Introduction: Telepresence Robot: Bringing It All Around

Picture of Telepresence Robot: Bringing It All Around

Now is the time we say goodbye. However, before we can do that, there are a few last things we need to take care of. I know you are totally psyched and ready to start building robots, but we still have to put the finishing touches on this one. Please hang in there with me. This will be quick!

This is the seventh part of a seven-part instructables series. Over the next two instructables we will be building the basic electromechanical robot platform. This platform will later be enhanced with sensors and additional control electronics.

To learn more about the topics covered in this series of projects check out the Robot Class, Electronics Class, and Arduino Class.

Step 1: Adding a Power Switch

Picture of Adding a Power Switch

First things first - or basically last - you should add a power switch to the robot. Toggling the power by opening it up and pulling a battery out is not particularly fun. It is so much easier to turn it on and off with a switch.

So, let's do that.

Find the black wire coming off of the 4 X AA battery holder and cut it in half.

Get an SPST toggle switch and attach two 8" black wires to it.

Solder one of these wires to one of the halves of the black battery holder wire and insulate it with shrink tube. Solder the other black wire to the other half, and insulate it as well.

Drill a 1/4" hole (or whatever size is appropriate to mount your switch) in the plastic box.

Mount the switch in the hole that you just drilled.

Congratulations, you now have a power switch.

Step 2: The Last of It

Picture of The Last of It

Above you can see the complete wiring diagram for the robot. First off, stop and pat yourself on the back for having just accomplished all of that. Secondly, should the robot break or you ever encounter any other difficulties with the robot's hardware, check the wiring against this diagram first.

Also, while we are closing things out, you may have noticed that we have programmed all of the various elements of the robot individually, but never had them all running at once. Now is time to bring them all together into one routine.

This program encompasses all of the components that we have added. It allows for user control, but also uses the three sensors to identify obstacles and avoid them. In the code, the sensors are only activated when the person is driving the robot. When the sensors find danger, the robot stops and backs away on its own. Navigation is a collaboration between the person operating the robot remotely through Skype, and the robot itself.

To finish the whole thing up, upload the following code onto the robot:

Step 3: Going Further

Picture of Going Further

There are many things you could do to push this robot further.

Foremost, you can improve upon the code. Some ideas for extending the code include:

- Make the robot navigate autonomously after not receiving human input for an extended period of time.
- Create additional routines for the other unused DTMF keyboard keys.
- Add more complex speed control to the robot.

To learn more about writing code, the best place to start is the Arduino Language Reference Page and the Arduino Forums.

You can also add additional hardware. Here are some ideas for pushing this further:

- Add a second set of sensors in the back of the robot, and upgrade the Arduino to an Arduino Mega.
- Add a remote control foam missile launcher turret to the robot.
- Add rechargeable batteries and a solar panel.

To learn more about electronics check out the Intro to Electronics collection and the Robots Channel.

Lastly, you can give your robot a name.

I named mine Randy 3000, in homage to Andre 3000 of the seminal southern rap group Outkast.

If you are having trouble naming your robot, here is a Baby Name Generator to try out.


abhay2 (author)2017-10-03

it was really awesome controlling a robot while sitting in any part of the world

simlc0523 (author)2017-06-13

This is a great series. I am going to use it, and your previous Robots Class lessons, as a lesson plan to teach kids, and adults, at our local technical library.


mocinoz (author)2017-05-11


I just found this series and I was very impressed, particularly the neat use of zip ties for the assembly. But the part that really caught my eye was the clever use of DTMF tones for remote control via the mic module.

I have been worked in electronics/engineering for many years and I currently teach some after school STEM classes. These classes span a range of topics including simple robotics. This has triggered some really interesting ideas to use in those classes.


PS. I think I may have to build a version as well (as if I don't already have enough projects on the go :) )

Steve_Lane63 made it! (author)2016-08-15

Finally completed my robot. I fondly call it Nuisance. But it works great now, and it forced me to learn a lot. I appreciate your help and instruction, Randy.

randofo (author)Steve_Lane632016-08-18

Congratulations on being the first to complete the class!

Your robot is looking great.

Thanks for sticking with it and helping debug all of the problem along the way :)

Steve_Lane63 (author)randofo2016-08-18

Thanks! I sincerely wish there was a part 2 of the class. There are so many things to do, that it's overwhelming.Trying to decide on my next project is proving to be difficult. I'd like to learn more about the different sensors and shields so I can get an idea of what tools are out there. I'm also thinking of adding a back up buzzer for my new robot. And maybe some lights. And then see what else I can pile on!

Thanks again! Feel free to offer me some direction! :)

randofo (author)Steve_Lane632016-08-18

There will likely be more robot classes come next year, but it's not on my immediate to-do list.

I'm about to publish an introductory level electronics class, and someone else is going to be publishing a very basic Arduino class in the fall. I am not sure how much they will be going over sensors or shields though.


Perhaps check out motor shields:

They are not remarkably exotic as far as shields go, but will allow you to experiment with different types of motors.

You can also check out the Actobotics building system. They have a lot of cool connectors and parts for making mechanical systems:

When you have more of an idea of what you want to make next, let me know and I can come up with other suggestions.

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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