How to Not Fail at Hardware Projects

Over the years, I’ve witnessed countless failed projects (many of them my own) resulting from poor self-management. Here is how I recommend one approach hardware projects with the correct mentality. 1. Don’t be Optimistic “I wonder if that would be an issue… eh, it’ll probably be fine.” “That could potentially fail, but it probably won’t.” No, It will never be “fine”. If a thought like that ever passes through your mind you need to STOP RIGHT THERE and correct whatever critical mistake you’re making....

January 24, 2023 · 4 min · Ben Bokser

Stable Bipedal Walking in Simulation

In late 2019, I designed a custom QDD gearbox. Then I designed a bipedal robot with said gearing. By early 2020 I was spending about an hour per day after work coding a controller for the bipedal robot I had designed. In that time I learned a great deal of Python, and my controls proficiency skyrocketed. Then I started grad school and had to put this project on hold for about six months....

July 20, 2021 · 1 min · Ben Bokser

Model Predictive Control for a Legged Robot

I have recently implemented a model predictive controller (MPC) to calculate the necessary reaction forces for a legged robot. The work presented here is based on this paper by Kim et al. If you don’t know what model predictive control is, I recommend this excellent explanation by Steve Brunton. I also found this guide to model predictive control with CasADI to be extremely helpful. CasADi is an open source nonlinear optimization tool which I’m using for MPC....

October 12, 2020 · 13 min · Ben Bokser

Solving for the Jacobians of a Robot Leg

I’m currently working on the Python code to control a simulated version of my latest bipedal robot design in PyBullet. My focus over the past few weeks was getting the operational space control to work (many thanks to Travis DeWolf’s incredibly helpful blog). After finally getting it to work properly, I have decided to share my math in the hopes of providing a useful example for anyone else having trouble with this....

May 4, 2020 · 7 min · Ben Bokser