Robotics – Biologically Inspired Robots: Research part 1

What is Biological Inspired robots? First lets break the words into pieces.
Biology – The natural science of studying Life and Living Organism.
Robots – A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.
we could see that the Robotic studies has a lot to learn from the Biological side as most of the nature elements are refined through the years and it should be one of the most efficient way of doing things.

There are 2 methods from nature where robotic could potentially learn from which are

  • Imitating mechanisms found in nature (velcro)
  • Studying organizational principles from the social behavior of organisms(Swarming)

Imitating mechanisms found in nature


In robotics, bionics and biomimetics are used to apply the way animals move to the design of robots. Bionic Kangaroo  by Festo was based on the movements and physiology of kangaroos and one of the most well known Bio-mimicry of a bird was by Flying Machine by Leonardo Da VinciImage result for leonardo flying machine

There are many different variation of the bionics which replaces missing human limbs and they try to make it as close as the real ones, by producing a joint at where a joint should be, and although it might take awhile to get used to it, the technology is getting better over time and we are starting to go past the “Replacement of missing limbs” to “Enhancing human parts” since some of the Bionics worked better than our current limbs. *360 rotation of all joint? count me in.

This really inspired my projects in the turtle idea the spot is also an quad-pedal robot and I really love how it moves, maybe I could incorporate the idea of it into the turtle.

Notice how it move 1 foot at a time when turning and how it walks.


Studying organizational principles from the social behaviour of organisms

From the behaviors of ants, one ant may not be much and does not do much, with simple rules given to each type of ants, a society of ants will be able to do so much more and is really efficient. Hence on the idea of collective artificial intelligence in swarming in ants, fishes or birds, we could see the potential by using swarming in robotics by using local rules and global behaviors could allow us to scale the robotic ability into a scale unimaginable to us. 10 swarming robots could work, but 10 thousands swarming can do so much more, each individual robots just have to know where its immediate neighbors are.

The studying of insects like ants could really benefit the field of science and robotics.

This remind me of something that is in Big Heroes 6

Inspiration from this?

I’ll end this part of research here and if I have anything more to add, I will add them in another part afterwards.




Robotic – Final Project Ideas, Researches and Prototypes.

A Continuation from the previous Idea and Research, Part 1 where I wanted to do an Animatronic Turtle.

The Difference between a Turtle and a Tortoise is that all Tortoises are turtle and not all turtles are tortoise. Generally, Tortoise live on land and turtle lives in water most of the time, with exceptions which I’ll not go into. However in my Project, I’ve decided to use “Turtle” as I simply prefer the sound of Turtle more than Tortoise.

First thing.

How do Turtle/Tortoise walk?

Tortoise are cute! and the way they walk naturally are quite robotic =D

the “Hand” are much longer and the “feet” are much shorter in comparison. This is how a Tortoise retract its head, by bending its “neck” inwards. maybe I could emulate this.

29:43 – 30:20 where they talk about the locomotion of the tortoises

I could use a lever system to move the front and back legs so that I could use smaller motor and all 3 motor placed in the shell so the overall weight of the feet will be greatly reduced to allow me to use smaller/weaker motors.

From my research I’ve done and found this EEZYbotARM on Thingiverse which I could use it to study the mechanics I could potentially use in the feet of the Turtle.

The two motor is at the base of the mechanical arm(Typebot), in comparison to our typebot, This Typebot system is less efficient unless the torque of the motor far exceed the weight of the system and only a when there is a short (A) to (B) distance(longer fulcrum, more torque needed to turn it)

So to understand how fully it works and if there are any restrictions to this lever system, the best way is to having a study model to study how I could incorporate it into my Turtle. I also purchased a few servo few weeks ago and they also arrived so I used them in the study model.

The movement is really smooth and the movement coverage is definitely good enough for my turtle, However this system could barely carry its own weight as the base is relatively heavy, this Lever system could work great as a Type bot kind of project because doesn’t need to carry the base of the robotic arm, in my opinion, this probably wont work in my Turtle since each leg will still carry its motor weight because they are all in the shell, so having Motor(A) not carrying Motor(B) is of less importance since Motor(A) and Motor(B) will ultimately carry the weight of (A)+(B)+the mount+components+the shell in the end.

In Conclusion

I’ll need to find a more efficient system or use a bigger motor to do the work of lifting everything in the shell along with the motors and still able to cover the movements. Now my main concern will be

Weight of motor VS its Torque
Size of Motor (slightly bigger motor will result in MUCH BIGGER TURTLE which I’ll try to avoid as I wanted a COMPACT turtle, not a monster.)
Movements of motor especially within the shell.




