|Humanoid Manatron concept designed and built by Humanoido|
Meet MANaTRON - exciting, sophisticated and most recent evolution robot in the homebuilt Tron family! (other non-humanoid robot members in the family clan include ZylaTron, Son of ZylaTron, BugaTron, and AutomaTron) The robot stands just over 14-inches tall, and at the time it was introduced would cost about $500 in parts to duplicate. However today, MANaTRON is a collector's item and duplicating it with parts from EBAY could run several thousand dollars.
History & Purpose
Built by Humanoido from 2002 to 2004, MANaTRON is the first family humanoid, with six degrees of freedom - enabling motions for arms, legs, feet, head, and torso. Project MANaTron was two-fold. One, it would convert a set of walking "legs only" into a full scale humanoid. Two, it would become a learning and educational platform for growing a humanoid brain to expand the robot's capabilities. MANaTRON led to other sibling humanoid robots in the family and one was offered as a market product.
For tilt and stride, this humanoid initially uses a Basic Stamp computer, twin servos and parts from a Parallax parts kit. The key to its expanded mechanical motions is a miniature upper mobility core, created from four unionized servos mounted orthogonal to each other. Expansion success is all about "center of gravity" and weight control. The "aluminum can" exoskeleton allows internal components and sensors to be adjusted and re-positioned for balance. MANaTron sports chrome and gold colors with a nearly weightless and highly durable outfit add-on comprised of recycled aluminum sardine cans, nylon nuts & bolts, and phenolic washers.
Programming is with a Macintosh computer and PBASIC - an efficient language designed specifically for microcontroller applications. MANaTRON has a completely self sufficient and autonomous programmed mode. Additional Basic Stamp 2 computers are distributed throughout the robots tin can exoskeleton, interfaced to a serial servo controller SSC for motion, and add-ons such as SPO256 alophone speech, infrared and ultrasonic vision, tilt inclinometer, and expansion PCBs.
Prototyping was accomplished with two Parallax BOEs (Board of Education), and solderless breadboards purchased at electronics stores in Taiwan.
|BS2 OEM Processor kit|
Power & Sensors
Power is derived from on-board 9-volts and AA batteries, distributed throughout, for weight balance. A home-built inclinometer was made with tilt switches and fine tunes walking experiments across inclined surfaces that deviate up to 20-degrees or more from level. Infrared sensors on the feet detect pathway obstacles during walking. A PING ultrasonic detector sees objects up to 12 feet distance and in total darkness. This enables MANaTRON to work as a tiny watchman security guard during the night and set off alarms using the piezoelectric speaker.
Programming is a combination of commands to position the arms to a home position when executing torso moves. Programming arm movements led to experiments in deriving APT, or arm position language, which flags special meanings based on the position of the two arms. There are two main ways to program the robot - with PBASIC commands in a program to position the servos, and with the SSC graphic servo movement numbers controlled by a PC computer connected to the SSC. The original software included a graphic showing servos that could be positioned by choosing the servo numbers. This related to the six servos to move the head, two arms, two legs, and torso.
Bringing MANaTRON to autonomy is a spectacular experience! Combinations of motions create very life-like expressions. Primary applications are education, fun and hobby plus serious work such as night watchman. He can do walk, dance, Chinese Tai Chi, sing, give a speech, and is multilingual as programmed. Add on processors operate in parallel giving the humanoid multiple simultaneous functions. For example, one processor can control motion to give life-like movements and another processor can handle the vision. Yet another processor is devoted to speech and singing.
MANATRON is a humanoid robot that stands about 15" (38 cm) tall and weighs about one pound (0.4 Kg). It's driven by several Basic Stamp microprocessors. What is most impressive is that this humanoid can walk, dance, and speak 6 languages. ManaTron is another robot in the Tron series, conceived by Humanoido, that includes ZylaTron, Son of ZylaTron, AutomaTron, and BugaTron.
