This is Steve. He's a robot with a gait inspired by an alligator. He was created for a bio-inspired robotics course here at UMD. Other than modeling the gait and dimensions on an alligator, the main design focus here was modularity. Other than the Command strip to attach the battery holder to the Arduino, no adhesives or threaded fasteners of any kind were used in the construction, and the whole thing can be torn down and put back together in just a couple minutes. The legs snap onto the servos, and can be easily swapped, the Arduino clips into a custom case, the servos themselves go directly to a servo board to keep the wires relatively un-spaghettified, and the first leg joints are mounted on sliding dovetail joints with integrated detents to allow the overall length to be changed in a matter of seconds. And that's what makes him a neat robot, but it's not what makes him Steve. To know that, you first have to know who Larry was - Steve's predecessor. Larry was first called "alligator robot V3," but then he had his first successful walk, and we were so proud of him we decided Larry would be more appropriate. Larry hung around for a while, and will always have a special place in our hearts, but the unfortunate side-effect of success was that we saw all the little things about the design that could be improved, so every part was re-designed, and Steve was born. Due to budget constraints, Larry's servos were re-purposed to animate our new friend, and the loss was fairly emotional for us. At least we can take solace in the fact that Larry's servos, microprocessor, and indeed his soul are still present with Steve, who remains functional as a demonstration and example for future students in the class. And now, a short video, and some pictures of Steve as he is remembered by us:
Making Steve was a team project with Justin Albrecht, Ben Ambers, and Sal Coppola. Thanks you guys!