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Hacking the Hexbug Spider XL to Add Computer Vision Using an Android Smartphone

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Picture of Hacking the Hexbug Spider XL to Add Computer Vision Using an Android Smartphone
I am a big fan the original Hexbug™ Spider.  I have owned over a dozen and hacked them all.  Anytime one of my sons goes to a friends’ birthday party, the friend gets a Hexbug™ spider as a gift.  I have hacked the original spider to play football (http://youtu.be/h0BTYm1e5u0 ) and follow lines (http://youtu.be/quDHhuEsxEg ).  When I saw the Hexbug™ Spider XL at Target™, I immediately wanted to hack a smartphone to it and experiment with computer vision and robotics.

 
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Step 1: Disassemble the Hexbug Spider

Picture of Disassemble the Hexbug Spider
The Hexbug Spider is easily taken apart with a small phillips screwdriver. First remove the batter cover than remove the three screws in and around the battery holder. After the screws are removed, gently lift the top off the spider.

Step 2: Lift the Head Off the Spider and Remove the Circuit Board

Picture of Lift the Head Off the Spider and Remove the Circuit Board
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Gently lift the head off the spider and remove the circuit board. 

Step 3: Cut the Battery and Motor Wires at the Board and Strip the Ends

Picture of Cut the Battery and Motor Wires at the Board and Strip the Ends
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Cut the wires at the point that they connect to the board. There are three sets of wires: one set goes to the battery holder in the head (red/black), another set goes to the top motor, and the third set goes to the bottom motor. One motor has a brown and green wire, the other motor has a brown and black wire as pictured.
Strip approximately 1/4 inch of insulation off the end of all six wires.

Make sure the batteries have been removed from the battery holder.

Step 4: Remove the Plastic Insert in the Spider Head, Pull the Wires Through, and Replace the Head

Picture of Remove the Plastic Insert in the Spider Head, Pull the Wires Through, and Replace the Head
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Use long-nosed pliers to remove the plastic insert in the top of the spider then place top back on the spider and pull wires through hole left by the removed insert. Screw the top back on the spider using the same three screws removed earlier.   Note: The motor and battery holder wires (arrow) sticking through the hole in the top made by removing the insert.
FAZTEX8 months ago
i need the code please
is very urgent
RFO BASIC the code
thank you
emgrobotics (author) 10 months ago
http://buildsmartrobots.ning.com/profiles/blogs/introduction-to-the-emgrobotics-quad-rc-servo-controller
LoopyMind12 months ago
what also would be cool is if you could use the phone in upright (portrait) position using the front camera and display a face animation on the screen while the spider-bot is walking around ... like Caine when he was turned into a robot in RoboCop 2 :D

Doing the Skype conversion, you could make it 2-way communications.. the controle tones would go over the left-audio and the sound over the right, you'd have to use an external speaker I guess since the phone's internal speaker is turned off when you plug in an audio jack... or is it possible to bypass so you don't need an external speaker?

Hmmm you'd also have to be able to tell the controller app to just use the left channel and Skype to use the left channel ... is that even possible with Android in combination with some soort of app, to fade audio left or right per application? ..

or is it possible to have the controller software and hardware make/listen to tones well outside the human range of hearing... (would freaking pets be a problem?)
triumphman1 year ago
See JMEMantzel's you tubes. He invented the original spider robot thingy! I think he sold it to a chinese toy company and is now living off the royalty checks! Yea for him! America does have smarts! jamie proves this. He makes really cool stuff. Not just toys, but buildings, domes, eco-systems, and more! Check him out, you will be inspired! I guarantee it!
triumphman1 year ago
Is this a final project they sell now ? There is a guy on you-tube named Jamey Mantzel. he invented this robot prototype and is making a giant one. He sold the idea to a toy company. now he is living off the royalty checks. Cool guy. he is a wizard at building things. Check him out when you can! JMEMantzel on you tube.
This is an amazing hack. Great work. My son has one of these too and he will flip when he sees this.
Wow that is really cool!
pepehdez1 year ago
How hard do you think it will be to make this a telepresense robot ? I don't know, using the same android phone running skype for chatting and controlling the movement.
emgrobotics (author)  pepehdez1 year ago
This is something I am looking into, it has been request many times. As soon as I get something working I will post a link to it here.
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