3D-printed tripedal robot walks on three legs

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Hacker Twins)

Locomotion is a nuanced beast whether you’re nature working out two legs on a human or a human working out three legs on a robot. In this case, we’ve got two humans known as the Hacker Twins, Mark and Jeff, who have assembled this cool 3D-printed tripedal robot that operates using three legs. Technically, this is only their most recent tripedal robot, which is much larger than its predecessor.

A wide variety of boards could control a robot like this. As long as you can operate nine separate servos, anything is a game. While our first pick would probably be a Raspberry Pi, Mark and Jeff used an Arduino Nano. The robot receives commands wirelessly from a nearby computer for control.

We spoke to the Hacker Twins directly, and they have plans to upgrade the Nano to a different board entirely. They’ve got their eyes set on an Orange Pi Zero, capable of running ROS2 Humble—an open-source system of tools designed for those who want to create robots from scratch.

The Arduino Nano provides a small form factor with plenty of GPIO to control the servos. Each leg has a servo at each joint for a total of nine. All of the hardware is mounted to a custom 3D printed frame that the Hacker Twins designed just for the project. It moves by swinging the center leg forward and bringing the body over with the outer legs.

The tripedal robot accepts wireless input from a nearby computer that’s running Ubuntu. It communicates with the Arduino Nano via Bluetooth, sending instructions on how to handle each servo. With the correct sequence in place, the robot can move. If you want to see the creation in action, check out the video shared on YouTube by the Hacker Twins. You should also check out our list of best Raspberry Pi projects to see what the maker community has been up to lately.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.