Let's Make Robots!


joystick control, autonomous mode, video transmitting

The idea behind this project was to incorporate a complete x86 computer into a mobile robot. With netbooks becoming more powerful every year, they maintain low prices. Salvaging the parts from a $60 broken netbook, I slapped the guts onto a tank tread Arduino controlled robot. Connecting the Arduino to the netbook USB supplies it power but also gives a communication channel. The netbook WiFi allows a world of possibilities such as communication, VNC remote admin, and even video streaming. I wrote client/server scripts in Python to provide joystick control from a client machine to the AtomBot in which it relayed the data to the Arduinos. One Arduino controls the sensors while the second is equipped with a MotorShield and governs the tank treads. For manual joystick control the sensor Arduino is not used. When autonomous control is selected, the MotorShield Arduino and sensor Arduino communicate with each other via serial. To assist with manual control I use an old Logitech webcam streamed via VLC media player over the LAN using UDP. It's slow, not sure if it's the 802.11G or 5 year old camera, but either way it gets AtomBot around better than your own view from the joystick machine. Future additions include pan/tilt for the webcam selected by a button on the joystick. Yaw motion controlling the servo mounted IR rangefinder would be nice too. If I knew anything about video I'd like to display sensor values in the video stream, but that's way above my head, lol. The project site has some more info and code here: http://sites.google.com/site/airwavershr/Home/atombot

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Wow. That's a lot of stuff on that robot. Pretty cool results!

Nice job on the possible transition from autonomous to manual control. I really appreciate you giving me a glimpse at the code. This is essentially what I hope to build in the near future.

Although the bot looks ugly I'd like to thank you for sharing your experience and congratulate you on your success!

Thanks for the comments!  AtomBot 2 is underway at the moment so keep an eye out.