Tag Archives: Arduino Robot

This robot will save you from shoveling this winter

When was the last time you had to shovel snow from your driveway? What if you never had to again? 

It’s January, which for many of you means winter is well underway. Whether you simply hate the freezing cold or always seem to throw your back out while shoveling, what if there was a machine that could take care the tedious task for you without ever having to step foot outside? This is exactly what Vittorio Loschiavo decided to do by devising his own open source, remote-controlled Snow Plow Robot.

This piece of equipment is based on an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and can be wirelessly maneuvered using a PlayStation 2 controller. The bot consists of an ordinary snowplow frame, which supports a motorized blade along with electric motors, wheels and caterpillar tracks.

If you absolutely hate shoveling, head over to Open Electronics’ exhaustive project page where you’ll find everything you need to get started.

A DIY quadruped that waves and walks

Maker builds a 3D-printed, Arduino-based social quadruped that can wander freely or be controlled via Bluetooth.

The Makecourse at the University of South Florida teaches the basic skills for engineering design projects, and, unlike most classes of this type, is open to all USF students with no prerequisites. For his part in it, Chomba Waihenya decided to build a quadruped robot. The bot can be controlled via a Bluetooth connection (including a phone app that he wrote), or it can be set free to wander about, avoiding obstacles using an ultrasonic range finder.


The first design for the quadruped involved three servos, or three degrees of freedom (DOF), per leg, but after initial testing he decided to go with a simpler two servo/DOF design. The robot takes advantage of a sliding gait to move, as shown in the videos below. The outer servo makes the leg either stretch out or contract, affecting the amount that it grips the smooth floor. Depending on how these two servos are positioned and moved, this allows the ‘bot to move forward, backward, left, or right. Additionally, it can lie down on command, as well as do a friendly wave with either of its front appendages, making it a “social” quadruped.


Control is accomplished via an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) with a Bluetooth module, with an Arduino V5 sensor shield for simplified wiring. As eight servos plug into the shield in this application, the term “sensor shield” probably doesn’t give its abilities enough credit!

Thimble delivers monthly DIY electronic kits to your door

Birchbox is to beauty as Thimble is to DIY electronics. Build a new device every month! 

The Maker Movement has taken off and diversified the past few years, igniting creativity and innovation in a community of people. For those new to it and interested in getting involved, it can be a bit daunting at first. There’s so much you can build, hack and tinker with, so where do you even start? Makers David Brenner and Oscar Pedroso saw this need, and created a solution to help guide and engage future makers without them feeling intimidated.


After meeting on Hacker News in December 2014, David and Oscar wanted to share their passion for the DIY crowd by finding a way to engage kids and adults in electronics. A year later, Thimble was conceived.

Thimble is a DIY kit accompanied by a learning app, which allows you to build a new electronic device each month. The team has developed a series of monthly kits that teaches users the fundamentals of electronics and how hardware and software come together, so they can innovate and invent from the comfort of their own home.


The first kit is a Wi-Fi-enabled robot, controlled by phone, tablet or laptop. The robot arrives with all the components needed to build the project and step-by-step tutorials on the learning app to guide you through the construction process. Additionally, the app provides a community of other Makers to share knowledge and best practices. By the time you finish making your Wi-Fi bot, you will have learned how to create an Android/iOS app that can move things, understand how electricity, motors and microcontrollers work, and have enough knowledge to try out your own ideas to improve the robot. You can achieve this regardless of your age or background knowledge.

At the heart of the robot is an Arduino. You can program its firmware to talk to the Wi-Fi module that comes with the kit. With it, the robot can receive commands over your wireless network and control the motors. Additional parts included in the kit are a printed circuit board, breadboard, wheels, battery holder, cable, terminal blocks, jumpers and more.


Looking ahead, other projects you could receive range from drones, to alarm clocks, to LED cubes, to light control devices for your home. If monthly shipments are too frequent, or you just want to try the first kit out, Thimble can deliver kits whenever you’d like them instead.

Ready to jumpstart your future as a Maker? Head over to the Thimble Kickstarter page, where David, Oscar and the team are seeking $25,000. You can expect to start building and tinkering when the first batch of units goes out for delivery on April 2016.

This 3D-printed robot can navigate inside confined spaces

OctaWorm is a 3D-printed, Arduino-based robot that may be the future of search-and-rescue missions. 

When disaster strikes, one of the biggest problems challenges that rescue teams encounter is locating and reaching survivors amid the rubble. Unfortunately, there are times even with today’s advanced technologies where humans are unable to slip into a tight space and extract an individual. But what if there was a robotic device that could? That is the idea behind a recent project by Juan Cristóbal Zagal.


Developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Chile and University of Akron, OctaWorm is a 3D-printed octahedral robot that is capable of morphing its body to squeeze through holes, gaps and debris. The latest version, now the third prototype, is comprised mostly of 3D-printed parts and some aluminum rods for enhanced durability. It employs pneumatic-driven servo motors for movement and is operated via a wired controller, though the team hopes to make this wireless in the near future.

Aside from that, the robot is equipped with an Arduino board, an Arduino-compatible shield to controls the relays and three pneumatic solenoid valves. Since the OctaWorm is pneumatically driven, Zagal used high-quality rapid pneumatic connectors and plastic tubing to attach it to the controller.

The robot also features 3D-printed ball joints, which enable it to grip onto and traverse through any type of terrain. These rubbery balls are tasked with handling the deformation motion, and allow it to assume a variety of shapes and configurations as it slips into a crack or crevice.


“The current version of the robot is capable of traveling inside a pipe. It is also capable of dealing with changes on the internal diameter of the pipe. The functional symmetry of the robot allows it to travel along T, L and Y joints in pipelines. Traditional in-pipe robots have many problems for dealing with these types of junctions. In contrast the deformable octahedral robotcan simply squeeze into junctions,” Zagal tells 3DPrint.com. 

