by jdow, published

FOBO by jdow Jan 23, 2012

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FOBO by jdow is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license.

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FOBO is an autonomous, statically balanced walking robot. Yes, this one actually walks under its own power! It is the fourth prototype from Project Biped (www.projectbiped.com).

A full overview (with source Blender files) can be found at the Project Biped FOBO website:


walking info:

more pictures of the actual robot:

FOBO avoiding obstacles:

Controlling FOBO with a Kinect:


Step by step animated assembly instructions:

printed part diagrams:

non-printed parts manifest:

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Comments deleted.

I'm struggling at the final hurdle! 

Having built Fobo, loaded the remote control program to the Arduino and opened the serial port monitor to see the output, it prints FOBOFOBOFOBOFOBO etc while it waits for the poser application.  But the Poser application can't open the com port to connect to FOBO because the Arduino app has control of the comm port and won't let the poser app see it.I've clearly gone wrong somewhere in my understanding of the applications.  Any help would be appreciated.

First thing to check is to make sure the poser application has the correct COM port selected on the drop down box when you try and connect ... it will populate the list with all COM ports with a connected device (such as your 3D printer). The only software that need to be running on your computer when connecting to FOBO is the poser application (don't run the Arduino IDE, or the serial monitor). Also try rebooting your machine (to make sure nothing is still running in the background) and then run the poser application.  If this doesn't help then make sure you aren't using a USB hub ... directly plug FOBO into one of your computer's USB ports (should be fine, but there are lots of strange drivers out there).

Ah, that makes more sense.  I was being misled by the bit of the Arduino code that says it is waiting for the Poser app to make contact before writing 'connected' to the serial port.

Never gonna happen.

jdow, did you get my email to your projectbiped address, only things have moved on and I remade the servo shield?  I am pretty sure there's a mistake on the published schematic in that servo connections 2 and 3 are reversed.
However, that aside, do you have any suggestions as to why the navigation2 Arduino code runs soooo slowly on FOBO - about a servo movement every second or so instead of the agile (?) movement shown in the videos?

I... I have to make this for my nephew (with the obligatory AT-ST mod). Love the idiot proof documentation.

How important is it to get that mg996r servo? Are there any attributes to look for in similar (possibly even cheaper) servos?

The parts were designed with the servo head of the mg996 in mind and the walking cycle is dependent on the performance charastics of the mg996. That's not to say you couldn't do it with a different servo, but I'd recommend getting a standard size servo and staying around 10 kg/cm of torque otherwise you might have a hard time making the robot walk. Let me know if you find something better for less, I'm always looking for ways to make the designs less expensive!

thanks, i just ordered your suggested servos. Found them for under 10$ at quantity.

The only part i am missing is the voltage regulator (07E31-ExceedRC_UBEC-3A-6S-V1), which seems to be out of stock.... Do you have any suggestions anything comparable?

Where did you find the servos? I looked at the link and they were sold out

The only places that I have seen that particular servo is at http://HobbyPartz.comHobbyPartz.com or http://HobbyKing.comHobbyKing.com. They tend to restock them often, so check back in a week.

Just a warning, if you got your servos from Hobby King, the shipping can be really slow if you select their cheapest shipping method. This voltage regulator is overkill for FOBO, but is in stock and will work:


The main thing that the regulator needs to do is output 5 to 6 volts dc and handle up to 2 amps. Good luck with the build and let me know if you have any questions!

hm, where to add the claw and the chainsaw extension...


I am going to start working in the DT dept. of a school soon and was thinking of suggesting that they use this for demonstrating robotics to the students. Not to mention the students can build it too!

That sounds like a great idea! Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Thanks to Anton for pointing out that some of the parts (1, 3, 7) had holes in the mesh! The patched parts have been uploaded, and also added to the zip file.

Awesome design, and I plan on building one (some day). I checked out your site, and I ESPECIALLY like the design shown on the Home Page (reminiscent of the Marine exoskeleton seen in Avatar... my favorite part of the movie, besides the warships)! When will that design be available?

Glad to hear you liked the site! You're in luck ... the picture on the home page is of PRODOS (the second prototype) about half way through the build. You can download the parts and build it either from my web site:


or its Thingiverse page:


Although PRODOS moves, it doesn't walk. However it might be of some interest ... mainly if you're interested in getting rid of all of those extra ball bearings you've got laying aroun
d ;-).

Prodos - Bipedal Robot
by jdow

Thanks for all of the great feedback! Just a quick update, last night I posed the Blender model files for FOBO (static and walking) :


and the source code for the autonomous navigation (arduino file):


I'm not sure if anyone has started building FOBO yet, but if anyone has any questions/comments on t
he assembly instructions, please let me know!

This is completely awesome! Great work.

I plan on putting one of these together.

This looks amazing, awesome!

i want to mod this to look even more like an AT-ST than it already does and have it shoot ewoks off me desk!

Going to have to be some tiny Ewoks ;-) I look forward to seeing your mod!

This is amazing you should be so proud of this work! Keep it up man !!

Nice one! I think this could be a worthwhile project for my son! Great work . . 8 Servos . . WOW