Lil’Bot is programmed just like an Arduino Uno, and takes standard Arduino shields. About half of the Arduino memory and three quarters of the processing power are available after the balancing code and all the rest have taken their share. The robot takes 7 (or possibly 8, not finalized) AA alkaline batteries. Its power-usage profile is also a very good fit for NiMH rechargeable batteries. For exploring alternative energy sources, it can also be powered by Open Fuel Cell’s new Arduino shield.
- Arduino Uno compatible, programmable through the USB
- Can be programmed using Linux, OS X, and Windows computers.
- Front, right and left obstacle detection using IR LEDs
- Edge detection using an IR LED
- A buzzer plays musical tones and astromech droid sounds.
- Wheel encoders for precise odometry-based control
- Open-source hardware and software
Most of the risk is how well the balancing can be controlled. This project is predicated on using inexpensive toy motors. Stepper motors would drive the cost through the roof. How well the motors can be controlled for balancing is being discovered continuously. As you can see in the video, the robot can move around, spin, stand upright, and balance while wiggling back and forth somewhat. While this is an extremely encouraging sign, it is not yet time to declare victory. This is one difficult problem, which has kept many an engineer up late at night. I get help from John Sokol (http://videotechnology.blogspot.com), a fellow engineer experienced with balancing robots. Updates will be posted as progress is made.
Posted by Michael Kaudze on 05/20 at 09:44 AM