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Halloween is just around the corner, and people are looking to make fun costumes. I recently took a couple of calls from customers who were looking to make Katy Perry-inspired costume dresses with spinning peppermints, following the instructions found on this RPF forum thread. Parts from Pololu used to make the dress included an enclosed 3-AA battery holder with a switch and a Solarbotics GM3 224:1 Gear Motor. However, we suggest substituting our 200:1 Plastic Gearmotor, which has similar performance but no back shaft that needs to be removed.
If you have a cool costume that uses our products, please feel free to share them in the “Share your projects” section of our Forum.
Geoff from Tabletop Robotics wrote a tutorial on how to build a Flipbot, a basic differential-drive robot that can keep on going even when flipped upside-down. A Wixel serves as the brains of the robot, and a second Wixel in the remote allows the Flipbot to be wirelessly controlled. In addition to the Wixels, the Flipbot uses a number of Pololu products, including:
The accelerometer is used to determine when the robot is upside-down. Geoff’s tutorial has a full parts list and a diagram of how everything is connected; the complete source code is also available.
Thomas Schoch, of Essen, Germany, built a neat robot with a Raspberry Pi and a Zumo Chassis Kit. The PiBot-B is controlled by a custom iPhone app that communicates over WiFi to the Raspberry Pi, which is running lighttpd and PHP. A Python program uses the WiringPi library to send signals to an L293D motor driver that drives the two 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors in the Zumo chassis. The iPhone app displays video from the attached Logitech C300 webcam, and the robot has an integrated 8×8 LED matrix from Adafruit that indicates its state. In the future, Thomas plans to add sensors for obstacle detection and make the robot autonomous. We were impressed by several things:
The PiBot-B page is written in German, but it has a link at the top to translate it into English using Google Translate.
Lonnie Honeycutt made a nice tutorial on how to make a simple beginner robot that uses many parts that you can find on our website. The tutorial breaks down the construction of the robot into different parts and includes videos that help demonstrate how to build the robot. It also includes links to some of our products used in the robot, like the TB6612FNG Dual Motor Driver Carrier, Pololu Robot Chassis, and the Tamiya 70097 Twin-Motor Gearbox Kit. Check it out if you are looking for a project to get you started.
Here are links to three parts of the tutorial he has posted so far:
Part 1: Arduino robotics – motor control
Forum user Erich created a custom Zumo Robot Chassis PCB to use with our Zumo chassis kit. The board is designed to accept a large number of plug-in modules, such as a DRV8835 dual motor driver carrier, encoders, and voltage regulators. Sensors that can be mounted on the robot include a Zumo reflectance sensor array, some distance sensors, and an ultrasonic sensor, and it also supports several wireless communication modules. Instead of an Arduino, it uses a Freescale FRDM-KL25Z as the microcontroller board.
You can follow his robot’s progression by visiting these forum posts:
March 2013: Zumo Robot with FRDM-KL25Z Board
September 2013: Zumo Robot with Pololu Plug-in Modules
October 2013: Zumo Robot with Pololu Plug-in Modules, assembled.
Forum user Jim Remington has been working on getting the Talkie speech synthesis library to run on an Orangutan robot controller. The Talkie library, written by Peter Knight for the Arduino, has its roots in a Texas Instruments speech synthesis system that dates from the 1970s and was used in the Speak & Spell educational toy.
When we read about what Jim was doing on the Pololu Forum, we wanted to try it ourselves. We modified Jim’s Orangutan LV-168 code to work on the Orangutan SV-328, and we discovered that the Orangutan’s motor driver could be used as an improvised audio amplifier. This video demonstrates the result:
(Yes, those numbers are a little implausible, but they’re a good way to show off Jim’s number-to-speech routine.)
We saw a tweet from Atmel that “Qtechknow”’s Fuzzbot—a robot based on a Zumo that helps clean floors by dragging a dust cloth around while avoiding obstacles—won the New York 2013 World Maker Faire Educator’s Choice award. Qtechknow was recently featured in a Popular Science article.
Related post: Fuzzbot
In this video, forum user Dev255 controls a standard (HD44780 parallel interface) 4×20 LCD display with a Mini Maestro 24-Channel USB Servo Controller and displays the value of the potentiometer (converted to a percentage) on the screen. You can find out more about his project and see his Maestro script in his forum post.
Featured link: http://forum.pololu.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7402
Jacques Bitoniau built a custom control system for his quadcopter that replaces a conventional RC transmitter/receiver and features the ability to switch between two different operators for training purposes. In his system, the operator moves a joystick and a WiFi-equipped PC sends commands to a Raspberry Pi, which communicates with one of our Maestros to produce signals for a flight controller.
Jacques also wrote a C++ library for Windows, Linux, and Mac to control the Maestro using its serial interface. (You can now find this as a Recommended Link on our Maestro product pages.)
You can read more about Jacques’s control system in his forum post.
Featured link: http://forum.pololu.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7351