Let's Make Robots!

CH4RL13, my robot pet

Right now it rolls, and mostly doesn't hit things.

This is my first robot project. I have experience with programming but all of the electronics and engineering stuff is new to me. My prototype gets around pretty well when the sensors work properly, but I'm getting some voltage spikes that make it tricky. Eventually this robot will have a few more lights, a PIR sensor, a servo, a small speaker, and a simple control panel for setting operating modes. Plus a sleek acrylic chassis.

I decided to go with an Arduino Nano instead of my Uno. In addition to the 2 power wires connected at the top-right, there will be 26 wires connected to this circuit: 4 for the motors, 3 for the top-mounted motion sensor, 7 for the control panel (a button, a knob, and a multi-color LED), 9 for the front proximity sensors, and 3 for a small servo motor. It will be a jumble of wires, for sure, but I tried to design it so that all the wires going to/from a particular area of the robot all connect in the same part of the board. The large LED in the middle will bathe the interior of my robot in cool blue. The round component at the right of the image is the tone generator.

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Speedy. Very nice first project! 

Obstacle avoidance and navigation can be tricky at that speed, and you seem to pull it off pretty well.

Speed was definitely a goal with this project. It's easier to imbue a robot with personality when it's quick. Slow robots are boring (IMHO). The crazy thing is the video shows the robot running at half speed. When I tried going full  speed on that dusty shop floor it spun out like a muscle car on a frozen lake. High-class problem, I guess.

The avoidance with the speed is impressive. Some of the LMRs use gear motors with a ratio from 120:1 to 224:1. This makes the robot slower and your heartbeat is low while the robot moves around.

What I found interesting to read was this article about the 3-point-turn and the levels Clear, Attention and Danger. If you haven't read this have a look into it. The behavior would i.e. be different than yours in the video at 0:44. The robot would have maybe seen the obstacles as a trap and make a 3-point-turn out instead of moving through.

Welcome to LMR.


That's really interesting... My current program has three possible modes -- Roaming, Navigating, and Stuck -- that correspond to the three levels mentioned in that article. The Stuck mode never gets triggered in the video, but basically the robot just stops and rotates until it sees a clear path (luckily 2WD affords a 1-point turn instead of 3).

Nice job :)

how much does your current set up cost?