The Huggable - MS Thesis

This project was the culmination of my Master's thesis work, which took the original Huggable project, and transformed it into something more portable, more robust, and in a future revision, able to be mass-produced with manufacturing. We were able to work with a toy manufacturer in Panyu, China, to help us redesign this new version of the Huggable. I visited their facilities for three months to collaborate with them and learn as much as I could about the manufacturing process.

The process by which we designed this iteration of the Huggable project began with a list of design requirements and necessary components to include into the bear. We also estimated for a final outlook on the bear that gave us total project dimensions and overall shape. From there, the director of R&D and I went back and forth on sourcing motors for the necessary degrees of freedom, and sketching the layout of said motors and components within an outline of the bear. He would work within a 2D framework (front and side view), and I worked in a 3D framework (Solidworks), from which I then generated 2D mechanical layouts. Once we were also satisfied with the mechanisms used to operate the degrees of freedom, we then passed the designs off to the R&D CAD team. The CAD team and I would trade CAD files between Solidworks and ProE to generate shells for the Huggable. Also, I was able to learn of stock toy mechanisms that they were able to implement in the bear. It was a team effort, and a big learning experience for me to see the workflow from mechanical layout to detailed DFM CAD design.

Once the robot was delivered back to the lab, I did a good amount of post-machining and modifications to get the robot running at a level that could be tested. We performed a end-user evaluation to rate how well the robot could convey certain emotions. From there, we assessed necessary changes to the structure in order to make it a more suitable robot for performing research "in the wild".

See the full thesis located below.

Conference at Manufacturer