Wheeled robots normally have wheels that move in a single axis and steer by using either differential speeds or by pivoting some kind of guide wheel. However, this leads to some drawbacks, the most obvious being an inability to move in really tight spaces. When presented with this challenge, YouTuber James Bruton came up with a great design for a highly mobile robot platform that employs a novel setup to move in any direction. Inspired by the work of researchers at Osaka University in Japan, the omni wheel uses a single drive shaft to spin, yet nearly every surface has a way to move along the ground.
After designing his robot in Fusion 360 and 3D printing each part, Bruton assembled the wheels and added a pulley to each drive shaft which could be spun by a motor sitting directly above. An Arduino Mega is tasked with controlling each of the three BTS7960 motor drivers and it receives commands via an nRF24L01 radio module. All of the drive components are powered by a single 3-cell LiPo battery pack, while the main board is supplied current by a USB battery bank.
By spinning certain wheels at the correct speed, straight line motion can be produced, as shown in the video below. Bruton tested his robot by driving over carpet, tile, aluminum extrusions, and even a plastic lid, which did very well across everything except the lid. This robot has countless potential uses, such as a garbage collection device for around the house.
Although an Arduino can be a great way to provide computing power for a mobile robot platform, you’ll need a variety of other electronics and mechanical components to get it going. In his write-up, computer science student Niels Post outlines how he constructed a robot that travels via two stepper motors, along with casters to keep it upright. The round chassis is 3D-printed and runs on three rechargeable 18650 batteries.
The platform is based on an Arduino Due, with stepper drivers and a custom PCB to take care of the wiring. The robot has no sensors or navigation aids onboard, but instead relies on an nRF24L01+ module to communicate with a Raspberry Pi that hosts the web interface for control and livestream viewing. This setup employs a webcam to sense and direct the robot through its environment using printed markers.
While whatever you heard bump in the night was probably nothing to be concerned about, if you see a suspicious blob of clothing on the floor, you might give it another look. Although not particularly dangerous, YouTuber “Sciencish” has come up with a robot that causes a pile of clothes to turn and face, then travel towards the light source you used to check it out.
The device features four photoresistors, along with an Arduino Uno and two steppers on a robotic chassis for movement. It also accommodates a filament or wire frame on which clothing can rest. When a light is shined at it, the LDRs pick up this “signal” through the clothes. The robot then waits until the lights are off, pauses a bit more, and then rotates to face the person and incrementally advances.
It’s a terrifying idea, and something that could be implemented in many forms, such as the Minecraft spider disguise Sciencish made for it out of cardboard — perfect for some Halloween fun!
Animals like dogs, cats, raccoons, rhinoceroses, and many more get around on four legs. To help imitate this natural phenomenon, maker “Technovation” decided to create a low-cost quadruped robot using 12 servo motors and variety of 3D-printed and laser-cut parts.
Each leg features two servos that move inline with the body, as well as one arranged with its rotation axis at 90 degrees. This enables it to walk forward, scoot side-to-side, and perform a variety of twisting motions.
The robot is powered by an Arduino Uno, along with a sensor shield for easy motor connections. Inverse kinematics can be used to properly calculate servo moves, which is integrated into the device’s control sketch.
After studying the way a worm wiggles, Nicholas Lauer decided to create his own soft robotic version. What he came up with uses an Arduino Uno for control, inflating six 3D-printed segments sequentially to order to generate peristaltic motion for forward movement.
The robotic worm uses a 12V mini diaphragm pump to provide inflation air, while a series of transistors and solenoid valves directly regulate the airflow into the chambers.
The build looks pretty wild in the video below, and per Lauer’s write-up, you’re encouraged to experiment to see what kind of timing produces the most expedient motion. Code, STLs, and a detailed BOM are available on GitHub.
Sourino — which comes from the French word for mouse, “souris,” plus Arduino — is a small robot by 11-year-old maker Electrocat, meant to entertain kitties and kids alike.
The device features a 3D-printed body roughly shaped like a mouse, controlled by a Nano along with three HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors poking out for autonomous navigation. An IR sensor is implemented for remote operation, and two small gearmotors with a driver board enable it to move around on the floor.
As seen in the video below, Sourino is able to travel a path made out of books and interact with (more like drive crazy!) the house cat. Full build instructions are found here, including a parts list, Arduino code, and CAD files.