Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Arduino 2: Locomoting Bots

For this assignment, we were tasked with creating a robot using Arduino with the capability of moving in a specific direction.  We were allowed to make anything, so long as it moves. I decided to model my robot after a dog, since I like dogs, and planned to have its legs move individually in a specific order.  I would try to place most of the weight toward the front in order to move the robot forward with each step. I had decided that I would make it using popsicle sticks, rubber bands, hot glue, and pipe cleaners.

The initial construction was not difficult. I tested to the range of motion of the servos, and then placed them on popsicle sticks in the way necessary for my preferred range of motion.  I used hot glue to stick the popsicle sticks together, forming the body. While attaching the rubber bands to the bot to keep the servos in place, I decided that my robot was now based off of Clifford the big red dog.

As mentioned previously, I wanted to have each leg move individually using for loops, and then have them move together to complete the step. After finishing the program, this was the result:

As shown in the video, the robot simply fell over and did not move.  In an attempt to remedy this, I shifted the weight even more forward, and attached the pipe cleaners, hoping the slight change in weight would help propel it forward.

Unfortunately, that resulted in the same problem.  For my final fix, I adjusted the program in a way that caused the robot to take smaller steps.  The result is below (The video is sped up to meet the file size limit):

As shown in the video, that robot managed to move forward without falling.

Although there were various points in which I was extremely frustrated, overall, I enjoyed the assignment.  It was challenging, but fun to figure out a way to move the servos so that the robot could move.  There are definitely areas that need improvement though.  I am certain that I can make the movement smoother, and build it in a way that makes it harder for the robot to fall over.  I was quite surprised by how much the size of the steps mattered in stabilizing the robot.  This project has gotten me interested in trying even more new things with the Arduino kit that I bought.  I’m glad that we had this assignment.

Tags: ,