Let's Make Robots!

Penny - An Arduino SHR

starthere1.0.pde3.38 KB
starthere1.2.pde3.88 KB

Introducing Penny. She's beginning her existence as a Start Here style robot. However, she's based on an Arduino Mega.

  • Video 1: Early testing of the servo and Sharp IR sensor used to test my code.
  • Video 2: Penny prototyped on a breadboard and running fine


I re-used the motors, wheels and chassis from my original SHR, which has been gathering dust for a while.

Penny is configured back-to-front from the old SHR, with her drive wheels in the lead. I set the Sharp IR sensor back as far as practical, since it doesn't work well closer than 10 cm anyway.

The messy breadboard will get cleaned up. I plan to use Ro-Bot-X's Arduino shield for building robots, which will take care of .some of that wiring for me.

Update 2010-10-05: I have received the Ro-Bot-X designed Arduino shield and gave Penny an upgrade. Look at her now. Quite a difference!


Penny 1.0 is based on a straight translation of fritls' Start Here code for the Picaxe. This is my first Arduino robot, so I wanted to start simple. I'm very pleased with the result.

I have attached the original code as well as an updated version that is fit for the Arduino shield and adds a backup function.


I'm using an SN754410NE dual h-bridge motor driver. No other electronics yet.


As you can see in the 2nd video, Penny is working fine. I adjusted some parameters, like how far away she reacts to an obstacle. There's plenty of room for enhancement of the basic SHR code, and I'll use Penny as a platform for learning more about  the Arduino.


The future is bright for Penny. I have a lot of possible enhancements with an Arduino Mega as the brain power. We may see features like:

  • Wheel encoders
  • PWM
  • Line following
  • Edge/cliff detection
  • More actuators
  • Perhaps... penmanship

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I used Ro-Bot-X's Arduino shield for building robots, which includes a motor driver chip. No encoders yet, but I have bought some that I can to the motors.

You can do obstacle avoidance without encoders. You just need some sort of sensor to tell the robot when something is in its way. Then turn and test again.

Adding encoders will allow more accurate navigation, which I want so I can use Penny to control a pen and write while she drives.

Nice job so far, congrats on your progress :)

HI I am just starting out and would like to build Penny. Ccn I use the Arduino Uno instead of the Mega? Did you ever post a wiring diagram? Form the LBR website it looks like activity in this project stopped in 2011. Are there any posted updates?

DO you have a step by step outline on the assembly of Penny? 

I see that you also live in NJ and have held classes teaching robotics. Do you still offerr offer classes on building robots using Arduino Uno?  If so how can I get more information?