Interactive Devices – Research 2: Musical Instruments.

Unconventional Musical Instruments

So, Lets go back to the basis of music… What is music?

Music are basically sound organised in time.

so to break it apart, any thing that produce sound in a timely manner could produce music. right.

and if goes further, sound is vibrations through a medium like gas(Air), liquid(Water) or solid(Bones)

and if we reverse the broken parts back up, anything that vibrates in a timely manner could potentially generate music. YEAH~ a ruler could vibrate, so a ruler is a potentially musical instrument.

As with my previous research about motors, Stepper vibrate more than Servo, so a Stepper is a louder musical instrument than a Servo.

of course, they should not be this loud so they were placed on a table and the vibration will be transferred to the table and it will resonate which amplifies the volume of the sound as the table have larger surface area.

Old floppy disk reader contains motor inside, with programming, they could produce music too:


Musical box  instruments.

This is basically the introduction of a music box, I think Music boxes are wonderful instruments that seems really magical considering that they could play music almost automatically minus the winding part at around 200 years ago where electricity were not even used as modern context(not in the sense that Egypt used “Batteries” thousand of years ago.).


Remember the video which Prof Demers showed us during lesson, the Marble Machine by Martin Molin?Image result for marble machine

I was fascinated and really impressed with the amount of calculations, engineering and mechanical effort used to build just one of these machine. This is a manual musical instrument that the skill of the artist really contributed to the overall work of this piece, imagine if I were to play it, it will definitely not sound like the original.

And I will talk more about the inspiration or the predecessor of The Marble Machine, “The Eighth Wonder Of the World” which is an Orchestrion that incorporate 3 violins in it. This too, the engineering effort within it is astonishing!

The 3 violins were used due to the mechanical aspect of it, since violins have 3 strings, it would made more sense to use 3 violins one string each than to create a complex mechanism that play all 3 strings on one violin.


Futuristic spin on Traditional Instrument

The classic instruments are awesome with limitation, This is why people are programming advancement into classical instruments.

Lets take a the simplified evolution of piano starting with the oldest piano in existence(around 330 years old) for example.

Related image

after a lot of version and variations that sound slightly different and with some improvements and then came the Electric piano in late 1920(90+ years old) which is an electro-mechanical instrument.

Image result for Neo-Bechstein electric grand piano
Piano Eléctrico Wurlitzer, modelo 200A.

and then after many versions of improvements, the more recent evolution of the traditional piano is the roli seaboard rise which uses sensor which then produce sound electrically, the interfaces still follow the traditional piano, however the sound produce and the means of producing the sound was nothing like the piano any more.


In Conclusion

In these researches of unconventional instruments, music box and the evolution of old instruments, I could see that we could use anything which could produce sound to be the base of a musical instrument, We could revise a traditional instrument like roli seaboard rise, we could build a system that uses old unrelated objects and make them an instruments like the stepper motor music,  we could possibly use a system that plays existing musical instruments like “The Eighth Wonder Of the World

There are no right and wrong ways in making music, the only problem is is it audible?



Robotics – Final Project Ideas Generations & Researches 1

For the final project for robotics, I decided that I want to do a solo project as to explore and learn more about the robotic aspect.

Categories that I am interested in:


The use of Robotic Device to emulate human or animals, or to bring lifelike characteristic  to inanimate object-

It integrates:
Puppetry (research to be done: Karakuri Puppets)

Usually powered by:

And controlled by:
Human (teleoperation like remote)

And further research must be done on:
Structure – Frame/Skeleton(Material, Skin)
Components – Types of motors and usage


They are self-operating machine or mechanism that automatically follow a predetermined sequences of operations, for me, they are more like the 3D – Dumb, Dull and Dangerous of robotics that does job that would reduce manpower.

The main aspect I think of Automaton is the ability of repeat-ability as they are supposed to do the same sequence over and over again so the zeroing of every cycle is of an importance here.

Areas to explore here:
Unmanned Vehicles

Stepper motor VS Servo Motor

Stepper Motor:
– Easier to control (1Pulse = 1 step)
– Higher Torque at low speed
– Relatively cheaper
– Accelerate too fast will result in skil step
– Higher vibration

Servo Motor:
– Generally High speed and High torque for given size
– Ability to maintain torque at high speed
– More efficient
– Does not vibrate much in comparison to Stepper Motor
– Generally more expensive
– Only limited types of servos

Stepper motor is good for low acceleration and high torque applications  and Servo motor is good for higher speed and higher torque applications.

