Introduction

As part of my graduate studies at OCAD U, we were tasked with conceptualizing, designing and building autonomous robots which had the perceivably simple yet highly complicated task of dropping a ping pong ball across a pre determined route. 

This was a group project where I worked with three other members of my Digital Futures cohort; Margarita Castro, Jazmine Yerbury and Egil Runar Vidarsson. Managing time, assigning responsibility and building a new skill set was a highly challenging yet extremely satisfying experience. 

By using of the shelf Arduino Uno circuit boards, ultrasonic distance sensors, IR leds, multiple servo motors and a bunch of wires we were able to bring our project to life. 

Concept

We wanted to build a smart robot which understood it's own position in the world with the help of beacons which could be strategically placed on a pre defined course. 

Our build required 2 major components, the servo powered robot itself which could send and receive messages and the IR beacon which could direct our autonomous robot. 

Build: Robot

Our robot brain was built with two Arduino Unos who were not only talking to the world outside but also synced with one another. Tasked with powering two independently moving servo motors which acted as wheels of our car while constantly reading for any particular signal to change and do another command. 

What we tried to build here was quite similar to how a television remote works. 

Build: IR Beacon

Using external Arduino Uno circuits we constructed multiple IR beacons each with their own individual IR frequency. The logic behind this was simply if our robot found one of these beacons, it would follow it and come closer, as soon as it did, our IR beacon with change it's signal and command the robot to go and look for another one, thus mimicking actual autonomous behaviour. 

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