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Pi-based doggie bot hops and trots its way to Kickstarter success

Oct 5, 2021 — by Eric Brown 313 views

MangDang’s open source, $279-and-up “Mini Pupper” quadruped robot dog kit for the Raspberry Pi 4 has 12-DOF agility and an Ubuntu/ROS stack for SLAM, obstacle avoidance, and self navigation.

A Hong Kong based startup called MangDang Technology has made a big splash on Kickstarter with a quadruped robotic dog kit for the Raspberry Pi that has earned $285K with 23 days to go. Designed primarily for robotics education and inspired by the Stanford Pupper project, the Mini Pupper leverages Ubuntu and ROS to offer SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), obstacle avoidance, self-navigation, camera detection, and object tracking.



Mini Pupper

The Mini Pupper provides high torque custom servos with 12 degree of freedom (DOF), compared to 8-DOF for most robots in this category, says MangDang. Mobility options include Trot (diagonal pairs), Pace (lateral pairs), and Bound (front and rear pairs).

At publication time there were still over 30 basic early bird kits available for $279. Like all the other packages, it is due to ship in November. The kit includes custom parts, but customers need to 3D print their own shell and other parts and integrate their own charger and battery.



Mini Pupper with Raspberry Pi 4B (left) and Kickstarter packages
(click images to enlarge)

For $384, MangDang 3D prints the parts for you and adds the battery and charger, and for $499, they throw in a controller, SD card and a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4B. For $564, the full kit provided by the $499 package comes pre-assembled.

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The Mini Pupper has a programmable, 240 x 320 pixel “ISP free viewing direction LCD” that can show facial expressions. The 209 x 165 x 109mm robot weighs 560 grams and features an 800mAh battery. According to the InceptiveMind post where we read about the KS launch, the robot can last 25 minutes under full mobility on a 30-minute charge.



Mini Pupper (left) and with OAK-D LITE 3D camera
(click images to enlarge)

Major Pi ports are exposed on the rear and there is support for latest OAK-D LITE 3D camera module from OpenCV and Luxonis. MangDang has also tested the robot with various LiDAR modules, but neither the camera nor LiDAR are available as KS options.

This is an open hardware and software project so there are a lot of possibilities here. The current ROS version is Melodic, but there will soon be updates to Noetic, and “ROS2 is also on our pipeline,” says MangDang.

 
Further information

The Mini Pupper is available on Kickstarter through Oct. 29 for $279 to $564 US, not counting the many volume discount packages available, with shipments due in November. More information may be found on the Kickstarter page and the MangDang website.
 

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