Revel Robot Arm

By on

Revel

An affordable robot for the masses

Designed and manufactured in the USA, Revel was the premiere robot product from my company Svenzva Robotics. It was designed to be a capable robot arm for both research and industry with an emphasis on affordability and simple mechanical & electrical integration.

Revel can carry 1.5 Kg at full reach, has a total reach of 63 cm, and can be taught quickly to automate tasks. Personally I have taught it to

  • propel itself on a skateboard
  • pick up a watering can and water potted plants
  • pick up a vinyl record and place it on a record player (watch)
  • automate CNC workflows (watch)

You can find technical details and promotional videos on Revel’s product page.

Revel

Software

While there was emphasis on ROS integration, each of the motors were independently accessible through a standard serial connection for customers that didn’t utilize ROS. Our motors used firmware that had just been released and required an overhaul to the existing drivers. I rewrote the drivers to be compatible with the new firmware well before support was ever offered from the manufacturer. This was necessary to enable advanced control methods for the motors.

ROS

The Revel robot’s ROS stack is fully fledged, with integration with ros_control, MoveIt, and joystick interfaces for cartesian control. The cartesian controller uses an generated inverse kinematic solution that can react to user input immediately.

Kinesthetic teaching

The easiest way to train a robot is through Kinesthetic Teaching. The robot used a dynamics model (partially generated from Solidworks) that allowed it to react to outside forces while holding itself up under its own weight. This gravity compensation is crucial to being able to move the robot in space. Revel had a Kinesthetic Interface that was wrapped around a curses style console menu.

This menu was used for most released media for Revel. You can see how I used it for repeatability testing here.


Revel

Hardware

Part of the appeal of the Revel Robotic Arm is that it is more customizable than traditional robot arms. A great example of that is add-on Gripper attachment that makes adding new gripper functionality simple and inexpensive.

Through precisely manufactured rack-and-pinion fingers, I designed and fabricated the attachments for

- a pressure insensitive drawing device that accepts a variety of utensils
- a flexible thread-and-rod assembly for the making of string art
- a vacuum suction gripper (see: https://a360.co/2VawAUk) 

along with a sound isolated vacuum system that made pick-n-place tasks a breeze. You can check out the string art project here.

Revel