My thoughts:
I could use 2 smaller servo to move a lever which is not capable by using only 1 servo instead of using a bigger servo (like 2x SG90D at 6V vs 1x HS322HD at 5V, but theres a limit to this)

I am more inclined to Animatronics as it seems much more interesting for me, after some research about Animatronics, Hexapods and Octopods are really common among the field of robotics due to the stability (6/2 = 3, and 3 feet on the ground will be stable) but then I am really interested in Quadruped which has 4 feet and an quadruped animal which I really like was the turtle/tortoise as they are interesting, generally does not move too fast and naturally have a shell, which seems logical to use a turtle as a base as their nature suits what I am looking for and it will be easier to hide all the components. So for now, I really want to give a Robotic Turtle some thoughts.


Robotics – Class Assignment 2 : Come On Barbie. (SuHwee and ZiFeng)

Our Initial idea was to have a head to bang onto the wall/table just because it will be sadistic and funny to watch. So our basic idea was to use strings and wires with plates for the head to move in any direction like to swivel around as it adds to the eccentric aspect of our idea. We did lots of trial and error as we were not sure what could work or not. First, we 3D modeled the servo mount which will pull the strings.

Meanwhile, we also went to look around in carousell for heads which could fit into our project nicely and is near for us to purchase them so we asked countless of dolls/plushie sellers on carousell

Then we realized that a square base we did previously was relatively inefficient as the part of the servo that spins was not centralize within the mount so we re-designed the 3D model.

After which, we did experiments with the plate for the “Neck” of the doll.

One spring in the middle was too flimsy until we added strings

emulation of 3 motors and movements, We were impressed.

And we fixed everything together and tied it with fishing lines.

With the setup above, the doll head was relatively heavy when attached to it,so it does not come back to the standing position so we modified the system with some blue felt to strengthen the system by a bit.

and then after some coding……

Interactive Devices – Final Project Research 1: Brainstorming

For Interactive Devices Project, I Intended to do it as a solo project so that I could possibly learn more through the exploration process.

After some research, I’ve got 3 general ideas in mind which I might consider:

Wearable Devices:

  • Could be for Fashion

    – Something that look nice

  • Could be for Entertainment

    – Something that is amusing to the user/viewer

  • Could be for Practical uses

    – Something like an Air-condition system

  • Could be for medical purposes

Musical Devices:

  • Could be a totally new instrument that is not available in the market.

  • Could be a system which plays existing instruments:

    – Strum Guitar
    – Blow Pipes/Flute
    – Ring Bells

  • Incorporate the pendulum

    – Pendulum is a interesting object which produces beats
    – is rather amusing

  • Reads Music sheet and play it automatically

    – Could be like a music box

Magnetic Devices:

  • Magnets have really interesting properties
  • Could be a combination of permanent magnets and Electrical magnets.
  • Magnetic could result in levitation of objects which are really amusing


Overall, out of the 3 main categories of Wearable, Music Instrument and Magnetic devices, I like the idea of making an musical instrument more and my initial idea is a device which could read music sheets like a music box. I shall explore more on music box in the next research post.

OBS Livestream Documentation

I Am Unable to embed the video here as I posted it directly to the NTU OSS Facebook Group, Hence.. >> CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO IN NEW TAB<<

Initially I wanted to tackle on the idea of multi-tasking by having doing many task simultaneously while on live, but after watching BOLD3RRR by Jon Cates, It gave me an idea of having multiple prerecorded videos in the live stream and produce a piece that is slightly chaotic due to the amount of events happening on the screen of the viewer and with sounds from the recordings disrupting my live speech. Originally I wanted to have multiple cameras, one filming me from the front, others will film from other angles like from the back of my head, side view and such, however I’m unable to find my additional webcams I had. So I resorted to having a share screen from my phone whereas my phone is usually unlocked and in the “auto play mode” of some sort of game and recently it’s Pokemon Go so I wanted to show it as part of my life.

Before the stream

I’ve recorded 3 grid of 15 minutes each on different days but I wore the same shirt to give a illusion that it all happened at the same time. Since I’m using my desktop which does not have a webcam installed(my laptop keep crashing), I stuck the USB camera onto a small tripod and placed it in front of me.

In my 10 minute live stream

As I said, I will talk more after the first class assignment,

Note to self: I should talk more in the live video.
-Zi Feng, 21 Aug 2017.

