Those familiar with hacker space will be familiar with the ever popular kick starter campaign site that has led to the creation of many open source kits and micro controllers. Although the site hosts many original and unique projects, one stands out at the moment—OutRunner. OutRunner is a remote-controlled six-legged “robot” capable of “running” at speeds of 20 miles per hour with a battery life of up to two hours!
The creators’ claim this robot to be among the world’s fastest running robots. It has self-balancing capabilities, upgradable options, and will be available to the public soon. Donations of over two hundred and fifty dollars will result in Robotics Unlimited giving you an OutRunner.
The robot is capable of standing starts, running off road, holding a mounted camera, and is stable enough to run on only four legs! It is set to be the world’s first commercially available running robot to be available to the public.
The robot comes in two different packages—OutRunner Core and OutRunner Performance. The latter is more expensive, but boasts of speeds up to twenty miles per hour, faster acceleration, smart phone control, two hours of battery life, an included HD camera, WIFI, an accelerometer and gyroscope, and upgradable hardware and software. It can also be controlled via smartphone. Needless to say this option is also the most expensive, coming in at a minimum of eight hundred dollars in the kick starter campaign.
The (much) cheaper option is OutRunner Core. This robot is capable of running at ten miles per hour (slower acceleration though), and has an hour of battery life. Included is a camera mount (no camera), embedded processor, and upgradable sensors. It comes both pre-assembled and unassembled. The unassembled version costs two hundred and fifty dollars, while the assembled version costs three hundred dollars.
Robotics Unlimited’s goal is to provide robotics to everyone. Right now they assert that robots are only available in the movies and/or science labs. They want to change this through offering “advanced” robotic technology to the public.
Other rewards for monetary donations include 3d printed models of the OutRunner, T-shirts, stickers, and a special thank you from Robotics Unlimited. Their first shipment of OutRunners is scheduled to be around Christmas time this year.
For DIY enthusiasts wanting to reverse engineer the robot earlier, the design is not all that complex. However, it does entail a lot of weight balancing, taking torque into consideration as well as acceleration. At its base is x2 brushless motors to spin the “legs.” This will produce a lot of torque so use a microcontroller to slow its acceleration and include a gyroscope to counteract rough terrain. I suggest using a two to three cell LIPO battery to run the motors. Repurposing an older remote control system (including an ESC) will probably be the easiest path. Hook up the Arduino to control the gyroscope, motor speed, and motor torque, or simply use a triple axis accelerometer to control the gyroscope. A PVC or 3d printed frame should work fine. Following these instructions will result in the rough product. It will be up to you to refine it!