I saw an article online for a little home automation controller called Jibo. The video for this made it look very interesting and as I have always wanted something I could interact with via voice, it seemed like the idea addition to my home automation system. I continued to follow the project but it was going very slowly and now they have decided that the USA would only receive them, much in the same way Amazon did with the Echo, although I did manage to get my hands on one of them by having a friend in the UK purchase it for me.
Anyway, I decided to get out my 3D CAD software and see if I could design something similar as I have a Raspberry Pi3 on my desk with an 800×480 LCD with capacitive touch. Using some cheap lazy Susan slew bearings I started to knock up the design around them. I have chosen to only have 2 rotation points whereas Jibo appears to have 3. Using the CAD model I am happy with the angles and look that this gives me.
The first design was a bit on the tall side as I had chosen 37mm diameter motors which were rather long so I set about redesigning the complete project from the ground up and the image below shows what I now want to use for the final design.
and this was the original design
The newer design has a better head shape. The original was a simple half sphere and looked squashed.
For those who have seen the Jibo, my internals are very different. Here is the internal 3D drawing of the Jibo unit.
For my design, the motors are small geared type with encoder so that I can calculate the turns. In the rotational sections of the body I have 2 IR sensors that are used to detect the start point. On power up the unit will rotate the central body section until the IR sensors are detected. This becomes the home position.
I have used standard meshed gears instead of the timing belts that Jibo appears to use. This was chosen as it requires less mechanical assemblies for the motor mounts etc.
There are 2 slip rings between the rotational bodies that carries power and an RS485 communications link from the RPi3 and the motor control board. This cuts down on the amount of wiring and offloads the motor control to a G80 NETMF processor.
As this project progresses and I start to put the parts together I will post the progress and the design files for the complete system both software and hardware.