My name is Luis Picó. I was born on June 24, 1986 and I have always loved technology, I consider myself a rather curious person with a somewhat restless mind.
Let's go directly to 2008. In that year I was finishing my degree in Technical telecommunications engineering specialty Telematics at the San Mamés University, Bilbao, and I was already looking for a possible final degree project. I chose the degree the day before to have to choose possible degrees, I don't know how it works in other countries, but in my time, in Spain, you had to take a comprehensive exam at the end of school at 17-18 years old, and once you passed the exam, you had to fill a sheet with the five degrees you "liked" more and depending on your grade with respect to the rest of the people, you could enter one degree or another. The issue is that I had no idea what degree I wanted to pursue and just the day before having to make the choice, I found the degree of telematics. It had a computer part, a telecommunications part and an electronics part... Something would like me!
And so it was, what I finally liked the most was programming and electronics, so I signed up for the electronics department to look for a possible final degree project. The truth is that my tutor for the project was a disaster, and after several months without a project I was at home watching videos on YouTube (yes, YouTube already existed at that time). I don't know how, I came across a video of a Japanese humanoid robot dancing at the rhythm of a kpop videoclip... I was amused and I kept investigating. The first thing I found out was that it wasn't a dance robot, it really was a fighting robot! So my interest was increased. I continued investigating for several days and little by little I began to make a mental scheme of components, electronics and programming that such a project would require. Finally, it was decided. My final degree project would be a humanoid fighting robot!
Old video of two humanoid robots dancing
Now with a clear project and ideas I went to my project tutor to tell him about my "great idea" for my final degree project. The response was somewhat disheartening. "This project is very complicated for our department, I will not be able to help you". On the recommendation of my former tutor, I ended up in the "automation" department of industrial engineering. After the first interview I saw that again they could not help me and they did not have even the most basic knowledge that I had acquired in a few days. Still completely convinced that it was a project I could do, I decided to carry out the project at my own risk... and when I had finished it, surely a teacher would want to sign it without having done anything, and oh my, they wanted to!
I had a lot of problems to carry out my project. But the two most important were:
- Everything was very expensive, especially the good ones which were around 100€ each, and I needed 24! And importing from China at that time wasn't as easy as today. The solution was to talk directly to the factory in China and I ended up with a good price (for chinese servos) and no problems in customs.
- The servomotors that I could afford, were burned super easy and if they did not burn, with the use they ended up taking slack.
In short, the good ones cost money, and the cheap ones were cheap because of its dubious quality. At the end and after almost 1000€ of investment, I managed to finish my project. I was champion of Spain in robot fighting and of course, I got a tutor who only put his signature on a document that I gave him. There are thousands of anecdotes, with the construction of the biped robot and with the university... But I want to be brief.
Below there is the video of the robot that I built. I controlled it via radio with a PlayStation controller that I also "hack".
DY-BOT, testing my first humanoid robot