Let's Make Robots!

tractor-trailer coupling with power transfer

This is an idea for two (or more) cooperative robots. One passive bot (with wheels, but without motors) and one active bot (with motors). The motor-bot (the tractor) would pull the lame bot (the trailer). The trailer has a power source on board. The tractor wants to recharge its battery from that source.

The big idea is so big, I won't even mention it here. Yet.

One of the necessary and mission-critical components would be the coupling of the two machines. In my design I want this coupling to be strong enough for the pulling AND I also want the two bots to share electrical power through the coupling. The mechanism must be robust and reliable. I want the tractor to be able to perform the entire coupling maneuver without my help. And also the de-coupling. So the coupling must also be fool proof.

Look at these designs made in a rapid prototyping material called pizza box.


That was the initial flat version. The red/black markings indicate where I would place conductive materials (e.g. copper plating). All the rest is electrically insulating (wood, plastic, chewing gum).

I recreated the "mushroom" in a taller version, so I could actually test the coupling/decoupling.



Here is how they "work".




And here you see how well the coupling works (even I were surprised) when the approach is not perfectly aligned.



Feel free to use these designs, even when I do not. Also feel free to post your results on LMR!



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  • I like your coupling! 
  • I like your LMR-profiles branding! Very original & cool with your paper and glasses re-appearing! :)
  • In your profile (linked to above), you mention that you are going to work on "Poor man's robovision using cheap lenses and LDR's" - I like the sund of that. last time I was working on that, I only got to make the AmandaLDR-project :) However, combined with GroG's sterreo-vison-work, the way a flie's eye works with many little eyes etc.. I think there is a future for that project.
  • .. but what is wrong with this link: http://letsmakerobots.com/user/1069/robots ? I strongly advice you to start on a very easy project. You have a LOT to experience & learn :) It is fun, but it is a lot!!

Thanks for noticing the branding. I figured it would make all my projects (?) recognisable by this community. The glasses and 5mm squares are always in my vicinity, so they fit. Once I start making videos (and I really like the way Chris the Carpenter does them!), you will notice these brands again.

The idea for robot vision was inspired by your LDR posts indeed. I made quite a few complicated suggestions and I hope to, one day, research them myself... In my robotlab, once finished.

I "fixed" the link you mentioned ;-)

I know I am starting at the bottom step of the ladder. I don't mind at all. I am in robotics for the learning. And I am on this website for the sharing.


Hey Rik, just came across this post of yours and read about your dreams of poor mans robot vision inspired by Frits's LDR post.

would you like me to send you one of my IR compound eyes to play with? Watch video here.

Check your mail please.

I dig Cris's videos too, looking forward to yours!

Regarding the link though.. You should have a look at best practice ;)

- That would be the FAQ.. strange indexing ;/ We'll work on that one day!
Long live LMR!

I did! I read both and doubted if I should start a project page without any robots actually running around my house yet. And I decided against. because you asked us not to. In the FAQ.

But then you went and asked me what was wrong with this link! Coming from any other guy, I would have ignored the provocation, but from you.... I just gave in to my previous instincts! Justifying myself by thinking that your word trumped the FAQ.

You only have yourself to blame here Frits! 8-D

I promise to all of you that I will endavour to replace the lame project with a real one as soon as possible. And if this precedent should trigger other members in defying the FAQ laws of LMR, I will take it down myself. Just ask.



The "what's wrong withe this.." - comment was supposed to be read as "Make some robots, stop talking" - not as "Make some empty postings" :D
Even uncle Rik produced a nonbot in his younger days! Tisk tisk, I guess?