Boy Scouts of America – Robo-Knot

Getting Boy Scouts Excited About Science and Technology

When asked what we could do to bring people into the Boy Scouts of America outpost at the Woodfield Mall and get kids excited about science and technology, we replied, “How about a robot guided by your hands that ties knots?” That conversation resulted in “Robo-Knot”, the BSA knot-tying robot.

The robot arms are controlled by hand motions captured by the Leap Motion Controller, a USB sensor. The user interface responds to these points and swipes like a touch screen. Pinchers at the ends of the robot arms are also activated by gestures.

The hardest and most innovative part is making sure two very expensive and powerful robots don’t crash into each other!

The machine automatically ties five favorite Scout knots: square, sheet bend, bowline, double overhand, and figure eight. Finally, a robot that can earn Tenderfoot! Rope is cut to length and seared by the automatic dispensing station. Start the video to the right to watch the double overhand knot.

Robo-Knot has been a hit with kids and Scouts of all ages. Although great for troop meetings, at more than 1000 lbs we don’t recommend taking it on hikes or campouts.

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