I've been wanting to build a simple "Mouse Bot" but one without ANYTHING sticking outside the main body for awhile. Something that LOOKED just like a regular mouse but could scurry around.
Update 01/12/2013 - Better motor mount and checked as "Complete"
When I recently picked up one (Ok, I picked up MORE more than one) of those little six legged RC Robot Bugs for $8 at Radio Shack that had a dead motor out of the box I started thinking more about it.
I Just needed some type of gear head motor or something to drive it with. Then I ran across some GM-15 motors for another $8 each and ordered up a few to play with. The GM-15's are tiny and quite a challenge to work with but they are pretty cool having a 25:1 I think gear ratio in such a tiny package.
Next I needed some wheels - some very small wheels. Where could I get some tiny wheels without having to buy some? Duh, right in front of me was a "mouse wheel" - hey, it's a wheel right? So after checking out a few dead mice... and killing a few more, I found a wheel that seemed solid enough to work. After trying to get a hole in the middle I worked out a way to attach the wheels to the little o-ring based pullies these motors have. Not the best mounting and it may fall apart some day but it drives. It's a combo of super glue to lock it in and hot glue from the outside to fill in the gaps. Time will tell.
Next I had to extend the wires from the control board for the switch, charger and motor but it wasn't too difficult. I liked the glowing LED eyes of the bug bot so I made sure they can be seen through the mouse wheel opening as well as the IR receiver.
For this particular mouse, there was a nice piece of plastic on the back that lit up when used so I removed it which gave me room to extend the wires for the on/off switch and the charging port.
A little de-stressing for the wires to the motors to make sure I didn't pull the tiny tiny wires out of them by accident and the thing was ready to test.
The video shows the results. It is controlled by the small remote that came with the RC Bug and can move forward, backwards, turn left or right and of course stop.
One thing I do not like about these remotes is that the once you click a button that mode sticks until you change it so you're having to jump from forward, backwards, stop, etc all the time. I would prefer that you just press and hold but not much I can do about that.
Another cool thing is that you can actually control the mouse from an iOS device as well with the adapter than came with another little bot from the same company. APPLE Inc would be happy - I can control my Microsoft Mouse from an Apple iPhone. :-)
What I think I'll end up doing with this is keeping it at my office or something, when a user walks in tell them to take that mouse and then move it before they can pick it up and see their reaction.
Like my wife said, it actually kind of looks like a futuristic car or something. Fun little project.
Just reinforced the motor mounting solution. Hot Glue released when driving too long and the motor heated up. Now the little aluminum strap holds firm. Also remounted one wheel with a little bit of JB weld and all is well.
Updated pic here - This is the first project I would consider "Complete" and checked as such...