The term robot was first used in the 1921 play R.U.R, the word itself comes from the Czech word “robota” which means servitude.
Now nearly a century later robots are commonplace and perform a wide variety of tasks, from building cars to exploring other planets and vacuuming our homes. Yet despite all of this the age of the robot is really in its infancy, and this means that it’s a great time to start experimenting and developing robots of your own.
The availability of inexpensive components and powerful microcontrollers and microcomputers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi have made it possible for anyone to design and build a robot without requiring a degree in Technology or Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Building robots requires a combination of skills from a number of different disciplines;
- Mechanical skills to construct the mechanisms that power our robots and give them flexibility and dexterity.
- Electronic skills to wire circuitry that control the robot.
- Software development skills to program them
- Interface design skills to allow them to interact with human beings.
Yet despite all of the above you don’t need to be a master of all these different trades. Robot kits and software libraries can take a lot of the challenge out of building and designing a robot, allowing you to focus on creating a device that does exactly what you want it to do.
So let’s design a robot, one that is as unique as we are. Make it wash the car, feed the dog or just follow a line. It’s your robot!
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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 motorsRead More »
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
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.Read More »
The Elegoo Smart Robot Car is an Arduino-based design with an impressive list of features
In the final installment of this series, I show you how to use both Collision Avoidance and Line Tracking with the Smart Robot Car.Read More »
In the second part of the series on building the Elegoo Smart Robot Car I will show you how to use the remote control functions.
The robot car has both IR remote control and Bluetooth remote control capabilities. Today we will learn how to use and code for both of these.Read More »
The Elegoo Smart Robot Car V3 is an Arduino-based robot car with features like Bluetooth remote, IR remote, line following, and collision avoidance.
In the first of a three-part article I will show you how to assemble and test the Robot Car.Read More »
The DF Robot 5 DOF Robot Arm kit is a high-quality robotic arm that you can assemble yourself. With heavy duty servo motors and sturdy aluminum parts this inexpensive arm is perfect for your robotics experiments
Follow along as I assemble the robot arm. I’ll also build a simple robot arm controller based on the Arduino Nano and the PCA9685 16-channel PWM module.Read More »
XOD is a method of programming an Arduino using a graphical IDE instead of writing code. In XOD you use a collection of “nodes” connected by “links” to program your Arduino.
In this second installment on our series on XOD I’ll show you some ways of improving your XOD projects by using multiple patches, custom nodes and XOD libraries.
But the real fun is that in this article we’ll also start working on a practical project - a XOD robot! So let’s get started.Read More »
Learn to use the popular nRF24L01 radio modules with an Arduino, using the RadioHead library.
In this article we will conduct several experiments sending data between two Arduinos with the nRF24L01. We will then take what we have learned and build a wireless joystick controller for our robot car!Read More »
I’m sure you have seen those inexpensive robot car chassis kits, the ones that come with two 6-volt motors. They are great fun and very useful and they even come with a couple of speed encoder disks (those little black circles full of holes). Problem is, no one tells you how to use them!
Let’s resolve that and build a robot car with speed sensors. Along the way we’ll learn how to use Interrupts, a valuable programming technique.Read More »
The MeArm is a small robot arm that was originally designed as a teaching device for schoolchildren. Despite its toy-like appearance it is also an excellent tool for serious robotics experimenters who would like to develop software and control systems for robotic arms without a large hardware expenditure.Read More »
Robots are the ultimate experimenters project. Nothing else lets you unleash your creativity more than designing a robot. And now with the availability of things like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi along with a wide assortment of mechanical parts and the ability to make your own with a 3D printer, robots have become a project that any dedicated experimenter can work on.
There are so many components and design considerations that must be taken into account when building a robot, This can often be overwhelming, especially when you're creating your first automated device. This article should provide a firm foundation for getting started on your first (or next) robotics project.Read More »