Let's Make Robots!


Hi all!


I'm totally new at this, but I want to learn it!
I have an idea for a RoomBot.
It will be a bot that checks the room for it conditions. (Temperature, co2,...)

More concrete:

  • It moves on it own at the outside of the room (always turn right if possible)
  • It checks the conditions at different places
  • It alarms when a condition has reached a critical value (on one place)
  • It alarms when the averange off all the measurements of one condition have reached a critical point (at the end of the check up)
  • At the end of the check up, it waits an hour on his start place and then do another round. (Still checking the conditions at this place)


I think it will be quite chanllenging as it is my first robot to build.

I will do the progress from top to bottem.
So the first challenge is to make a robot move and always go right if possible.

I hope you guys will help me through the process.

It moves on it own at the outside of the room (always turn right if possible)

So my first question is, what parts should I buy?

I was thinking I need two ultrasounds sensors. One on the right and one in front. (If there is space on the right, turn 90°. If there is space in front and none at the right, go straight. No place in front and right, go left)

One or two servo's?
Three wheels i think.
And some material to build the robot with.

Witch microcontroller should I take (with knowledge that later there have to be more sensors on it)?

Update 1: The first sketchs

Two CD's on top of each other with some room beteen them. Two wheels on the centerlinde and a pingpongball at the back/front.
Some hole's in the top CD for LED's showing the status of the conditions (Good temperature or not). Sensors need to be add.

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I have seen a pair of ultrasonic sensors mounted at an angle on the horn of a servo to sweep a wide range faster.

The number of wheels should probably be determined by the environment you are going to attempt to navigate. If it will be rough, you may want to consider some kind of 4 wheeled platform. If, however, you are going to be in a relatively uncluttered area, 2 wheels and a tail dragger would be fine. (Tail dragger would mean a captured marble, a rounded drawer handle, a ping-pong ball, half or whole, etc.)

What material you build with will be somewhat controlled by how large this robot will be.

And, finally, which microcontroller. That is pretty much up to you. It really boils down to what you can get ahold of and what you can learn to program. PICs (and PICAXEs), AVRs (and arduinos), Propellers, MSP430s will all have at least one person that can help you out here. I believe I probably listed those in pretty much top to bottom order. Arduino, PICAXE, Propellers, MSP430s will all be fairly easy to flash, once you get the IDE software working on your computer, and, recognizing the USB component (not hard, just not always error free for everyone).

1 or 2 ultrasonics, 1 servo for the ultrasonic(s), 2 to 4 wheels depending on environment, microcontroller is whatever you can get ahold of, that you can get support for, and, that you can learn to program (I suppose I would suggest Arduino/PICAXE ahead of Propeller and MSP430).


Thank you for your comment!

It will be used in a room that is not very rough, so a 3wheelers is a good idea!
(So 2 wheels and a tail dragger.)

I like the robot to be as small as posible, but scince this is my first robot. I think it should be something like 20 cm on 20cm. So I can still see what belongs where and what is going on exactely.


I learned OO programming, so i read an arduinos would be better than for me? (Even it is maybe a little more complicated, I will learn OO even more at school)


Thanks for your advice!
It can take some time before I actually start, but I will keep thinks uptodate here!

A round bot will get stuck less, especially if you place the differentially driven wheels on the center line. That being said, CD/DVD are popular building material. Double sided tape and hot glue can be your friends. :)

Given your programming knowledge, I would say the arduino path would be good. You may want to consider what you can do with a bare chip, a breadboard, and some discrete components. http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Standalone

I would suggest you consider trying to get the 32u4 and adding a bootloader to it. You might have to do some more reading to get an arduino-like breadboard kit built with it though. To be honest, my arduino knowledge is just what I read. :)

Thanks once again!

This is helpfull!
I knew I have to read mutch, but without your help I could not have started.

Now I will think about the concept, make some skecthes and do material selection (probally CD with wooden sticks).


I know the whole picture is way to mutch in the beginning.
That is why is will try first to just build a robot that can move.

I saw some robots here, and plenty can avoid obstacles, so I thought it would not be that hard to upgrade sutch a robot to keep moving next to the wall.


My experiences with electronics are with my school (I studie engineering in Belgium), In a team we had to build a squashball machine. I was responisble for the electronics. The machine had to automaticly shoot at two hights (so the electronics had to change the angle each time a ball went off).
That is all at this moment, but I will chose computer science as my lead course and electronics as my minor course. So I will learn mutch in school too. (Already had a course about electric circuits (Ohm-law, opamps, DC, AC,....))

At school we used MPLab (with a microcontroller disgend for students (accelorator on it, leds showing if the pin is active, resetbutton,...)


Once again, I know that this robot will not be build in 1,2,3. But you have to get a goal I think, so that is my goal.
First thing I need to do is build a robot that can move and avoid objects.
Then I need to program it, that it can follow the wall.

Ow yes, this RoomBot have to be used on my studio, there is only one room. So navigating in a house and define a room is nothing i should worry about.