Build Your Own Mobile Robot
Aug 12, 2017 // By:Saidurga Karthikeyan // No Comment
Innovative and quality education for all is a major precondition for smart nations. Machines in general, and robots in particular, appeal greatly to children and youth. With the availability of low-cost open source hardware and free open source software, robotics has become central to promotion of creative STEM education at school level, and active learning at college/university level. Children in developed countries also benefit from technological immersion, or exposure to and tinkering with the latest technologies and gadgets. Yet, developing countries in Asia and Africa very much lag in the use of robots at school and even college level. In this paper, an innovative and low-cost system is developed where school children anywhere can go online and race multiple indoor mobile robots over the Internet. Virtual reality and force feedback are used to make the racing more realistic and interactive. Children will be introduced to building their own affordable mobile robots using commercial, off-the-shelf components and materials. Advanced learners, e.g., college students, can modify and improve the hardware and software for Internet-based teleoperation. The project will introduce or improve robotics education among school children, while providing opportunities in service learning for college/university students.
Mobile robots come in all sizes and types – ground, underwater, aerial and legged robots – and constitute an active area of research, development and education. Mobile robots are a simple and inexpensive platform for hands-on multidisciplinary engineering education, as they involve design, mechanical fabrication, sensors, motors/actuators, controllers, and software. Nowadays, many mobile robots are controlled over the Internet, or with mobile phone apps (so called mechatronics). Mobile robots are fun to build and operate, and so are used in schools in many countries to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition was started by the famous American inventor in 1992 in the USA, and has now become a popular international competition for children of high schools, middle schools as well as primary schools.
TLC mobile robots are designed and developed as examples of innovative product design and prototyping. They are built with representative and impactful real-world social and educational applications, e.g., solar-powered and mobile app-operated lawn mower robot for campus use which can expose students to robotics, smart trash can robot to support Swachh Bharat Mission of a Clean India, and mobile robot racing over the Internet for school children anywhere.
What is a Robot?
A robot is a machine programmable by a computer that can carry out difficult tasks automatically. Robots are of different types. The earliest robots were crane-like structures used to do assembly line operations in factories. They were used to perform dull, dirty and dangerous (3D) tasks in place of human workers. The word “robot” comes from the Czech word “robota” meaning “forced labour”.
In recent years, mobile robots have become popular, such as R2D2, CBPO and BB-f robots in Star Wars movie. Robots can move using wheels (like cars), tracks (like tanks), legs (like humans), move in air or over water (like drones), go underwater and so on. The latest trend in robotics is to build humanoid robots like Honda’s Asimo.
What is an Arduino?
Understanding about Arduino requires prior knowledge about a microcontroller. A microcontroller is a computer present in a single small chip called as the integrated circuit. It is dedicated to perform one task and execute one specific application. It contains memory, programmable input/output peripherals as well a processor.
An Arduino is nothing but a microcontroller board which can perform any task as per your instructions. You give your instructions in the form of few lines of codes. Based on that, it can automatically turn ON/OFF a light, control motors and so on. Arduino can interact with buttons, LEDs, motors, speakers, GPS units, cameras, the internet, and even your smart-phone or your TV! This flexibility combined with the fact that the Arduino software is free, the hardware boards are pretty cheap, and both the software and hardware are easy to learn are the reasons that this tiny board has become so popular.
Wouldn’t you want to work with such a masterpiece?
Let’s get started.
|SI.NO||Name of the component||Component||Use|
|1||Arduino Uno microcontroller
|This is the control unit of our mobile robot|
|This is used to power our control unit|
|3||L293D Motor Driver||This is used to amplify the signals from the controller in order to run the motor|
|4||12V Lead-Acid Rechargeable
|This is our voltage source|
|5||HC-05 Bluetooth module||This is used to communicate with our mobile robot over a short distance|
|6||KA7805 Voltage Regulator||This is used to regulate the power sent to the Arduino to 5V|
|7||Connecting wires||These are the wires used to connect the different electronic components|
|8||Screw driver||This is the tool used to fasten the wires tightly to the components|
|9||Wire stripper||This tool is used to strip off the wires for connection|
|10||Plastic box casing||This is a box made of plastic used as the encasing for our robot|
|This meter is used to check the connectivity as well as find the voltage between any two points|
|12||RC servo||This is used for the rotation of the dome-shaped head of our robot|
|This is used to give easy rolling for our robot|
|14||Acrylic sheet||These are the sheets upon which the components would be mounted|
|15||DC Toy motor
|This is the DC motor used to drive our robot|
|This is used for easier dragging of the load of the robot|
|17||Bot chassis||This is the underpart of the robot upon which all the components are mounted|
How Much Does It Cost?
|SI.NO||Name of the component||Total cost (INR)|
|7||DC toy motor||200|
How to Build Your Own Robot?
- Attach the two motors to the chassis and machine the acrylic sheets to circular shapes according to the requirement
- The pin out of the L293D motor driver is shown in fig.2.
- Make the connections as per given in the figure fig.1.
- Connect the Bluetooth to the Arduino Uno as per given in the figure fig.3.
- Connect the Vcc and Gnd of the Bluetooth module to 5V and GND of Arduino Uno
- Connect the Tx and Rx pin of the Bluetooth module to Rx (digital pin 0) and Tx (digital pin 1) pins of the Arduino Uno respectively
- The motor driver has two enable pins. These enable pins act as a switch to control the two DC motors. Connect them to the digital pins 6 and 5 of the Arduino Uno
- Connect the motor inputs In1, In2, In3 and In4 to the digital pins 2, 3, 4 and 7 of the Arduino Uno
- Connect the motor outputs Out1, Out2, Out3 and Out4 to the positive and negative terminals of the DC toy motor
- Connect the power supply to the power supply of the motor driver
- Connect the RC Servo to Arduino as per given in the figure Fig.4.
- The control signal is given to the digital pin 9 of the Arduino
Stages of Assembling the Mobile Robot
- Motors attached to the Chassis of the robot
- Components mounted onto the structure
- The completed robot!
Robots are very appealing to playful learning by school children. Interactive learning cannot be completely achieved by the chalk and talk technique. Hence, such initiatives of using robots for teaching and learning are sure to intrigue the minds of students and aid them in developing innovations and technologies.
The Teaching-learning centre takes pride in conducting such events for the school children and we would also like to thank our institution and the schools for extending their support and exhibiting great enthusiasm.