The goal of the project was to develop a new way to use robotic motion to access and navigate confined spaces typically found in disaster situations, as well as pipes and air ducts. In the future, Zagal envisions an even tinier version that could be used for medical applications, such as going through blood vessels.

Until then, you can watch the OctaWorm in action below!

[h/t 3DPrint.com]

This adorable robot is hitchhiking its way across the U.S.

Thumbs up! hitchBOT is making its way from Massachusetts to California this summer.

After enjoying its previous adventures through both Canada and Europe relying solely on the kindness and curiosity of strangers to help get from place to place, the friendly hitchhiking robot known as hitchBOT is back. This time it will be making its way across the United States — starting in Salem, Massachusetts and finishing at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.


Though hitchBOT has no set route or idea as to how long it will take to reach California, its creators David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller hope that Americans will take it to see some of its most memorable landmarks and attractions. Among the places on the humanoid’s bucket list are Times Square in New York, Disney World in Florida, Millennium Park in Illinois, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The child-sized bot features a bucket for a torso, blue swimming pool noodles for its limbs, yellow rubber gloves for its hitchhiking hands (with one thumb permanently pointed upwards, of course), an LED face housed inside an acrylic cake saver with a “San Francisco or bust” sign wrapped around its head, along with speech recognition software and even its own 3G/Wi-Fi network that it uses to offer tidbits of local information it picks up along the way. This allows it to engage in limited conversation, send tweets and engage in a game or two of trivia. In fact, the Atmel based device is programmed to explain itself to those who decide to pick it up, and can ask to be plugged in to a car’s cigarette lighter to keep its battery charged.


hitchBOT is embedded with a simple tablet, an Arduino board and GPS tasked with tracking its location. Aside from that, a camera randomly snaps photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels, which it wirelessly sends to its creators and its social media accounts. Together, all the parts cost about $1,000; however, the experience of picking up this friendly robot… priceless.

With more than 38,000 people following the robot on Twitter and hundreds of others already having posted their own selfies with it, hitchBOT is quite popular. Throughout its journey, researchers are collecting data from social media to study how people interact with a robot that require their help, the opposite of more conventional robots that are designed to assist them.


If you’re lucky enough to come across the friendly fellow this summer, don’t hesitate in picking it up and asking a few questions. Otherwise, for the rest of us, head over to its official page to stay updated with its cross-country trip.

This Arduino-powered robot will open your beers for you

Having trouble opening your bottle? Let this robotic device do it for you.

We’ve all been there: The big game is about to start, you head over to the fridge to grab a cold brewski, only to find out it isn’t a twist-off cap and there’s no bottle opener in sight. Luckily, thanks to a group of Makers, you won’t even need to get up from the couch let alone have to open your own beer.


Led by Maker Sasha Schrandt, the team successfully modded a non-functioning robot to successfully open a beer bottle using some DC motors, a relay shelf, some resistors and an Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega328), among several other electronic components.

After stumbling across the old robotic device, the Makers decided that it would be a good idea to bring this piece of technology back to life and to give it a new purpose, one in which would come in handy for a party, a big game, or just any lazy Sunday. That purpose? To become an automated beer opener.

“The task of controlling a robot to have it interact with specifically shaped objects and operate heavy loads is challenging and required significant prototyping and modelling. After many tests and many failures, we were very excited to watch our robot successfully maneuver through arm movements to open a beer bottle,” Schandt writes.


The robot is controlled by the ATmega328, which is attached to a relay shield. Connected to those are three recycled DC motors, switches, wires, and a couple resistors. Additionally, the Makers employed a couple zip ties, nuts, bolts, washers and short screws, along with a MDF board to mount everything on, and eight empty soup cans plus various scrap pieces of metal and rods.

Schandt reveals that there were four primary tasks to prepare the hardware for the robot. These included weight reduction of the robot arm to allow maximum torque / force from the arm; bottle holders for the beers (which were created using the empty soup cans); mount the bottle opener and limit switches to the robot; and, mount the robot parts to a sheet of MDF to maintain alignment.


To reduce the weight of the arm, the team simply took off the last two motors of the robot arm to make the carriage head lighter. This left them with an arm that was much easier to control and to get the necessary torque to open the bottle caps. From there, all that was left was a bit of coding and connecting the electronics. After some programming magic and electrical know-how, the robotic contraption was ready.

So, did it work? The robot was able to open seven out of the eight bottles successfully. Not too shabby, if you ask us! Interested in crafting your own bottle bot? Head over to the project’s official page here for a step-by-step breakdown of the build.

Build a walking robot with credit cards and an ATmega328

Unlike some POS terminals, this robot takes Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Writing for MAKE: Magazine, Jeremy Cook has revealed another way that your credit card may wander off other than pickpocketing, of course. The brainchild of Maker “Roger’s Home,” Monster Chan is a wallet-sized, AVR based robot that is actually capable of walking away on its own.


The body of the DIY device is comprised of two expired credit cards along with a set of electronic components. An ultrasonic sensor attached to a servo is employed as its head and tasked with navigating the terrain with its paperclip legs.


Between the pair of plastic pieces lie an Arduino-compatible VISduino Uno board (ATmega328) and a sensor shield serving as its brains, a battery box for its power supply, an IR sensor for remote commands and six servos.


A set of middle servos seem to handle the movement and turning of the budget-friendly robot, as it makes its way left and right and propels itself forward with the aid of its other legs.


If somehow your credit cards vanish, not to worry. Cook jokes, “It looks like it would be very hard to use in a reader.” You can see it in action below!