Archive for May, 2010

Mocotila: Epilogue

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The Mocotila Project was a success!

We met all the goals we had originally intended and then some. We built an eight foot tall robot arm capable of five degrees of freedom: Pan, Tilt, Jib, Turret and Dolly. All its motions were as accurate and repeatable as we could get them to be given the budget and tight time frame and the fact none of us knew what we were doing going in. We also wrote some cool software to control and animate the robot using a flexible web interface. We also did a lot of research and side projects like GPU accelerated live compositing, Maya integration, face tracking and some other fun stuff (read the previous blog posts for the details).

Our Final Presentation went well… after stressing out for 10 minutes before the presentations began when our turret rod pulley’s set screw got loose and we couldn’t control it anymore… we ran around the building finding new screws and fixed it with only seconds to spare. The actual presentation went without a hitch and the bot worked beautifully throughout the demo… whew.

All in all I think it was a pretty successful project. Team Mocotila would like to thank all the people who helped us make this project a success… Ralph (our advisor), Krishna, Steve, John, Janice, Caitlin, Ben Carter, Team I3, the MechE machine shop and so many more I’m forgetting.

Finally we’d like to give a tremendous amount of thanks to the two people who helped us the most in this project: Kyle Richard Gee our Mechanical Engineering Intern who designed our initial jib arm and an all around cool kid. And last but certainly not least Lauren Etta, our experienced design/build consultant and very talented Mechanical Engineer (and also an ETC alumni), who pretty much physically built this robot for us (yes, we helped a bit too). Thank you so much you two, this robot is your baby just as much as it is ours.

Here are some videos of the work we did:

Turret Construction

Dolly Construction

Jib-Arm Mounting

Demo Reel

Case Studies / Tests

MocoBot: The End Result

Monday, May 10th, 2010

So now that our semester has come to an end and Final Presentation over, we can finally reveal our end product to the Internet community.
Team Mocotila presents:

The MocoBot Software

The Main Menu

The Motion Builder Interface

The Motion Builder Interface (in mid-dragging of pan/tilt via the mouse on the viewfinder, notice the red border and dot)

Time Estimates Calculator

Job Execution Dialog Window

The Current Running Job Status

The Video Player Interface that lets you view the captured frames in a flip-book-like player

Drag-and-Reorder Layered Compositor Node configurator

The Manage Processes Interface that lets you launch/terminate currently running subsystems


The MocoBot Hardware

Front 3/4 View

Back 3/4 View

Camera Mount + Pan/Tilt

Tilt Servo

Pan Servo

Jib Arm

Jib Linear Actuator

Turret Top

Turret Side (turntable)

Turret Servo + Encoder

Turret Rod + Timing Belt + Tensioner


Standard Free spinning Track Wheels

Dolly Drive Motor + Encoder

Dolly Drive Motor + Axle + Timing Belt + Tensioner + Encoder

Dolly Drive wheel

Power Supply

UPS Battery

LynxMotion Servo Controller Board

LynxMotion Servo Controller Board

MocoBot Brain – Mac Mini (shown without anything plugged in). Usually have the following USB connections: LynxMotion, 2 Phidget Encoders and DSLR Camera

Standard Movie Tracks (rented)