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Make a Web Connected Robot (for about $500) (using an Arduino and Netbook)




This Instructable will show you how to build your own Web Connected Robot (using an Arduino micro-controller and Asus eee pc).

Why would you want a Web Connected Robot? To play with of course. Drive your robot from across the room or across the country, using nothing more than Skype and a web browser (nothing to install on the controlling computer). After that? Dig into the software & adapt it however you like, add a GPS so you can watch where you’re driving on a map, add temperature sensors to map temperature gradients in your house, or sonar sensors to add controls on what you’re web drivers can and cannot run into.

Web Connected Robot

Features:

    • Inexpensive – (~$500 if you purchase all parts new and considerably cheaper if you dig around in your parts bin)
    • Once up and running controlling the robot requires only a web browser – (and Skype if you want to see where you’re driving)
    • Open Source and Easily Adaptable – (uses an Arduino micro-controller, Processing for the web server & all software can be run on Linux (all the code is also heavily commented to make jumping in and changing things easy))
    • Modular Design (not a completely integrated system, if you want to use a different video conferencing service no worries, or if you have a Basic stamp rather than an Arduino just right a small piece of code and slot it in)

Here’s a quick video of my Web Connected Robot being driven out of the kitchen.

Step 1Parts & Tools

Only a few parts are required:Robot: Arduino Controlled Servo Robot – (SERB)
($175 @ oomlout.com ) or (make your own)

  • An open source robot which uses an Arduino micro-controller as it’s brain.

(any dual servo robot platform with an arduino can be used (option 1) (please message me if you discover any other options)

Computer: Asus eee PC 4G
($280) (@Best Buy)

  • A small inexpensive laptop that is perfect for this purpose.

(any laptop (or desktop if you want to run with a chord) capable of running Processing sketches can be used)

Laptop Desk: Laser Cut Acrylic
($25 (@ oomlout) ) or (build your own step 3)

    • A few additional acrylic pieces which bolt onto a (SERB) to give it a desk for the laptop to sit on.

Nuts and Bols: (available at home depot)

  • 3mm x 10mm bolt (x4)
  • 3mm x 15mm bolt (x4)
  • 3mm nut (x8)

Step 2Cutting Pieces & Assembly

There are three options for getting pieces for your laptop desk.

Cutting

Option 1: (Purchasing from oomlout.com)

    • laser cut desk pieces and the neccesary hardware are available from oomlout for $25 (here)

Option 2: (Cutting on your own laser cutter or Ponoko.com)

    • Download the file below (03-WEBB-Acrylic Parts.cdr or 03-WEBB-Acrylic Parts (Ponoko P2).eps)
    • Cut them from 3mm (1/8″) Acrylic

Option 3: (Scroll Saw)

  • Download the scroll saw pattern from below (03-WEBB-ScrollSaw Pattern (A4).pdf (for A4 size paper) or 03-WEBB-ScrollSaw Pattern (letter).pdf (for letter sized paper))
  • Double check that it hasn’t been scaled when printing (by measuring the printed rulers)
  • Glue to a piece of 3mm (1/8″) acrylic and cut the pieces out.

Step 3Software – (Arduino)

 

Software - (Arduino)

 

For those new to Arduino check out the great getting started guide at Arduino.cc

First off the software running on the Arduino. It is a very simple program, what the Arduino does is monitor its serial port for data.

What it is looking for is a conversation 5 bytes long.

    • Byte 1-3 (Check bytes “AAA”)
    • Byte 4 Command (Tells the arduino what to do) (Supported commands ‘F’ – Forward, ‘B’ – Backward, ‘L’ – Left, ‘R’ – Right, ‘S’ – Speed, ‘X’ – SetSpeedLeft, ‘Y’ – SetSpeedRight, ‘C’ – Stop)
    • Byte 5 Parameter – For the move commands this is interpretted as a time interval (Parameter * 100 ms), and for the speed commands a percentage from 0-100

The code is commented thoroughly and given this framework adding additional commands should be easy.

To Download:

    • Download the attached zip file. (05-WEBB-Arduino Code.zip)
    • Unzip to your Arduino Sketch directory. (default: My Documents\Arduino\)
    • Open your arduino development enviroment and upload to your Arduino.

To Copy and Paste

    • Copy the code from below.
    • Paste into the Arduino development environment.
    • Upload to your Arduino.

Appendix: The Arduino Program

/* * Arduino Controlled Web Connected Robot (WEBB) - Serial Host * For more details visit: http://www.oomlout.com/serb  *
For more detail: Make a Web Connected Robot (for about $500) (using an Arduino and Netbook)

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