Training on modular robots: Saudi-arabia March-5th-2011

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(click to enlarge)

Course sheet

  • Title: Training on modular robots
  • Duration: 30h
  • Dates: From March/5th/2011 to March/8th/2011 (4 days)
  • Place: National Robotics & Intelligent Systems Center. King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Organizers:
    • Dr. Khalid Aldakkan, head of the National Robotics & Intelligent Systems Center,
    • Dr. Eball H. Ahmad
  • Attendees: 9 people, divided into 3 groups
  • Instructors:
    • Prof. Dr. Houxiang Zhang. Department of Technology and nautical science. Aalesund University Colleage. Norway
    • Dr. Juan Gonzalez-Gomez. Robotics Lab. Department of system engineering and Automation. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Spain
  • Robotic platform: MY1 modules and Skycube board


Day 1

  • Session 1: Introduction
* About ourselves.
* Introduction to modular robotics(PDF)
* Overview of the training on modular snake robots (As shown below)

  • Session 2: Building the MY1 modules
Assembling the MY1 modules. Mounting the battery pack. Preparing the download cable. Building Unimod A1

Day 2

  • Session 3: Software installation
Installing the SDCC C compiler. Installing and testing the Codeblocks IDE. Installing and testing the Pydownloader tool. Introduction to the Skycube board. More programming examples
  • Session 4: Servo controlling
Introduction to servo controlling. Programming the sevos. Introduction to the sinusoidal generators. Programming oscillations. Experiment 1: "The wave". Experiment 2: "The big wave"

Day 3

First Challenge! Building a 30 modules caterpillar robot
  • Session 5: Locomotion in 1D (I)
Finish the 10 Unimods A1. Minicube-I assembling. Experiments on the locomotion of Minicube-I. Building the Cube3 configuration. Experiments on the locomotion of Cube3
  • Session 6: Locomotion in 1D (II)
Building the Cube6 configuration. Locomotion experiments. Building the Cube12 configuration. Locomotion experiments. Building the Cube30 configuration! Locomotion experiments. Locomotion principles. Introduction to the serpenoid curve

Day 4

Second challenge! Building a 30-module snake!!
  • Session 7: Locomotion in 2D (I)
Building 10 Unimods B1. Building 10 Unidmods 2D-B1. Building 5 Minicube-II type A1. Building 5 Minicube-II type B1. Locomotion gaits. Locomotions experiments. Building a 6 modules pith-yaw configuration. Locomotion experiments
  • Session 8: Locomotion in 2D (II)
Building 3 snake9. Locomotion experiments. Building 1 snake18. Experiments. Building the snake30!. Locomotion experiments.

Day 5

  • Session 9: Pending Experiments
Pending tasks, resolve questions, complete the unfinished experiments
  • Session 10: Conclusions and future work

Robotic Kit

Unit kit (3 modules) (click to enlarge)
  • 3 Futaba 3003 servos
  • Aluminium parts for building 3 MY1 modules
  • 1 Aluminium part for holding the batteries
  • Battery compartment (for 4 AAA standard batteries)
  • 1 Skycube board
  • 4 standard AAA batteries
  • 43 M3 flat head bolts, 8mm.
  • 39 M3 nuts
  • 4 male/female spacers. Size M3, length 12mm
  • 4 spacers (female/female). size M3, length 10mm
  • A two-pin female molex connector
  • Two pins for the molex connector
  • Two pieces of heat shrink tube. Diameter: 2mm. Length: 10mm
  • 3-pin header
  • 1 FTDI TTL-232R-5V Cable
  • 1 small Label


Modular robots training


Direct link to the video in Youtube


Photo album
Building the modules (Click to enlarge)
Building the modules (Click to enlarge)
10 electronic boards(Click to enlarge)
30 modules and 30 electronic boards(Click to enlarge)
A 9 modules caterpillar robot (Click to enlarge)
A 9 modules caterpillar robot(Click to enlarge)
A 30 modules snake robot (Click to enlarge)
A 30 modules snake robot (Click to enlarge)
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  • Thanks to Dr. Khalid Aldakkan, head of the National Robotics & Intelligent Systems Center, for inviting me to give the conference
  • Thanks to Dr. Eball H. Ahmad for his kindness and all the time he spent with Houxiang and me. I really appreciate it.
  • Thanks to al the people at the National Robotics center. I really enjoyed a lot my time with all of you.
  • Thanks to Prof. Houxiang Zhang for counting on me for the training on modular robots. Thank you very much ;-)
  • Thank to Prof. Mohamed Abderrahim for the original slides he gave to me for the preparation of this talk


  • March/29/2011: Added a video
  • March/19/2011: This page is started