also take you to some pages that go deeper into the design of the robot.


Goals of the Design

Note: A internal frame out of extruded aluminum is still needed to be designed and modeled. Original concept for Sophie v1 was in 2013


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