Boca Can Teach Anyone About Robotics

This simple, 3D-printed quadruped robot is designed to explore control theory and machine learning.

Anyone can learn about robotics, but what if there was an inexpensive, hands-on approach? That’s where Boca comes into play. Nguyễn Phương Duy designed his open source, 3D-printed platform for makers and researchers interested in exploring control theory, machine learning, and reinforcement learning.

Boca has eight degrees of freedom with some great moves to help you in your robotics research and study. It can be purchased in two different flavors if you so choose: either fully assembled or with a kit that has the required components to get started with robotics. Duy is also making a 12-degrees of freedom variant, set to be released soon.

As it stands now, the inverse kinematics is finished. Using predefined gaits, Boca is able to easily maneuver around. Next is to integrate simulations and reinforcement learning, along with additional external peripherals and add-ons.

If you purchase the fully-assembled version of Boca, you will receive all the electronics plus the quadruped robot itself. Here are some resources that have been provided with the project: PyBullet model and environment for RF testing, processing motion simulation code, and open source CAD design. However, you won’t have access to the courses if this option is chosen.

You can also build your very own Boca robot, but you will need to have access to a 3D printer. If you already have the parts, you just need to visit its repository, then download the design files and instructions. The robot kit features all the necessary 3D-printed files, an Arduino Nano, eight SG90 servos, a PCA9685 module, an HC-05 Bluetooth module, a step-down converter module, and two 18650 batteries (holder included). Finally, it contains jumper wires and a number of other components to help you get through the offered courses.

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