Let's Make Robots!

Pablo the Pool Toy

Introduction

This is a concept for a robot to monitor and manage my swimming pool.

Design Goals

  • Waterproof (obviously)
  • Navigate to avoid people/obstacles and blocking the pool's skimmer
  • Solar powered/recharged
  • Daytime/nightime sensor
  • Cool underwater/overwater light display
  • Monitor and report water temperature
  • Monitor and report water chemestry (chlorine, hardness, alkalinity)
  • Monitor and report water level
  • Wirelessly transmit status to a remote LCD display
  • Alarm mode to detect someone/something falling into the pool
  • Remotely control adding pool chemicals, adjusting water level, etc.

Some of these features will be very complex, and may never be achieved. Right now I have no idea how I would measure the pool chemistry electronically.  Initial research shows this will be expensive and/or difficult.

Implementation Ideas

Locomotion

Hmm. Maybe water jets?

 

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Do you want your bot to float on top of the water? Just under the surface? Able to ascend/descend from top to bottom? Crawl along the pool floor?
For a really cheap sensor you could encapsulate an electret microphone and stick it to the outside of your bot - that way if something made a splash by falling in you could pick it up (ever notice how the sound of someone thrashing around is really loud underwater?).

Check this out. It's an electronic pool chemical tester. It's cheap (I don't know where the price is, the price there is for refills of somesort) and shouldn't be to hard to hack.

http://www.frontgate.com/jump.jsp?sort=-1&itemID=15979&AS=1&itemType=PRODUCT&keyword=33345

 

edit:

All of the handheld pool testers I've found are quite pricey, I see what you mean. 

Yep. They cost a bunch. Even if I ordered one and tried to hack it, most are not designed to provide a data out, so I could wind up with an expensive experiment yieling nothing. The ones that are designed to send data to a computer are REALLY expensive.

I'd love to figure out how they use the optical sensors to conduct various tests and then build it myself.

 

i'd say, keep the chemical testing as a last goal, first you gotta make propulsion and ways to dive deeper or get to the surface. I've got a question: do you plan on having an autonomous underwater unit or is it ok if you keep some of the "hardware" out of the pool which connects to the bot via cables (ie having the pumps to regulate his depth out of the pool insted of inside the bot).