Picture of Make A Robot Ant
Build a robot ant that can be remote controlled or operate autonomously. Using an infrared detector, it can find and pick up objects. It is controlled by a Picaxe 20x-2 microcontroller.

While this is a fairly intricate robot, some of the motor techniques and circuits can be used for other simpler robots.

This instructable shows how to:

1-Use a Picaxe controller to receive remote control signals from a standard universal TV remote.

2-Use a Picaxe controller to interface with an infrared distance sensor.

3-Send serial commands to a serial motor controller or serial servo controller.

4-Make a simple one servo robot gripper.

The video shows the robot using infrared to locate and pick up a wooden block. It also shows that like most ants, the robot ant has a certain disdain for its puny human masters.


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Step 1: How It Works

Picture of How It Works
A Picaxe 20x-2 microcontroller controls an infrared distance sensor to locate and pick up objects. It uses serial commands to control a motor controller which operates the two gear motors that move the tank treads to propel the robot.

It also uses serial commands to control a servo controller which positions the three servos which operate the body, head and gripper movements.

It can be controlled by a standard TV remote control or it can operate autonomously.

The robot ant uses modular construction. Each circuit is a module that plugs into .1" header sockets. This makes it easy to test each circuit on a breadboard before it is installed. It also makes the modules available for the next robot or other project.

For details on making these modules see:

The robot ant is about 12 inches long and was made intentionally larger than necessary to allow room for more circuits. I intend to use it as a test platform for skin sensors and antenna sensors that I am working on.

Wow! I could use this, only a bit bigger, and taller, or something in an robot arm, to get my bottles out of the fridge! Nice work!
Thanks for replying early. Perhaps for the gear problems you could use piezoelectric materials. I don't know much about them, but they are smaller.
Wow, for $39 this is an awsome build. I would like to see someone miniaturize it, as i have almost no skills is robotics building. keep up the good work! 5*
It's actually $300. $39 is for the treads.
mman15064 years ago
cool robot really like the tank treads but the price is kinda steep at 39$
What!? It's more like $300.
swilus mman15064 years ago
Seriously? You can spend $39.00 on a movie and snacks for 2-3 people!
D5quar3 swilus4 years ago
Ive spent 200 dollars now for my robot and it is still not working I wish I could take it all back and spend 39 dollars for a robot that does more than mine.
mikey77 (author)  D5quar34 years ago
Sorry, the 39 dollars was just for the tank treads and two drive motors. The robot ant parts cost about $300 in total.

Don't give up on yours. Most of my robots do not work well for long periods of time until I slowly find all the bugs and eliminate them.
I think people read my comment wrong i was just thinking of a cheaper method for the tank treads like the tamiya gearbox. I personnaly use use the picaxe all the time
It might have been easier to read if you used punctuation.
D5quar3 mikey774 years ago
I have heard the dont give up on it a lot of times before, and I will not until I at least get this one done and then get more complex

thx for the encouragement
Kolf35 swilus4 years ago
u kidding?im goin on a date soon and im gonna haf to pay 50 bucks nearly!!!!!!!!!
mman1506 Kolf354 years ago
Read the whole thread the total robot costs 300$. The tank treads cost 40$.
pbecker833 years ago
Agreed. We are using this chip for a low cost robot kit for our robotics club here in Nashville. Great projects!
Kolf354 years ago
the vidyo was amazing!!!!!!!!
raykholo4 years ago
Your instructables keep getting better and better. Keep up the awesome work!
how do i fave this thing???!?!!? i love it!!!
ynze4 years ago
ChrysN4 years ago
Dr. Pepper4 years ago