Let's Make Robots!

Hello, new member here

Hi everybody,

Just registered here after browsing the site for a while. I've read a few electronics courses at university and done some basic soldering, but mostly I'm a newbie. I'm from Sweden, 25 years old, and started programming in QuickBASIC when I was 13, and moved along most of the popular languages.

I've wanted to build a robot since a few years back, when I bought a RC 1/16 scale tank. Last summer, unemployed and not willing to spend much money on existing sensors at the time, using a breadboard I experimented with IR transistors and LEDs trying to make some kind of distance / proximity sensor. However, my efforts were fruitless, although it was fun to learn. I hooked up the IR transistor to an oscilloscope and decoded the signals from my TV remote =)

My idea is this:

Cannibalize some of the existing electronics on the tank. Add an attiny or atmega, I've programmed these before, but unsure wether Arduino or something could be a better start. Use a Sharp IR or PING))) as a distance sensor, and make it avoid obstacles.

More along the project I'm planning on adding more Sharp IR's to the sides and back so it can navigate abit smarter, adding maybe a compass (tobad GPS won't work indoors). An accelerometer would be nice to detect tilt / accelerations ("gas"-wise) and collisions.

Finally I want to build a "radar" (sonar) tower on top of the tank turret. This tower should be able to pan at least 180 degrees horizontally and perhaps even vertically too. I want to equip the tower with a PING))) sensor, maybe a webcam or camera of some kind, and a human heat IR sensor to detect humans. Maybe a microphone to detect sounds (voice recognition sounds more of a dream than reality).

I've got a hacked FON 1.0 router (which I got for free =D) which would be fun to integrate via SPI or I2C to act as a WLAN link, and some more CPU and memory power for path detection / planning or even image recognition. This logic could also be moved via the WLAN to a more powerful computer.

Right now, this is just an idea, more of a dream really, but I'm sure that with your help I can see it come true!

Thanks in advance,
Best Regards,
// night

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< Errorneous reply, I don't know how to delete this >

You want to use the Ping / ultrasound over the sharp. The sharp is only good because it is extremely easy to program, but you are ahead at that, and the Ultra sounds are much, much better options, for their specs.

An accelerometer would most likely not be of any use.

Regarding webcam and all; Here is the best tip you can ever get: Start simple, make one thing work.

Let your MCU control the tanks forward and reverse. That is a task in it's own!

Then, add a simple distance sensor, just static on top, and make sure you can drive around and avoid obstacles.

Than consider moving the sensor.

And take it from there.

But DO take it from the top. If you skip steps, you will just keep dreaming, trust me :)


Thanks for the reply!

Yeah I was planning it in something along those steps; step 1 is take control of the motors and cannibalize, if possible, the electronics that are already used by the RC tank to control those motors. Next step is a PING))) sensor and obstacle avoidance.

And then the rest will follow =)