Picture of Clusterbot!
What is Clusterbot?  He is a small, affordable, autonomous Arduino-powered robot.  He can move, see, avoid obstacles, and makes a melodic chirping sound sometimes.

Clusterbot was my first Arduino project, and I think he makes a great project for a beginner.  While building Clusterbot you will learn how to use motor controllers, ultrasonic rangefinders and how to program an elementary robotic platform.  The most important thing I learned from building Clusterbot was the importance in planning the location of things like your Arduino board, battery packs, wiring, etc.  

Why is it called Clusterbot?  The more I worked on Clusterbot, the more I found my form following function than design.  I ended up with wires everywhere, the battery pack extended off the back to maintain balance and a mess of erector set odds and ends.  The end result was a cluster%#&@ of parts really, so I named him Clusterbot.  No matter what the rest of him looks like, the ultrasonic sensors gave him a good looking face, and at least you could tell where the front was.

You don't have to follow every step of the physical build, but I do recommend you pay close attention to the motor controller hookup and ultrasonic programming sections.

Let's get started!

Here's a video of  a finished Clusterbot:

can I set the distance of wall to which the robot will avoid?
Stealth01132 years ago
Thanks for sharing, i have a similar bot, but instead of dc motors i used servo's. I used if/else loop in my sketch, but the while loop is much more efficient! But there's a bug, if the bot approaches an straight forward it works perfect, but when it approaches under an angle, the ultrasonic sensor give not very reliable data. I've to find a solution for that...
AndyTallack3 years ago
Nice one.
meanpc (author)  AndyTallack3 years ago
Kiteman3 years ago
Nice bot!

(Technically, a "clusterbot" is a bot that starts as one unit, then splits apart into two or more sub-units that may or may not work cooperatively.)
meanpc (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Thanks! Like a clustterbomb right? Well, you should see clusterbot now. He has split into subunits! His brain is in a 4x4 led cube. His chassis is on my desk. His LED has dissapeared. His motor controller is in a tool box. His protoshield is in another tool box. His battery pack has been cut and is currently plugged into a random breadboard. :(
matthewu3 years ago
Cool for a first bot, kinda slow.
meanpc (author)  matthewu3 years ago
I agree. You can use the higher speed, lower torque gear setup when you put the gearbox together. That combined with a 4 cell battery pack will help. For a beginner experimentation platform it was fast enough for me. My next bot will be bigger, faster, and smarter!