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Old Robotics Projects

Some of my older robotics projects once had a home on the web, but I closed that site in 2012 due to a job move. I have gotten some emails asking about what has happened to those old projects and if I could put the project descriptions up again. What better place than on my DroidBuilder site which eventually evolved from those earlier adventures!

Some of these projects have long been retired and their parts recycled. I will note here the projects that are still in one piece and what they are doing now...

"Stomper" hexapod walker
Microcontroller: MicroChip 16F84A
Sensor: SRF04 ultrasonic ranger
Motors: three HiTec HS25BB
Power: four AA Nmh, one 9v Nmh
Weight: 23.7oz (673 grams)
Status: Semi-retired (still assembled and functional!)

This first robot is "Stomper", one of the first robots I built back sometime around 2003 or 2004 from plans in the book "Insectronics" by Karl WIlliams.

Thinkbotics web site
I have several of Karl's books and would recommend them to anyone that is wanting to get started in robotics. Although some of the tech used in his books are getting a bit dated, the microcontroller IC's used are cheap and still available. His books are an excellent introduction to constructing your own robot from scratch using materials you can find at almost any hardware store. The construction is fairly simple, and the code examples used in his books are simple and easy to translate into more modern microcontroller such as the Arduino. 

You will be happy to know Stomper is still alive, in one piece, and happily enjoying his robotic retirement. He still comes out occasionally to demonstrate his prowess at making a stomping noise to visitors that ask about my hobby. :-)

Stomper is built of aluminum construction parts from a local Home Depot, nuts, bolts, model airplane servos, an SRF04  ultrasonic rangefinder, and uses a PIC 16F84 microcontroller for his brain.

As you can tell from this video, this bot was named after the sound he makes as he marches about...

Stomper robot

Another view of Stomper, from above, showing the general construction and also the home-made 16F84A controller board that serves as the bots "brain".

Another view of stomper, this time from below showing the configuration of the model airplane servos that allows him to walk.

Stomper is an excellent candidate for one of AdaFruits new Trinket microcontrollers as it has only three motors and one distance sensor, well within the capabilities of a single Trinket! See my short review of the Trinket here...

Cyclops MiniSumo battlebot
Microcontroller: Basic Stamp BS1-IC
Sensors: Sharp GP1U58Y IR, two QRB1134 reflective, leaf switch
Drive: two modified GWS S03N2BB
Power: four AA Nmh, 1 - 9v Nmh
Weight: 16oz (454g)
Status: Retired, mostly functional, needs minor repair to IR.

This simple 2 wheel differential-drive combat bot is another of my early robots, built around 2004 for use in local MiniSumo competitions. Unified Sumo robot rules linked here. Cyclops featured a Basic Stamp BS1 brain built on a homemade PC board, and modified model airplane servos that act as drive motors. One unique feature of this particular robot is a leaf switch mounted on the back to sense when the robot was tilted upward by a "scoop" robot which initiated an "escape" manuever (a quick reverse and turn) to prevent the scoop robot from dumping it off the dohyo edge. I won several local competitions with this bot!

OB1 (Object Bot 1) nuclear disaster simulation robot
Microcontroller: OOPic I
Sensors: Sharp GP2D12 IR range, two homemade reflective.
Drive: two modified HiTec HS25BB servos
Gripper: three HiTec HS25BB
Power: eight AA, one 9v
Weight: not known
Status: Parts Recycled

My first totally built from scratch robot was this one It was designed for a contest designed by Front Range Robotics club member Ed Rupp. You can think of the contest as a simulation of a nuclear disaster, with certain targets (nuclear waste) that need to be removed from the dohyo while other targets were to be left standing in the "safe area" (on the dohyo). Each of the targets has a specific size, color, weight, and "taste" (resistance value) - any of which can be sensed by the robot
OB2 nuclear disaster simulation robot

Microcontroller: OOPic II
Sensors: Sharp GP2D12 IR range, two QRB1124 reflective, homemade color
Drive: two modified GWS S03N2BB servos
Gripper: HiTec HS25BB servo
Power: four AA Nmh, one 9v Nmh
Weight: 21oz (600g)
Status: Parts Recycled

OB1 was large and clumsy, often knocking over the targets that were supposed to be left standing in the "safe area". OB2 was my second attempt at improving my competition scores. OB2 did better, but still suffered from not having more IR range sensors to improve its vision. I have yet to re-attempt this competition, although expect I would do much better now by either by using more IR range sensors or using a Raspberry Pi camera with OpenCV software for locating the targets...


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