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Robie the Robot lives!

Posted by Erica on May 9, 2010 in Making

A few days ago I put in the obstacle avoidance programming for the coasterbot. Almost immediately, he acquired a real personality. The algorithm works incredibly well. Even though the first version of my code had significant bugs — typos, forgetting that moving the sensor servo takes a finite amount of time, etc. — he was [...]

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Coasterbot gets a pair of eyes

Posted by Erica on May 2, 2010 in Electronics, Making

I was featured in MAKE Robot Dispatch #7 — thanks guys! Hard to believe that there is less than a week left in the contest.
One of the requirements of the contest is for the robot to do some obstacle avoidance. The Jameco bundle came with some switches to do bump sensing. While this might be [...]

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Coasterbot moves!

Posted by Erica on Apr 26, 2010 in Electronics, Making

With the electronics done, it was time to go back and work on the chassis. As before, the DVDs are linked with screws. I wanted the servos to be firmly attached. Since we removed the controller units, this left a lot of empty space in the case, allowing for this type of attachment:
I still don’t [...]

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A nice coasterbot surprise

Posted by Erica on Apr 20, 2010 in Making, Web and Computer

This morning, I got an e-mail from YouTube asking me to sign up for revenue sharing on my “popular video” of coasterbot folding. I didn’t think too much about this, because that was a 10 second video I shot one-handed. I hadn’t even bothered adding an audio track, or a link back here. The only [...]

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Finishing up the coasterbot electronics (mostly)

Posted by Erica on Apr 20, 2010 in Electronics, Making

After building the Ardweeny, and modifying the servo motors, there was only one major bit of soldering left: the breadboard voltage regulator.
The Ardweeny requires an input voltage of exactly 5V, a common requirement for many chips. This is solved by using a voltage regulator. This is available as a simple component ($1.59 from RadioShack) but [...]

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Spinning our wheels

Posted by Erica on Apr 17, 2010 in Electronics, Making

We need a way to make the coasterbot move, and without getting too exotic, this means adding some wheels. And some motors to make them turn. The Jameco bundle includes two Hitech HS-322HD servo motors. Once again, this was all new to me, so I did some reading. Servo motors are used to precisely position [...]

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Ardweeny adventures, part two

Posted by Erica on Apr 16, 2010 in Electronics, Making

I have a working Ardweeny!
The Solarbotics replacement kit arrived this afternoon. I assembled it as before, with a few differences. The male programming headers were put in with the proper orientation. And I decided to test the Ardweeny without soldering the chip in at first — the pressure of the outer pins holds it pretty [...]

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Ardweeny adventures, part one

Posted by Erica on Apr 16, 2010 in Electronics, Making

The┬áparts bundle for the coasterbot includes a microcontroller to act as the brain of the robot. It is an Ardweeny, made by Solarbotics. Billed as the “smallest, handiest, bread-board friendly Arduino-compatible”, it literally fits on the back of the ATMega328 chip. It’s a pretty cool design, and incredibly small, as you can see in the [...]

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Constructing the DVD chassis

Posted by Erica on Apr 14, 2010 in Electronics, Making

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my blog of the coasterbot build has been featured in MAKE: Robot Build Dispatch #5. Fortunately I have been working on the bot, so I can add some new material. For this installment I’ll continue discussing the chassis design.
As described in an earlier post, I want to link [...]

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Testing coasterbot construction ideas

Posted by Erica on Apr 11, 2010 in Making

The definining feature of a coasterbot is that its chassis relies on CDs or DVDs. Most of the ideas uploaded to the MAKE flickr coasterbot pool have a robot with one CD, or two of them stacked vertically. There is a good reason for this. A small footprint allows for a more agile robot, and [...]

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