This page describes some of the fun and unique robots that we really enjoyed building. They each include elements that differ markedly from the traditional mobile platforms and tactical and industrial robots that we are best known for.
Examples of Fun Robots
We had fun building this robot. He may look familiar... We started with MLT-JR custom length tracks and added a simple shell and head. The motors are driven with a Sabertooth 2x5 Motor Controller. All the parts (other than the drive train) were made with our 3D printers. Then we gave it a quick paint job. We embedded two IR sensors on the front and put an Arduino in the middle cavity to drive him around and a Pololu 12 channel Maestro to move the servos to control his head, eyes, and arms. Will-E is powered by an 11.1V lithium battery.
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We have been building robots for a very long time and every once in a while we will have a beer or three. So one evening, while we were at our local brewery ( The Aviator Brewing Company), we asked ourselves a question: Why are we still getting up to get another round when we could just build a robot to do it for us? Hence Keg-a-Droid was born! Both Keg-a-Droid models feature a 2WD mobile chassis with a 2x32 Sabertooth Motor Controller, a CO2 tank and regulator, custom hosing, and a tap system and handle + drip tray. Version 1 (Ice Bath Keg-a-Droid) includes 2 240 RPM IG42 gearmotors, a keg shell ice bucket, and simple RC controls.
For version 2 (Refrigerated Keg-a-Droid) we went all-out and replaced the keg shell with a Kegerator! To compensate for the extra weight, we replaced the motors with more powerful 285 RPM IG52s. We heavily upgraded the controls to make Keg-a-Droid safer in the hands of a mildly inebriated operator in a crowded bar setting. A custom Arduino-based remote now delivers commands to an Arduino Mega on the robot over a radio link, which then commands the motor controller. This enables Keg-a-Droid to disable movement while dispensing beer or when an obstacle is detected by one or both IR distance sensors. We also added a 4 Line LCD and a flow control/metering system that blocks the tap with a solenoid until a valid barcode is scanned, then tracks the amount of beer dispensed and maintains a running tab on the barcode.
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Air Hockey Robot
This is an autonomous air hockey robot that we built for a customer as a trade show booth attraction. We designed, built, and programmed the entire robot in just over four weeks. The paddle slides along an orthogonal, belt-driven railing system actuated by two stepper motors, similar to a CNC machine. It uses a PS3 Eye camera and a vision system to track the puck, then uses an Arduino Mega to command the stepper motors and position the paddle. The robot is a formidable defender and can also execute both linear and ricochet shots.
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6WD Entertainment Machine
What two things do all tailgate parties need? Ice cold beverages and some good music. So why not combine the two into a remote controlled platform that you can take with you anywhere you go? This robot is exactly that with a 6WD platform and a cooler with a built-in stereo system. This is a custom robot that we built for one of our customers. We provided the 6WD robot platform while he built his own stereo/cooler. He can now take as many of his delicious cold beverages anywhere he pleases and all he'll have to carry is a remote control. Be a hit at your next party or tailgate with your own tricked out robotic masterpiece.
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