Programming Guide for ROBOTIS MINI

Chi N. Thai

The MINI™ programmable humanoid robotic kit was released by ROBOTIS® in 2014.  It is recommended for users aged 12 or older and is available from many on-line shops.  It comes with a free Mobile App called MINI that allows beginner users to control and operate the MINI through its preprogrammed motions such as bowing, walking, gymnastics and dancing moves.  But so far, the potential use for this kit in educational robotics is largely untapped due to lack of information and practicum sources for users to develop their own projects and to help them learn more about humanoid robotics programming.  This book is designed to fill that void by using a unique approach of developing MINI projects using 2 main software tools:

  1. ROBOTIS own software tools such as TASK, MOTION and R+m.PLAY700.

  2. EDBOT™ software tool to allow the use of standard development environments such as MIT SCRATCH 2 and PYTHON.

The book's Table of Contents can be downloaded here.

An excerpt of the book can be downloaded here.

This book has 8 Chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides a systemic view of the MINI kit from its hardware components and compatible software tools to its many operating configurations.  This chapter also includes the author’s interpretation of ROBOTIS Dynamixel System Design Paradigm.

  • Chapter 2 provides pre-assembly and post-assembly tips for the MINI kit.

  • Chapter 3 focuses on the use of the ROBOTIS MANAGER tool in updating/testing/recovering the firmware for the main robot controller (OpenCM9.04-C), as well as for the actuators and sensors used in the construction of the MINI robot.

  • Chapter 4 provides MOTION foundational concepts such as KEY-FRAME, TIME-LINE and MOTION-UNIT as well as how-to techniques to use the ROBOTIS MOTION tool in creating human-like movements for the 3-D MINI model in its Graphical Environment.  It includes a Motion Creation Practicum to illustrate various MOTION components such as MOTION-UNIT, MOTION-LIST/PAGE, MOTION-GROUP and more advanced tools such as EXIT-MOTION and JOINT-GROUP.  This practicum especially points out the differences between the robot’s “Graphical” moves and its “Physical” moves which are constrained by the presence of the real surface that the physical robot must travel on.  A custom MOTION file with the author-created MOTION examples is included with this book.

  • Chapter 5 is a review of the features provided in the MINI App that already has extensive information provided in the ROBOTIS web-based e-Manual.  It also shows how to interface this App with the author custom MOTION file.

  • Chapter 6 provides the foundational knowledge in computer programming structures and techniques with the ROBOTIS TASK tool.  It uses a Beginner’s Approach based on the “Sense-Think-Act” Paradigm to provide a step-by-step procedure to go from specifications for the robot’s tasks to the writing and testing of the actual TASK codes that allow the robot to perform the original user-assigned tasks.  It uses a “Spiral-Teaching” approach applied through a series of projects designed to deepen and broaden the reader’s understanding in several robotics areas:

    • Robot Remote Control: from Single/Multiple RC Inputs via “Message Filtering” techniques used for a single robot to more general “Message Shaping” techniques to be used between a pair of “Leader/Follower” robots in “Open-Loop” and “Closed-Loop” operations in the “Mimicking MINIs” project.

    • Autonomous sensor-based Behavior Control as well as Mixed-Control applications are showcased using several projects: RC Smart Avoider, Autonomous Random Walker, Autonomous Dowel Scanner.

    • Actuator Control: from simple Motion-Page-Play to Sensor-based Exit-Motion techniques using Motion Pages “0” and “-1”, to the mixing of Motion-Page-Play with Targeted-Servo Goal-Position Control via the use of variable Joint-Offset features to provide Independent Control of Head and Shoulder joints while performing standard Motion-Play on the overall robot.   The variable Torque-Level feature is used to demonstrate the use of the MINI’s arms as an Adaptive Gripper to handle different-sized objects.

  • Chapter 7 illustrates the use of the R+m.PLAY700 App to access the Smart Device features in a TASK program which allow the MINI’s Hardware Controller to access the Multimedia Services of a mobile device such as a Smartphone or Tablet.  Selected features are demonstrated: Touch Areas, Text Displays, Instruments Play, Text-to-Speech, Speech Recognition and Color Tracking with Mobile Video Camera.

  • Chapter 8 assumes the reader to have some programming experiences in using SCRATCH 2 and PYTHON.  It demonstrates the use of EDBOT to obtain control of two MINI robots from a single SCRATCH 2 or PYTHON program.  It showcases Remote/Autonomous/Mixed Control applications using the SCRATCH 2 “Multi-Sprite” and “Broadcast-Message” features, while it demonstrates the use of the “Threading” and “OpenCV” modules in PYTHON applications.

This book additionally provides tutorial videos (via YouTube®) to illustrate the presented concepts, see playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtix7rPAJwqy2ZGnAEuAhb4bxtqZvFWt.  This playlist is still being populated with the relevant videos, so the author very much appreciates your patience.

Currently, the Kindle version is available at https://www.amazon.com/Programming-Guide-ROBOTIS-MINI-Thai-ebook/dp/B0841P5G15/

and the paperback version is available at https://www.amazon.com/Programming-Guide-ROBOTIS-MINI-Ngoc/dp/0999391836.

To receive a copy of the sample codes used in this book, please email a copy of your proof of purchase to "roboteer@comcast.net", and we'll email you back a ZIP file containing these files and other documentations.

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