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FINISHED: LazyBee Security Bot - Laptop Based solution for Dummies

Inter/Intranet controlled robot able to send video/voice/email and play with my kid from the office

Hi all,

 I'm from The Netherlands and have a nice little girl that wants me to build a robot. Well, easier said then done so far. Since I'm an IT consultant I wanted to use a windows based solution to control the bot over the internet. Why? Because windows can do lot's of things that will be pretty hard to programm otherwise. Well for me that is..... With the laptop solution it will be pretty easy to talk, see and even play with my daughter. She will be at home, I will be on my lunchbreak :)

Looked for some advice and some projects that go arround but so far all are pretty complicated and require pretty much skill to realise.

So here's the plan, I will add the progress as I go along.

Build a driving chassis - Done

Set up a laptop that can control servos and dc motors - Done

Set up wireless comms with the home network and the internet - Done

Make the bot accessible by using RDP (I love microsoft) - Done + Teamviewer (free internet tool)

Hooking up all the goodies (like a webcam and so on) - Done, the bot uses Skype amongst others

Dive into sensors and a way to make the bot smart........ Done, got it roaming and smoking

UPDATE, 21th june 2010:

Since I smoked the board with the sensors and basically reached my goal, a roving platform carrying arround a laptop with webcam etc. I'll close this project  for now. I'll get another control board and start up a new project shortly. Well I already started one but didn't get arround the pictures yet. Anyhow, for a first robot this was a good project that gave lots of learning experiences already. Things can only get better now ;) Sorry for making it kind of a mess, all has to do with a lesson I learned long ago when modelling planes and ships, get the equipement first so you know things will fit. Somehow I forgot (so there's lots of different platforms in this post, all just not good enough). The new bot will be smaller, lighter and yes, MEANER. :)

UPDATE, 6th may 2010:

Well, since Madrid was that inspiring, with Frits breaking futuristic cars, Antonios contemplating about his next project, Tinhead raging against his valkyrie and Rik picking barfights I had to come up with something new. Size is were it all starts. Let me elaborate on that; build a robot, post it on the internet and before you know you are stuck somewhere on the globe with a bunch of people that made the same mistake. Some are lucky and some are less fortunate. Lucky the ones that can walk home with a small bot, unlucky the ones that have to travell far with a small bot, really unlucky the ones that have to travell far with a heavy bot. Totally (*&#!*@! the ones that have to travel to Romania with a CNC machine. ;)

So go small.

Since the bot carries the laptop I couldn't go much smaller then the laptop itself. The weels looked too big so I had to replace them (well to be honest I started over the whole thing). I also added 2 extra ping sensors.

It's still under construction....... I have so many wheels at the moment :)

Still need to sand the edges. The upper part is just a try out, that will change a lot as soon as some new parts arrive.

My son loves it, to much. Pretty happy I used1.8cm furniture wood and aloi. It can take a beating. My daughter is still in doubt, a robot or a Hercules action figure?!

And just when things where to good to be true an evil spirit took control of the bot. I was lucky enough to carry arround an empty bottle of red wine so I was just in time to get myself a spirit in a botlle. It's been on the table for the last 30 minutes but I think I will open it. The freaking thing won't shut up! :)))

So remember kids! Robots have souls and are alive!

 

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Which HP mini is that? I'm writing this from the 110 :)

Stop writing on it and turn it into a bot ;)

(it's a 110 also) So far it works great, little dissapointed on the powerconsumption when using the webcam. Real amp sucker.

Wow, this is really coming along. The new look is very classy.

fasza kis robot :) nice robot :)

I must admit that your skill as a builder amazes me. Your robot looks like it was factory built and designed by the best industrial designers out there.

Great work!!!

Thanks Geir, considering what you have build already I take this as a big compliment :)

I also looked into some tools to control the bot. Ofcourse all need to be free of charge. Few things I found to be very handy;

Teamviewer

http://www.teamviewer.com/nl/index.aspx

Works like RDP but easier, you can connect from any internet connection and it doesn't care about firewalls or whatever. Installed a host (runs as a service) on the 10" laptop and a client on my own laptop. You set up a password and that's it, you can connect to it from anywhere. On the downside, it doesn't resize screen resolution so I just get a 10"display on my normal laptop/desktop. That's a bit small so when I'm at home I just use RDP.

YawCam

http://www.yawcam.com

Free webcam utility, open source and it has motion detection. Whenever something moves in front of the cam it will take a picture and set off any "alert" you like (like sending an email or starting a program).

Skype

http://www.skype.com

Pretty much known arround the world. Nice feature, you can set it to auto answer calls from anyone in the contact list. So no need for someone to be on the robots side to switch things on. Just start a video call et voila, your live, seeing what your robot is seeing and speaking through it. My kids LOVE this feature and even better, when the robot sits in the living room they break less stuff since they are worried I can see them :)))) I looked for ways to incorporate voice into skype so my daughter can call me (eg Daddy!) and skype would set up a call to me automatically. It's there but so far I couldn't find a free version. Bummer, guess that will have to come from a torrent.

Are you using Skype to control the robot, or just as a video feed? I added Skype to Bender this morning. Right now it is only being used as a feed but this weekend will be full remote via Skype.

Hi guys, after being ill for a while (freaking flue I can't get rid off still) I started building again. Well even if I wouldn't of been ill, I had to wait for my parts to arrive. I guess all know what that's like. One order falls in the mailbox after 3 days and the next makes you wait for 2 weeks just to find out that not all parts have been included and you have to wait for another week.

So far the 10" laptop arrived (thanks boss), the engines from active robots (where I orderd most stuff, quick shipping, great stuff but they don't know how to answer emails, you need to phone them if you have any inquiry).

Another lesson I forgot about, don't start building before you have all the kit complete (well, at least the biggest parts). My robot already had 4 different looks mainly because I started to build just to find out later that things wouldn't fit.

I liked the MDF at first untill I had to paint it. Man, that was dreadfull. It just sucks up anything you put on there so I was forced to use lot's of "plamuur" don't know the English word for that (it's the stuff you fill up gaps with before painting it). And then sanding, lots of sanding just to find out it wasn't enough and to start sanding again. I finally went for the hamerite paint since the glossy black just showed any imperfection. I need some metal workers equipement.

On the top you have the PIR sensor and on the black part there's a little Sony electret microphone. I tried to use the internal one but that's not sensitive enough for proper voice commands. Especially not with my daughters voice, she's a bit to small to speak with the same voice (plenitude/amplitude) all the time so the bot didn't respond very well. The external one improved that a LOT!

The base for the robot arm (still in the workshop being sanded) is a lit of a chrome storage can (used in kitchens). The arm is made out of aloy now (thanks Werner) and mostly done.

So next step is installing the batteries, hooking up the parallax (the digibee+ is already functional, controls all 8 LED's for now) and I guess the hard part, programming the thing to move arround by itself.

Hee man,

 

prachtig werk tot nu toe! blij te horen dat er op deze website ook buren zitten :)