Although I am really bad in English and don’t enunciate words properly, I tried to narrate like living in a third space and interacting with the recordings which I dragged myself in the third space to describe what’s happening on the screen, I remembered that during our Adobe Connect lesson that when the camera is flipped, I had a hard time coordinating my movement so I flipped the live camera(only the live is flipped) to make it a mirror. Also, I am not sure if there audience but went ahead and asked if the audience could hear me, Makoto replied but I only saw the reply about 5 minutes later. (Should check comments more frequently, now I know)
“Live” me flying over to point at “third space” me

The reason that I used this Youtube video from TrainerTips was because it was his first live stream of the series and I was watching and recording it while he was on live. The basic idea is to use a Live streaming video streaming me doing things Live in my Live stream, its like a Live-Streamception.

And then something happened as mentioned by Makoto when he was an audience during the live stream.The top right(pre-recorded) and bottom right(live) goes to the desktop at around the same time and you can see the changes that happened on my desktop within that few days.

As mentioned by Alvin’s comment in my previous post, Gesture is an important factor in communication so I tried to incorporate hand movements into the live stream when I was explaining about something. I was talking about how Korean manga is usually in a long strip format but the website which I read it(MangaFox) cut it into a page format.

Throughout the 10 minute of live, I am kind of lost and got mind blank multiple times, guess this is the cons of going live but also the beauty of it- the imperfections in realtime, I also asked the audience if there is anything they could recommend me to do and I think there were no audience during that point of time so I ended the stream soon after.

Lastly, I think that the future live streams will be posted to my timeline and then shared to the OSS Facebook group because posting directly to the OSS group prevented me from showing the video in this post as the OSS Facebook group is a closed group.

Special Thanks to Makoto and CherSee as they were my live audience and reacted to me during the live stream.Thank you!!! =D


2D Project 1, Lines (1)

Page 1 of Documentation
Page 1 of Documentation

18 of the words could be separated into 2 column,

*Direct/result/how a person act*

Aggressive, Anxious, Awkward, Distracted, Embarrassed, Exhausted, Indecisive, Psychotic and Sloven

*indirect/cause/how a person sense*

Ambiguous, Bizarre, Fragile, Lyrical, Nonsensical, Sensual, Spontaneous, Systematic and Turbulent

Aggressive, Anxious, Awkward and Distracted exploration
Aggressive, Anxious, Awkward and Distracted exploration

Aggressive – Angry, Fast, Sharp edges, Hard Stroke, Thick lines, Impact

Anxious – Anxious people are easily agitated, they are unstable, Anxiousness are built up over time, and anxious people get more anxious because they are anxious. chain reaction.  I watched this OCD and Anxiety Psychology Crash course to understand more about anxiety.

Awkward – does not fit in, the errrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmm, awkward silence

Distracted – Being focus on things that are unimportant, usually like scrolling facebook, instagram, and tends to overshot the “rest time” we set for ourself.

Embarrassed, Exhausted, Indecisive and Psychotic exploration
Embarrassed, Exhausted, Indecisive and Psychotic exploration

Embarrassed – Shy, Blushed, trying to hide, Small pattern, low contrast, Soft, Curvy  Indefine line – only shading

Exhausted – unable to continue, slow, weak, leads to giving up, pen with little ink left. energy going down, feeble line

Indecisive – Hesitant, Shaky, Soft, slow, indecisive people tend to follow other people,

Psychotic – normal people are unable to apprehend, either extreme unstable/ extreme stable. Bipolar,

Sloven, Ambiguous, Bizarre and Fragile Exploration
Sloven, Ambiguous, Bizarre and Fragile Exploration

Sloven – Dont care, Thick marker mark, fast rough sketch , crushed paper.

Ambiguous – have more than one meaning, open to interpretation,

Bizarre – Funny, Serious to self, Unorthodox, weird, odd – using of other weird/odd mediums

Fragile – No glass crack alike, perforation, Tear line of paper, zipline

Lyrical, Nonsensical, Sensual and Spontaneous Exploration
Lyrical, Nonsensical, Sensual and Spontaneous Exploration

Lyrical – at first i got totally no idea, but i got inspired by art noveau from art history class and the whiplash curls. so 5 lines to represent the staff on music sheet and curvy lines.

Nonsensical – yeah, no meaning, illogical, meaningless,

Sensual – Curves, females, ribbons, arousing

Spontaneous – anyhow , having fun, freedom, unplanned, sudden impulse, zig zag lines.

Systematic and Turbulent Exploration and Draft 1
Systematic and Turbulent Exploration and Draft 1

Systematic – Fixed pattern, Repetitive pattern, straightlines, plotted lines,

Turbulent – Wind, plane, messy, can be gentle, curves, leaves