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Muscle Wires are thin strands of a special nickel-titanium alloy that actually shorten in length when electrically powered. They are easy to use, and they can lift thousands of times their own weight. The direct linear motion of Muscle Wires offers experimenters a source of motion that is very similar to that of a human muscle, providing possibilities not available with motors or solenoids.

This is an ideal material for making small, simple walking robots! Compared to motors or solenoids, Muscle Wires (also known as nitinol) have many advantages: small size, light weight, low power, a very high strength-to-weight ratio, precise control, AC or DC activation, long life, and direct linear action. These features let you create whole categories of amazing new devices that would be difficult or impossible to do with anything else.

Luckily for us robot hobbyists, there are great books available about making nitinol powered walking robots. The best part is that each of these books comes with all of the nitinol you need to make your own walking robot! Take a look at each book to see which one is best for you.





   Stiquito For Beginners : An Introduction to Robotics

Stiquito for BeginnersThis is the second book on the popular Stiquito robot. Stiquito for Beginners is much more basic than the original book. It is aimed at the novice and it presents you with a unique opportunity to learn about the fields of engineering, electronics, and robotics in an original way.

This book may also be the first affordable educational book to describe a robot and include the robot with the book! This book will provide you with the skills and equipment to build a small robot, and will also provide you with instructions on how to build electronic controls for your robot.

The star of this book is Stiquito, a small, inexpensive hexapod (six-legged) robot. Stiquito has been used since 1992 by universities, high schools, and hobbyists. It is unique not only because it is so inexpensive but because its applications are limitless.

The Stiquito is a robot that is intended for use as a research and educational tool. This book is written at a level for High School and College students. It provides an engineering, electronics, and robotics curriculum, and presents experiments and projects that illustrate what they teach. It also illustrates Stiquito's uses in education by presenting lab exercises and describes the use of nitinol in experiments. Stiquito has already successfully been used to teach in primary, secondary, high school, and college classes.

stiquitoContents: Chapter 1: An Introduction to Robotics and Stiquito — This chapter presents a brief overview of robotics and describes the Stiquito robot. This chapter will also describe the skills needed to build a Stiquito robot.

Chapter 2: Engineering Skills and the Design Process — What is an engineer? What skills do an engineer need? How does an engineer go about designing something? This chapter explores these questions.

Chapter 3: Electricity Basics — This chapter discusses some of the basic properties of electricity. This chapter also provides some experiments to show how electricity and electronic components work.

Chapter 4: Nitinol Basics — This chapter discusses some of the basic properties of the Stiquito's muscle, nitinol wire. It also provides some experiments to show how electricity and nitinol work.

Stiquito KitChapter 5: Stiquito: A Small, Simple, Inexpensive Hexapod Robot — This chapter gives step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the robot kit included in the book.

Chapter 6: A Manual Controller for the Stiquito Robot — You have finished building the robot kit. Now how do you make it walk? This chapter gives step-by-step instructions on how to build the simplest tethered controller for Stiquito.

Chapter 7: A PC Based Controller for the Stiquito Robot — This interface allows you to use an IBM PC or compatible computer to control the actuators on the Stiquito robot and experiment with various gaits.

Chapter 8: A Simple Circuit to Make Stiquito Walk on Its Own — This chapter contains detailed instructions on how to build an electrical controller to allow Stiquito to walk autonomously.

Chapter 9: Uses of Stiquito and the Future of Small Walking Robots — Now that you have built Stiquito, what can you do with it? What can it be used for in the future? This chapter explores these questions.

A biography, a list of suppliers, and an index are also included.

The book includes all materials needed to build Stiquito. You only need a hobby knife, pliers, and a battery to complete the robot.

We recommend this book!


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   Stiquito Controlled! : Making a Truly Autonomous Robot

Stiquito ControlledBuild your own Stiquito "walking-stick" robot insect with the included kit!
Stiquito Controlled! is a widely accessible, user-friendly book that provides step-by-step instructions for building Stiquito, a small, multi-legged robot that resembles a "walking-stick" insect. The book includes comprehensive instructions and all the parts needed to complete assembly. Most notably, the kit contains a microcontroller board that allows Stiquito to walk on its own. Key features of the book include:

Complete kit to build Stiquito—no additional materials necessary (common tools required)
Detailed, step-by-step instructions for assembly of the robot
Comprehensive lessons on making Stiquito walk using the microcontroller
Engineering teachers and students, researchers, and science enthusiasts will find Stiquito Controlled! a fascinating and fun hands-on project.

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   Shape Memory Materials

Shape Memory MaterialsShape memory materials are fascinating materials, with the potential for application as "smart materials" and also as new functional materials. This book presents a systematic and up-to-date account of all aspects of shape memory materials, from fundamentals to applications. Starting from the basic principles of the martensitic transformation, on which the shape memory effect and the super-elasticity of alloys are based, the mechanisms of the two phenomena are clearly described, together with possible applications. The characteristics, fabrication techniques and thermo-mechanical treatment of various shape memory alloys are described in detail, with special emphasis on Ti-Ni and Ti-Ni-X (with X being Cu, Fe etc.) alloys.

The book also describes various applications and design principles, for example in actuators, medical applications and as smart materials. The book contains chapters on shape memory ceramics and polymers as well as shape memory alloys, making it a comprehensive account of the field.


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