DB1 - Build a REAL RobotIntroducing DB1, a REAL Robot that I am building. And you can follow along and build one too!

DB1 is a complex project and it will take some time to build. Each week I’ll show you my progress with a new article and video.  This is not your typical “robot car base” robot. This is a robot capable of becoming aware of its environment and “learning” tasks you assign to it.

Along the way we will be dealing with a number of different disciplines:

  • Mechanics – We are building the robot base from scratch. You’ll learn to construct the base, how to select motors and wheels and how to assemble it all.
  • Electronics – There will be a myriad of electronic components in DB1. Sensors, microcomputers and microcontrollers, and a lot more.
  • Programming – A great deal of programming will be involved to make DB1 come to life.
  • Machine Intelligence – You will learn advanced machine and artificial intelligence techniques as we create our robot.
  • Advanced Sensors – From video cameras and microphones to LIDAR, DB1 will employ a number of advanced sensors to explore the world around it.

Despite all of these advanced capabilities, DB1 will employ parts that you can easily get hold of. So you can duplicate my work, or use it to create a robot of your own unique design.

So please join me as I create a REAL robot.  You can read all the articles here and see all the videos on YouTube.


Build a Real Robot Part 1 - Introduction

Introducing DB1, a "real" robot project that you can follow along and build.

In this introduction to the project I will go over the main features and "layers" that DB1 is composed of. You will also get an idea of how the project will evolve.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 2 - Base Design

In the second installment of the "Build a REAL Robot" series I will show you how to assemble the chassis for the DB1 robot

I will also discuss some of the materials that you can use to create robot chassis of your own design

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Build a Real Robot - Part 3 - Selecting Motors

In the third installment of the "Build a REAL Robot" series I will show you how to select DC gearmotors for your robot. I'll also show you the motors that I used in the DB1 design, and how I mounted them to the chassis.

In addition, I'll introduce you to a very useful online tool for selecting robot motors

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Build a Real Robot - Part 4 - Selecting Wheels

In the fourth installment of the Build a REAL Robot series I will discuss wheels. While it may not seem like the most thrilling subject, selecting wheels for your robot is a very important task.

I will discuss some of the specifications you will need to know when selecting robot wheels and I'll also go over the different types of wheels you can use for your robot.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 5 - Base Electronics

In part 5 of the "Build a Real Robot" series I will show you the electronic modules that are mounted on the base unit of DB1.

One of the modules, a Raspberry Pi 3B+, may not be exactly perfect for the job! I will explain why we are using it now, and why it might get replaced with another microcomputer at a later date.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 6 - Power Distribution

In part 6 of the Build a Real Robot series, I will show you how to distribute 12-volt and 5-volt power throughout the chassis of the DB1 robot.

We will look at the schematic for the wiring and then examine some of the components used to hook everything up.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 7 - Motor Test

In part 7 of the Build a REAL Robot series I will finish wiring the robot. After connecting power to the robot via its rear connector I will test the motors and motor drivers.

Then, at long last, it's time for a test drive!

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Build a Real Robot - Part 8 - Motor Controller 1

In part 8 of the Build a Real Robot series I will start designing the motor controller. It's being designed using ATmega328P microcontrollers and will have an I2C interface.

Today I'm getting my development environment setup and I'll go over the criteria for the motor controller.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 9 - Motor Controller 2

In part nine of the Build a Real Robot series we will look at the construction of the motor controller. This is teh device that will provide the PWM and DIR signals for the Cytron motor drivers, and that will also interface with the rotary encoders in the motors.

I will show you the schematic of the controller and also how I hooked it up using perfboard.

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Build a Real Robot - Part 10 - Project Recap & Correction

In part 10 of the Build a REAL Robot series we will look over some of the new wiring I have added to DB1.

We will also discuss a wiring error that was inadvertently included in the last episode, I have the correction for you here.

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Build a Real Robot Parts 11 - 14

Let's get back on track! This article is a summary of the contents of the last four DB1 robot videos.

Today we will look a the current DB1 status, go over some sensor bus wiring and look at all of the great information we are gathering on the new DroneBot Workshop Forums.

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DB1 - Moving Forward

DB1 Sensor Bus Layout

The DB1 project hasn't moved forward much since we last got together, and there are some reasons for that. Today I'll bring you up to speed on what's happening, and how I plan to move forward

Don't worry, DB1 is still very much alive! But in order to move forward, I'm making some changes to the publishing schedule.

I will also give you access to the first piece of "official" DB1 documentation, the I/O Distribution Board.Read More »