Image/s credit: Nathan Ferguson and Alexander Calvert.

Dingo: The Small But Mighty and Affordable Quadruped Robot

Creator: Monash University

Country: Australia

Year: 2023

Summary

Meet the student-engineered, open-source quadruped: revolutionizing research and education, one affordable Dingo at a time.

Status: Commercially available, Other

Operation: Semi-autonomous, Teleoperation

Robot Type / Domain: Research, Educational

Tasks: Research Platform, Research & Development, Testing & Experiments, Education

Whimsical Intro (by addoobot)

Ambitious but strapped for cash? Welcome to the life of a researcher, where every free meal from meetings means a bit more cash for experiments! But now there’s an affordable way to dive into serious research—at least when it comes to quadrupeds. Meet Dingo: the budget-friendly quadruped that's powerful, open-source, and expandable. Learn more below.

Learn More

Meet Dingo: The High-Performing and Affordable Quadruped Robot for Research

When you think about quadruped robots, hefty price tags of industrial quadruped usually come to mind—unless you're considering the cheap consumer models that just can't cut it for serious research. But researchers and students often find themselves strapped for cash, needing something that's robust and powerful yet budget-friendly. This is where Dingo comes in: a cost-effective and high-performing quadruped that's perfect for serious research and modular enough to inspire innovation in any lab.

Brief Overview of Dingo's Specs

The Dingo quadruped robot has a footprint about the size of a 17-inch laptop, measuring 25 cm by 38 cm, and stands 25 cm tall. Weighing just three kilograms, it’s easily portable. It is designed to handle light payloads of up to half a kilogram, like sensors and lidars. It has a battery life of at least 25 minutes and can move in any direction, reaching a top forward speed of 30 cm per second. This combination of portability, payload capacity, and operational flexibility makes it an excellent choice for a variety of research applications.

What Makes Dingo Special?

Dingo stands out due to its affordability, mobility, versatility, and open-source design.

Affordability: This robot dog is affordable thanks to carefully chosen components such as the Raspberry Pi, costing around $1,350 Australian dollars (approximately US$900 as of July 2024).

Mobility: Each leg is powered by three servo motors, strategically arranged to reduce limb inertia and improve motion fluidity, giving Dingo a high degree of locomotion control. This not only enhances performance but also adds to the robot's aesthetic appeal.

Versatility and Modularity: Researchers appreciate Dingo’s ability to add components or modify parts to suit various applications. It supports powering additional 5-volt devices, features removable front and top plates, and offers 10 spare mounting holes for lidar, laser, and other components, facilitating modularity and expandability.

Open-Source Nature: Another appealing aspect of Dingo is its open-source design. The robot can be 3D printed, and its design specifications, CAD models, and software are freely available, allowing anyone with the necessary tools to build or modify their own Dingo. Software such as Gazebo can be used for virtual simulations to test algorithms and codes before implementation on the actual robot.

Operation of Dingo

The Dingo quadruped robot operates on the Ubuntu system, using a Raspberry as its main controller, with support from an Arduino Nano. Users can manipulate the robot's pitch, roll, yaw, and speed using a PlayStation controller or a computer keyboard. Dingo features USB and Ethernet ports for connectivity, a programmable LCD screen, and provides full state feedback in both task and joint spaces. Its mobility is enhanced by three servo motors per leg, enabling precise movement in any direction.​

Brief History

The Dingo quadruped robot was created by Monash University engineering students Alexander Calvert and Nathan Ferguson. Developed as a capstone project for their Bachelor of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering degree, Dingo is designed to be an affordable, open-source solution for researchers and students. It bridges the gap between expensive industrial quadrupeds and low-end consumer models. Introduced in 2023, the project gained significant attention for its innovative use of components such as servo motors, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino Nano, delivering high performance at a low cost.

Fun Corner (by addoobot)

Robots will soon be on the list of assets people brag about... or maybe not?
A fancy quadruped vs. a budget-friendly quadruped

Technical Specifications

Robot Type: Legged

Max. Reach: N/A

Max. Payload: 0.5 kg

Max. Payload: 1.102 lbs

Weight: 30 kg

Weight: 66.139 lbs

Max. Speed: 0.3 m/s

Max. Speed: 0.984 ft/s

Max. Slope: N/A

Battery Operated? Yes

Average Runtime: 0.42 hr(s)

Max. Runtime: N/A

Battery Recharge Time: N/A

Min. Size: N/A

Max. Size: 250L  380W  250H (mm)

Max. Size: 9.843L  14.961W  9.843H (in)

Mobility: Mobile

Locomotion Type: Legs/Walking

Number of Axes: 12 DoF

Manipulation: N/A

IP Rating: N/A

Operating Temperature: N/A

Open-source? Yes

Price: N/A

Software: Ubuntu

Controller & Computing: Custom PCB • Raspberry Pi • Arduino Nano

Remote Control / Interface: PlayStation controller or computer keyboard

Material: 3D printed

Actuators: 3 x DC servo motors per leg (12 motors total) • Torque: 35 kg.cm

Battery: Lithium Polymer Batteries • 4.0 Lipo

Data Transmission / Communication: USB and Ethernet ports • LCD screen display that is programmable

No more specs to show.

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Comment by addoobot - Our Perspective

What we think is brilliant about the creators of Dingo is that they have found the perfect gap in the market. They provided a quadruped solution that sits comfortably between high-end industrial products and low-end consumer models. This makes Dingo highly appealing to researchers, and even robotics enthusiasts, who need a high-performing quadruped at an affordable price to explore complex robotic behaviors. The only drawback we can see is its small size, which may not suit all researchers. However, for many, the compact design is desirable or less important than having a reliable, expandable platform to test algorithms and conduct research.

addoorable score:
8.80/10
Besides its sleek design, we think its small size makes it truly 'addoorable'. Please share your perspective with us below!

Top 5+ Qualities (by addoobot)

What we find to be the top qualities of Dingo quadruped:

  • Affordability: Dingo offers a high-performing quadruped robot at a fraction of the cost of industrial models.
  • Open-Source Design: The robot’s design specifications, CAD models, and software are freely available.
  • Modularity and Expandability: Dingo's design allows for easy modifications and expansions.
  • Compact Size: Standing at just 25 centimeters tall and weighing about three kilograms, Dingo is small yet powerful​.
  • Impressive Mobility: Despite its size, Dingo can move in any direction at speeds up to 30 centimeters per second and carry payloads of up to 500 grams.​

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