A "Proper" Robot


It seems to be that this time each year I introduce a new project, and 2019 not going to be any exception.

My projects have become increasingly complex in recent years, and whilst I am still spending a lot of time on autonomous vehicles, according to feedback I have received, it is time to launch something that most enthusiasts could build if they wish.

So, what does the list of requirements look like this time?  I am still drawing this one up, so as usual, you can follow the build and watch it evolve.  For now, here is what I have decided:

  • The finished cost needs to be less that $A300.  Before you groan and say that it's way too expensive, Auric cost about eight times that amount, and is still not done.  I'm going to use off-the-shelf parts, especially from those low-cost marketplaces.  You can use upscale parts if you want, but you don't need to.
  • Use a Raspberry Pi as the controller, and integrate all motion control.  The code for the autonomous vehicles was in C++, which is not as popular these days as languages such as Python.  I/O capacity is not a problem with the Model 2 and later boards either.
  • Allow the use of a middleware platform such as ROS.  I have done it all myself in the past, but that's a lot more work.  Using something like ROS allows builders more flexibility, and opens up applications such as Amazon's RoboMaker
  • Be compact, and tough.  I envisage this particular platform being used for teaching, so it needs to be small enough to be portable, but able to withstand a rough and tumble life.
  • Look like a robot.  OK, so I grew up in the 60's and 70's when movie and TV robots had a certain style about them.  I'm chasing a scaled-down version of those motorised rubbish bins.
To make it easier for others to build, I am also sharing the mechanical design via my OnShape account.  You can access the drawings with a free account at:

https://cad.onshape.com/documents/0d4639caaf7cce8276354c79/w/aa2a04f4f06724823d60edf5/e/9a502c6c5dd6a1fde5ccc783

The base plate, render in OnShape CAD


The only question for now, is what to call it.  A proper robot needs a proper robot name.  Leave your suggestions as a comment.

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