Tag Archives: DIY Robot

CellRobot is the world’s first smart modular robot

Assemble and control your own robot with the shapes you imagine and the functions you want.

When it comes to the Maker Movement, modularity is king. Think littleBits. Think Microduino. Think Modulo. Think RePhone. But why stop at DIY devices? Sharing many of the same principles, Chinese startup KEYi Technology has introduced a customizable, reconfigurable robot that encourages users to devise their own creation, piece by piece.


As its name would suggest, CellRobot is comprised of various spherical “cells” that can be assembled together to make a wide variety of robots. Once connected, they can be manipulated into different shapes and programmed to perform an assortment of functions. Each building block ball has a 360-degree angle sensor, a servo motor and an MCU, and can attach to any other cell at any angle thanks to its convenient snap joint system.

At the core of every pieced-together project is the “heart,” which supplies power to all of the other modules and wirelessly syncs the robot to its accompanying app. It features a charge port, a tiny speaker, a power indicator, a small screen and standard snap-twist connectors. Additionally, the heart houses a Bluetooth 4.0 module for communicating with your phone or tablet, as well as Wi-Fi and ZigBee for linking to other cells.


CellRobot also offers what the team calls “X-cells,” add-on modules that expand the functionality of the cells with wheels, connectors, spotlights and even a camera. All of the cells and supplemental parts are controlled through a companion iOS and Android app, which comes with two different modes — one that guides you through the building process and another that lets you create any shape or command — as well as a library with preexisting shapes for you to choose from. Despite whichever mode you’re using, the program recognizes the state and shape of your robot and visualizes it in 3D on your mobile device.

The question is: why only have one robot when you can have 100? Head over to CellRobot’s Kickstarter campaign, where KEYi Technology is currently seeking $75,000.

This 3D-printed robot is powered by an ATtiny85

Canbot is an Ollie-like robot that can autonomously drive itself. 

Maxmillian Kern has created an adorable, 3D-printed robot that rolls its way across hard surfaces. The Sphero Ollie-like device, aptly named Canbot, is based on an ATtiny85 MCU and comprised of only four 3D-printed parts for the body and wheels, all connected by screws. The “heavier” components, including the servos and 3.7V battery, are embedded in the lower half to to help it remain balanced.


Not only can it autonomously drive itself around via its ultrasonic sensor, the Maker can also use a modified TV remote for control. Commands are received from the infrared signal of the old clicker. As for power, he originally considered adding some kind of plug to program and charge the robot, but settled for a switch due to space constraints.

“There still is a problem with the weight distribution. I put a piece of lead in the front but that didn’t make it much better,” Kern writes. “It needs some kind of stabilization. But that’s difficult with an ATtiny that only has 5 [technically 6] I/O pins. You would have to sacrifice the ultrasonic sensor with a gyro board. There are lots of possible improvements. The first thing would be nice geared motors instead of servos.”

Interested in building your own? You can find all of Canbot’s files on Thingiverse here.