Let's Make Robots!

What can a robot do?

I asked a question here about a robot's reaction to input coming from standard sensors. I got a lot of good answers and a lot of very useful information however I am now finding out I asked the wrong question...

I am going to re-ask here and see what I come up with.

What can you have a robot do? What I mean is, when a robot is in say, "drive mode" and cruising around, what parameters could it have that would predict it's behavour? For example, on one of Frits's bots on code included is to look for open spaces, i.e. an open doorway etc. What other inputs could it react to? Or do you even want the robot to drive away from danger --Maybe it should drive to items just to avoid them. I like Mintvelt's little guy with the articulated head but when and how often, during a drive around cycle, should the bot stop and have a good look around? (The look around part is really the base of the question I asked here)

Other ideas, it is pretty easy for a bot to drive to a specific spot (via an IR beacon) but what to do when it gets there? -Pick something up, drop it off? There is so many options here.

In conclusion (and to restate the question) I really want to add some personality to my robots instead of them being in a constant "drive around and avoid loop". What could you have your robot do?

Comment viewing options

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

A guy at work brought one of those keychain thermometers in to work an showed it to me...paid $12 from harbor freight. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93983

I keep thinking of how I could modify the ting to work as a sensor...This had a range of about 2-3 meters. not bad imo

well, you could try and add some "pet-like" personality to your bot. Something like tamagotchi. I did it on my first robot (in a small scale). Example:


  • keep a variable that is the "happiness" of the robot.
  • define some things that make the robot happier, and others that make him sadder.
  • define some "somatic" behaviour, ie some way the robot show that it is sad or happy (involving some simple "motor dance", head nodding, beeping with the buzzer, etc).
  • same things with other variables of choice (angry/friendly, tired/energetic (maybe connected to battery), etc).
what i did with my robots was to increment the happiness when it could run straight, and decrease it when it encounters obstacles. To show angryness it shaked left and right (easy to do by quickly alternatin motors). It was nice becouse the more he was sorrounded by stuff, the angryest it was, untill you completely close it :P
I also added a lot of "randoms" in the code to have less predictable and more natural behaviour.
I think this will make for a different-from-average robots :) Added bonus: no extra hardware involved. (but a lot of software :P)


What I do is try to abstract from the "OK, now I can do it", and get back to "Wow, can I make it do that"? 

To me the inspiration always lies in the fascination. And sometimes fascination can disapear once you master the art.

I cannot play a guitar. I imagine, that if I could, I would just rock like wawbang!!

What would happen if I learned to play the guitar, would be that I spend a lot of time learning it, so all magic disappeared, and I would just play it, but not that enthusiastic.

Point is; get fascination back, see how cool it is that you can actually..


I guess, in general, I am thinking of my robots as "pets" more than servants or "forced labor" as the name inplies...

"Now that we found X, what are we gonna do about it?"

For varying values of X: Love, Skillz, deWalt hardware.

This should be in the ideas forum. And then again, maybe not. After all, there are none in your post. Yet.

The eternal question has been bugging me ever since I started thinking of building an actual robot. Sure you could build a vehicle that drives around. But what problem will you solve with all that engineering? You're not in it for the solving of problems. You're in it for the engineering. Any problem you solve is gonna be an artificial one. I find peace in that thought. And a little decadence.

I came up with ridiculous ideas like "pick up coat from floor, hang it on a coat hanger" or "drive around the house and map the electro smog".  I never dreamed of a robot that would e.g. do my laundry (from picking up the hamper to storing the folded clothes in my closet). But only because the real problems are too hard to crack.

How about a robot that closes all doors in its path. Preserving heat in the house and therefore saving the environment?

Wikipedia Affiliate Button