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I recently competed in the LVbots line following robot challenge, where I took third place with the fourth fastest robot (due to lucky placement in the bracket). This was my second line following competition. I learned some valuable lessons from my first competition, such as bigger motors are not always good for going faster, so I focused my build on making a lightweight robot this time. Continued…
Thomas Schoch, who previously built the PiBot-B we blogged about, built another robot with a Raspberry Pi. His robot, the PiBot-A, uses our DRV8835 Dual Motor Driver Kit for Raspberry Pi B+ with a Raspberry Pi Model A+ to control two 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors. The robot also uses our S7V7F5 Switching Step-Up/Step-Down Regulator to supply the Raspberry Pi with 5 V from the motor power supply, allowing the whole robot to be powered form a single source.
The PiBot-A is controlled by a Web-App from Thomas’s iPhone. It communicates over WiFi to the Raspberry Pi, which is running lighttpd and PHP. The Python program on the PiBot-A uses the WiringPi library to send signals to the motor driver kit to drive two 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors that are connected to the chassis with our Micro Metal Gearmotor Brackets. Thomas also added an array of Sharp digital distance sensors to give the robot obstacle detection. You can find a video of the PiBot-A avoiding boxes below:
For a complete write-up of the robot, check out the PiBot-A page. It is written in German, but it has a link at the top to translate it into English using Google Translate.
11 February 2015 update: Thomas added support for our QTR-3A Reflectance Sensor Array to his PiBot-A to make a line follower and posted about it on Let’s Make Robots. The sensor array is interchangeable with the array of Sharp digital sensors used for obstacle detection. You can find a video of his robot following a line below:
Happy Holidays everyone! I thought it would be fun to share this sumo bot that features Darth Vader/Santa Claus and uses our Zumo chassis.
Erich has also posted to our forum about his projects before; you can find a list of the forum posts he made that we blogged about below:
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
December 2013: Zumo Tournament Videos
As promised in my previous animatronic skull post, this is the update where I integrate the skull with a baby doll. I would like to introduce you to Daisy Spooks. Continued…
If you have been following our blog, you have seen some fun and scary Halloween projects posted by my coworkers here at Pololu. Well, this is the first part of my prop for my costume for this upcoming Halloween. After watching an animatronic devil baby terrorize New York City, I knew I wanted to build a similar demon baby that would be attached to me with a baby carrier. Continued…
The 2pi, built by Mark Moran, is a line following robot based on our 3pi robot. The 2pi uses our 100:1 micro metal gearmotors, motor brackets, 32mm wheels, 1/2″ ball caster, QTR-8RC reflectance sensor array, and U3V12F9 switching step-up voltage regulator. All those components are mounted to a chassis that was cut from PVC foam.
The robot uses a custom made PCB with an ATmega328 as the brain (the same AVR chip used in the Arduino Uno, some of our Orangutan Robot Controllers, and, of course, the 3pi). You can see the 2pi following a line in the video below.
For more information about how Mark built his robot, check out his Instructables guide.
The folks from SHARC have converted a Jeep into an autonomous robot for SparkFun’s annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition that took place last weekend. Their robot, Troubled Child, won first place in its class and the “Crowd Favorite” award.
Long-time customer Michael Shimniok (our first blog post — from before we called it a blog — was about a tutorial he wrote for programming AVRs from a Mac) used his 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer to explore the back roads of Colorado and Utah before converting it into an autonomous vehicle. The autonomous Jeep uses our D15V35F5S3 switching step-down voltage regulator for powering the on-board electronics, and our dual relay board for running the warning horn and deactivating the pneumatic brake failsafe.
You can check out their final run from inside the vehicle in the video below.
The Beatty family is at it again with their amazing robot builds (if you missed it, check out their Mars Rover). They completed Aluminalis, a sixteen-legged walking robot made mostly out of machined aluminum components.
The video above shows their magnificent sixteen-legged walking robot. It is all controlled by an Arduino Nano and uses Pololu 20D 73:1 metal gearmotors with matching brackets to move all of its aluminum legs.
For more information on Aluminalis, check out its build page.
We have new gyros fresh out of the oven. No, I’m not talking about a Greek dish. I’m talking about our new L3GD20H 3-axis gyro carrier.
One of the most important measures of a rate gyroscope’s performance is the amount of noise in its output, which is indicated by its noise density specification. Too much noise means that the gyro will be prone to spurious indications of rotation, and if the gyro readings are integrated to track orientation, noise will cause the calculation to drift over time.
Although sensor fusion can help compensate for this drift by combining the gyro data with an absolute reference (like magnetometer data), using a lower-noise gyro is likely to be a more effective way to improve orientation tracking accuracy. In that respect, one of the biggest improvements of the L3GD20H over its predecessor is that it has a 60% lower rate noise density (0.011 dps/√Hz compared to 0.03 dps/√Hz on the L3GD20).
In addition to accuracy and stability improvements, the L3GD20H offers other advantages. Its power consumption is lower and its start-up time is much shorter. A wider range of user-selectable output data rates is available, including lower frequencies that are appropriate for human gesture detection, and a data enable (DEN) pin allows readings to be synchronized with external triggers. The L3GD20H makes all of these features available in a smaller package than previous gyros, which has allowed us to design a correspondingly smaller carrier board for it while still keeping it breadboard-friendly. For more information, see the L3GD20H carrier product page.
If you don’t need the latest and greatest, the L3GD20 is still a nice sensor, and it’s a good time to grab one now that we’ve lowered the price of our L3GD20 carrier to only $14.95 until stock runs out.