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F.A.Q.: Frequently Asked Questions

First Posted March 2002

I've received several emails from different people asking similar questions about my creations, website and robotic walkers in general. This page is meant to be a central repository of the answers for people interested in behind-the-scenes knowledge. I'll add and edit questions as they come.

1. Is it possible for you to send me some details (as much as possible) about the project of the robot you built?

You can find comprehensive information about my projects elsewhere in this site

2. How came the idea of building a walking robot?

I started thinking about building a mechanical walker after watching "Toy Story". Like Mitchel Resnick, I also thought Sid's toys were the coolest of the movie. Specifically, Babyface, the erector-set spider, provided the initial jolt for the robotics virus to take hold in my head. After that initial epiphany, it still took me 5 years before I started putting together my first biped.

4. What kind of technologies you used and why?

I build my robots with Lego Technic and Mindstorms pieces. Many other people have lauded the virtues of Lego's challenging yet finite paradigm, its durability and lack of maintenance, etc. To me, one of the most important reasons is the online community, offering support and the ability to communicate directly with the top world builders. Without them, the walking robot projects would have probably stalled.

3. How did you organise your project?

Lego is a great tool for prototypers. In many ways, it resembles a computer system that lets you copy, bracktrack and duplicate with relative ease. While the initial ideas for my projects comes mostly from other people's creations, the actual development of new solutions is a hands-on trial-and-error process. But then again, this is a hobby for me, thus project management is very loose.

4. What made you chose the different options you have chosen?

While I base my robots on exiting creations, I do not publish my work unless I have accomplished novel solutions to specific design issues.

5.What are the actual trends of the research about walking robot?

While I don't closely follow all the new developments in walking robots, I can offer some personal ideas on the subject. I think robotics resembles astronomy in the sense that amateurs can and do make relevant contributions to the field. Robotics is an overarching and nascent technology, and due to spectacular developments in related fields (computing, machine miniaturization, etc), at the reach of virtually anyone's pocket. Finally, the internet allows contact with remote but equally interested parties. This makes it a very attractive field to dabble in.

Within robotics, biomorphic robots are among the most challenging to build, but they are also tend to be very intriguing and rewarding when completed.

Apart from my own Lego Biped Links webpage, there are several places to find walking robots information.

The walking machines catalogue

The World of Biomorphic Robotics

Bipeds of the world database

Also, the Lego Users Group Network has specialized sections on robotics and many discussion on walkers.

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