Let's Make Robots!


navigate around via infrared and wireless connection to computer and ipod touch.
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This is my senior project. It is a search and rescue robot. it is designed to be small and remote controlled and fully autonomous. the main processor is a arduino UNO. It connects to my computer via a wireless connection by two Xbee devices. it is controlled by an app called TouchOSC on my iPod touch. the app sends data to the computer and then a processing sketch relays that data via the xbee devices to the arduino, to drive it. I made a custom interface for the app so it can control the motor driver and infrared sensor as well as the sensor resolution. it also control the angle of a servo that has a wireless camera on it, so the camera can tilt 180 degrees. the app can also turn on the head lights and take the robot in and out of autonomous mode. the robot is controlled by an arduino UNO. it has a custom shield that I made for it. the shield has a built in motor driver that drives the track motors. the robot chassis has been machined out of aluminium and holds 4 micro geared 100/1 gear ratio motors. the robot has a 11.1 vol lipo battery pack which powers the entire robot for approximately 1.5 hours. the robot has 2 tracks to move the robot around all sorts of landscape. the robot is able to navigate around objects. this robot is intended to be used in all sorts of aplications. it can preform live video inspection of almost anything, and it is considerably cheap compared to other search and rescue robots which cost around $10,000. it is designed so it can drive into small holes in rubble of colasped buildings and other debris and find trapped victims. we bought this kit http://www.robotmarketplace.com/products/IL-ANTKIT2.html and the we realize that the body was to small so then we made it bigger but still kept the tracks and motors. I made a new lexan cover for the top and the made a front and rear brush guard to help the robot get over larger objects. so far the robot is entirely built all that is left now is programing, for both the arduino and the processing application on the computer. I have attached the custom circut board that i made. it was designed using fritzing. goto http://fritzing.org/ for more info on it. I tried to use the TB6612FNG motor driver found at http://www.sparkfun.com/products/945 , but it blew up in my face. so now i am using the Serial controlled motor driver found at  http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9571. this driver seams easier to use becaues i only need TX and RX pins to communicate with it. unlike the 6 pins needed to comunicate with the other driver. i am now switching from a arduino UNO to a arduino mini Pro. which is like a quarter of the size of the UNO. this will make it easier to wire up the inside of the robot because of the less room taken up by the micro-controller. Update, the 11.1 volt battery blew my motors so now I have switched to a new 7.4 volt lipo battery . This is bettery because it has a lower voltage and base more amps 450mAh now to 1000mAh. That should double the run time of the robot from 1.5 hours to about 3.25 hours. i have since switched for the serisl controller to some new drivers that I stole form some old servos. all I did was take the controller board and the pots out of the servo and then hooked up the driver to the motors on my robot. they work perfect now and they are controlled with servo signals. which makes it easier to use with my arduino. since I have switched to the new drivers i have gotten the robot to move and will post a video of it soon moving arounbd all by its self.

these are some pictures of the build 

these were the 2 original chassis we now have a 3rd that we are currently usingyou can see the size difference in the three chassis

you can see the size difference in the three chassis

this is just a size comparison

the voltage regulator for the camera.

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Very nice robot ! I hope you will post more info about it (pics, videos or schematics), I would like to see it in action :)

I am currently working on a similar project (when Xbee comm will be finished, I'll start the mechanical part), so this is very interresting to me ! I was wondering about power source... is the use of lipos really worth it for this kind of vehicule ? I guess you use an ESC ?

Oh, another question : are you satisfied with your camera ? I bought two (cheap) cams on ebay quite similar to yours (http://hosting.westernbid.info/images/uploads/ypadalko/img_1811.jpg). Quality is not great. Sufficient for distant control (by human), but I don't think advanced image processing will be possible.

Thank you and bravo ! :)


this is the camera that i bought http://www.dynaspy.com/mini-wireless-spy-camera-24ghz-color-spycam-p-28.html

this is the motor driver that i got. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9457 it drive all of my motors.

i am very satisfied with my camera. it has a range of about 600 feet and i have a different model with audio.

this is my battery http://www.robotcombat.com/products/0-EFLB4503SJ30.html

 thanks for all of the nice comments and i will post my code later so anyone who wants to build it, can.

Thx for all these details :) May I ask how do you control the motor driver ? (I mean, what king of protocol/signal is necessary ?)

Do you use any king of regulation between the battery and the Arduino ? (I am not familiar with Arduino, maybe 11.1V is fine ;)

Very nice looking build. With the relatively low cost, a rescue squad could probably afford a whole set of these. Longer battery life might be a plus. Does the camera include audio? Listening for trapped survivors could be a very useful feature! Conversely, a speaker and radio receiver would be very good, so you can let someone know that rescue is on the way, or call out for people to respond if they hear the RES-Q-ME bot calling for them.

I wish you good luck on you senior project.

Very good looking! I love the iPod implementation. Looking forward for the finished version! ;)

yes sending 11.1 volt to the arduino is fine it can take up to 12 volts saftley. here is where i found out how to use the motor controller.http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1263858213 and here is the data sheet for it.http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/Robotics/TB6612FNG.pdf. the motor controller needs 2 PWM pins thoose are pins 3,5,6,9,10,11 on the arduino it also needs 4 digital pins which are 1-13, (dont use the analog input pins they wont work.)  to tell the motor what to do( go cw, go ccw, brake, slow brake). so all togeather 6 pins to controll the driver. 

Cool ! Thx for the links :)

I have now gotten the scanner/ radar screen to work. i have adapted the code found below to fit my needs. it works really well and i will post a video in the upcoming week. 


now I just need to get the robot to move. 

You machined the whole thing out of a solid block of aluminium?!?!??!?! 

I envy you so much right now.... :)

Yeah. It took about 7.5 hours on our three axis CNC machine. But it was worth it because I looks really nice. We also polished the bottom and the sides so it could help not get stuck on rocks and other objects that we will be crawling over.