Let's Make Robots!

SplatBot MkIII - Fire fighting Wild Thumper!!

Locates fires and puts them out.

SplatBot MKIII is my first attempt at a fire fighting robot. The "Wild Thumper" 6WD chassis is the production version of my original 6WD chassis and the new flame tracking sensor is a new version of my IR compound eye. My first attempt at an IR compound eye was tested (and failed) on my original SplatBot.

My first challenge is to see if the new eye actually works. The outputs tested ok with a multimeter but getting it to work with the Wild Thumper robot controller to opperate a pan / tilt assembly and track an object is another problem.

The design is very similar to SplatBot MkII except much larger and the bottles are mounted higher so the suspension can flex without hitting the bottles.



After a few problems with electrical noise and a faulty IC socket on the flame tracker I finally got the robot to track movement of my soldering iron. The sensors are much slower to respond than the phototransistors on the IR compound eye so the eye can loose track of an object that moves too quick but for locating a fire this is not a big issue.

I am definitely going to have to add other sensors for navigation as this chassis has the high speed 34:1 ratio gearboxes. I will also have to add a remote kill switch. My biggest worry is that it will run into the fire, catch fire itself and then run around berserk possibly creating other fires. This might defeat the purpose although it might make a good Anti-mov entry.


I have attached a video of the flame sensor tracking the motion of a 60W soldering iron.



I have attached a video of the robots second attempt at putting out the fire (the first attempt ended with the robot sitting on the fire). Overall it's working but it needs a lot of fine tuning. Right now I am using RC to guide the robot to the fire and then the autonomous system detects the fire, aims the cannon and runs the pump.

Next step is to adjust the suspension to handle the full 4Kg load of water better and improve the cannon. The software needs to improve it's aim and to check the fire after it's out for hot spots. In the second attempt there was still some flame that the robot missed.



I have added more videos including the first failed attempt to fight a fire. This was due to the fact I was using a TV remote to control the robot and the flames interferred with the signal.

The Wild Thumper is a tough little bunny and despite sitting in the flames the only damage was one motor housing got singed. The aluminium chassis absorbed enough of the heat to protect all the wiring and electronics.

In the third attempt I have fixed a problem with the tracking system and added a scanning function. You can see about 1/3rd of the way through the video of the third attempt that a small flame is initially missed until a scan is done. The flame is then detected and extinguished.

At the moment I have not had time to adjust the suspension and all the waters weight is on the back wheels. This will be corrected in the next video.




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Beautiful job! MiniEric can hide in a corner...

Umm... a small request..

When are you going to substitute an actual standard CO2 fire extinguisher?  

Like this :) ?

Just a electro-needle valve substitution .... badda bing badda BOOM !

At the moment we are trying to develop a small "SplatBot" kit of parts that can be bought seperately to the 6WD chassis. At this point the water pump is a cheaper option. It is much cheaper and easier to refill a water bottle than to have a CO² extinguisher recharged.Once the water version is perfected then I will try a CO² setup.

I would still like to try Gareths idea with the vinegar and baking soda. Aside from being cheap, you get the benifits of both water and the CO² created by the chemical reaction. Maybe not the best option for in the house but certainly good for outdoors.

The only real problem is that it needs two pumps. Using one pump, the chemicals mix before reaching the pump and then CO² bubbles in the pump prevent it from working well.

Alternative: steal principle from fire extinguishers (and plant sprayers and super soakers): put some air in the containers and use your pump to pressurize that. You may need a different pump though. The advantage might be that one pump can pressurize both cannisters.

Time projected...........(not to distant)

I can picture the scene of a couple of your "SplatBots" waiting in a corner of an office or factory (ie. overnight - no-one around ), then quite by chance an overloaded cable or a discarded cigar starts a fire ........... "SplatBots" to the rescue - need i say more.

"Thumbs up" for Super idea and a fitting chassis to undertake the demanding firefighting job.

Hey! A successful fire fighter. Nice job.

Thanks IG.

There is still a lot of work to be done yet. When it's finished I hope to have it completely autonomous. I have another video that I'll put up tomorrow where the fire fighting routine is far more efficient at putting out the fire.


what a chassis..

Neato Mr.OB1.....

Something jumps out  ..... two bottles ...... you could fill them with different chemicals and a mixing valve that way you could even spray with fire extinguishing "Foam" ...... dont ask me what two chemicals (some other LMRer will have that solution )

I wish you luck with the fire.

NB. "Puff" burnt his nose a few times too.

Qoute :-

"In this lab, we'll produce a foam of carbon dioxide gas in water. We'll produce the carbon dioxide by reacting vinegar (acetic acid) and an aqueous solution of sodium hydrogen carbonate (sodium bicarbonate or baking soda), which is represented by the following equation:

CH3COOH(aq) + NaHCO3(aq) → H2O(I) + CH3COONa(aq) + CO2(g)     "


There you go........... ( childhood memories flash back ;-)