I did something a little unusual this weekend. A few friends and I decided to have a Arduino robot hacking event. The goal of the event was to use all the same hardware and sensors then put together a robot capable of performing basic line tracking. Since we all started with the same hardware we could put together robots of equivalent capability, and the challenge would be to build and program a robot that would outperform the others.
I took some pictures of the event and figured I would share what happened.
I started with a grab bag of wires and IR sensors with the Arduino Uno board. My first task was to put together the dual motor gearbox for the treaded drive system. Pictured is the assortment of parts/sensors/wires in bags, the gearbox, and the Arduino Uno.
My two friends were already hard at work piecing together their robots.
This is a post-build picture of the gearbox that is driven by dual 6V brushless motors that will power the treaded robot.
After mounting the gearbox and assembling the platform with the treads the structure of the robot is completed. At this point it all comes down to assembling the Arduino Motorshield, wiring the motors, soldering the IR sensors, running the connectors, and programming the robot.
The platform with the flip-up electronics base.
In order to power both the 6V brushless motors I first had to quickly solder together the Arduino Motorshield.
After soldering together the Arduino Motorshield I simply attached it to the Arduino Uno board.
Next came soldering the positive/negative terminals on both the 6V brushless motors, and inserting the motors into the gearbox while running the wires out to connect to the assembled Motorshield.
After getting both the platform and Arduino board configured next came soldering the connectors to the four IR sensors that would be responsible for sensing the line.
Once the IR sensors had the connectors soldered, wires connected, and were attached to the underside of the treaded robot platform.
The finished Arduino powered treaded robot!
At the end of the evening there were three equal, but very different Arduino powered treaded robots. The robot to the very right was the first prototype of the robot configuration, and has been much experimented upon with the addition of both bump sensors, speaker, and a multitude of other sensors.
The first robot to successfully complete the course and on the very first try!
Just watch it go!
It was simply awesome watching something built in a period of a few hours going from miscellaneous plastic parts to a robot functioning on its own performing actions that even we didn’t know what would happen. For little under $200, a few burned fingers, and a ton of cheering we had an amazing moment where it felt as if anything was possible. We’re already formulating the next challenge that will be built upon the framework we’ve developed for this first challenge. What an exciting night.