ManaTron uses the concept of multiple processors as a larger and more powerful brain. The robot began with one processor and several more were added in a special parallel wiring. In the final prototype, Manatron uses 5 Basic Stamp processors. MANaTRON humanoid is an autonomous biped robot that accomplishes a lot with only 6 servos - walk, talk, see, balance, dance, and Tai Chi Martial Arts. Its success is due to a handful of networked Basic Stamp computers and a very light weight metal exoskeleton.
A programmable robotic voice, based on a 1970s SPO256 speech synthesizer chip and a custom language core, forms speech in 6 languages. Programming the SPO256 led to singing. The key song was A Bicycle Built for Two. MANaTRON has motion controlled feet, legs, arms, torso, and head.
Manatron has several language rich incarnations for communication. The arms wave for sign language. A piezo speaker has robot sound language. Spoken language includes English, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Greek. Allophones were tweaked to their nearest foreign language approximations.
Rechargeable 9-volt and AA Batteries distributed throughout the body maintain center of gravity.
Parts are from various sources - kitchen tin cans, materials from the Republic of China, and a Toddler robot kit. The head was made from a painted plastic soap holder mounted to a 49 oz/in servo horn. Ultrasonic eyes were added to the front of the holder and were moved up to 180 degrees by the standard head servo. Four added motions are accomplished with a mechanical mobility core. The torso included a standard positioning servo, a home-built large bearing surface made from a sheet of acrylic and poly spacers. A miniature mercury inclinometer was called the "Poor Man's Accelerometer" because it cost about a dollar to make, performed similar functions, and improved walking on inclined surfaces. Programming software is uploaded to BS2s with a portable Apple Macintosh iBook computer running OSX and MACBS2. The humanoid has its own unique OS for extended capability.
MANaTRON is the latest (number five) in a family of robots, and the first biped humanoid in this series. There were ten variations of MANaTRON named Primary Tertiary Adjunct (1 to 10) of ten.
Robot Type - Autonomous Bipedal Humanoid
Robot Name - MANaTRON
Designer/Inventor - Humanoido
DOF Degrees of Freedom - 6
Processors - Up to 5
Processor Type - BASIC Stamp Robot MB, OEM BS2
Gender - Male (based on voice)
Wiring - Processors in Parallel
Speech - SPO256 Allophone Speech, Piezoelectric Speaker
Human Languages Spoken - 6 (English, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Greek)
Experimental Languages - 3 (Spanish, Piezo Sound, Sign)
Types of Languages - 3 (Visual Sign, Robot Sound, Human Language)
Locomotion - Bipedal 2 legs
Height - 15-inches (38 Cm)
Weight - 0.4 Kg (1 lb)
Family - Tron
Walking Type - Tilt & Stride
Capability - Walk, Dance, Tai Chi, Speak Multiple languages, traverse incline, eyes see infrared and ultrasonics in total darkness
Power - 9-volt, AA
Vision Type - Infrared, Ultrasonic
Motion Mobility - Head, Arms, Feet, Legs, Torso
Date Constructed - 2002 to 2004
Family Clan - ZylaTron, Son of ZylaTron, AutomaTron, BugaTron
Walk Method - Tilt & Stride
Parts Source - Parallax Toddler Kit
Core - Upper Mobility Core
Basic Colors - Chrome & Gold
Construction - recycled aluminum sardine cans, nylon nuts/bolts, phenolic washers
Programming Platforms - Mac & PC Computers
SSC Serial Servo Controller
APT Arm Position Language
Original Web Site - Aug. 2, 2004
Sensors - Mercury Inclinometer
Prototyping Platform - Board of Education
Cost to Duplicate - $500 at introduction, several thousand current date
Number of Versions - 10
Development Names - Tertiary Adjunct 1 through 10
Market - Educational Platform, Fun Hobby, Motion Mobility, Language, Programming
* the only humanoid in the TRON family
* designed to walk on inclines
* add on kit to convert tilt/stride legs into a humanoid
* speak 9 languages
* perform multiple jobs
Teacher: Tai Chi
Entertainer: Dance, Sing
Visual Signal Man
Store Front Greeter