Make a simple platform and give mobility to your computer

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Picture of Make a simple platform and give mobility to your computer
A computer is a very handy thing to use in your robots.

If you start listing all the features that can be used for robotic purposes you'll find that it is cheaper to buy a netbook than buying LCD, wifi and bluetooth modules, cameras, speech synthesizer modules, keypads, memory card readers, speakers and many other stuff.

Thats why I decided to make this platform to my netbook.  To let the computer control the motors, I tried two different ways: Firstly I used a arduino duemilanove with two motor driver boards , but then I found that it would be much easier if I just used a motoruino .

With this I could create lots of different applications that let my computer follow certain colors, follow human faces, detect flames, drive around the house avoiding walls, be remote controlled through the internet or using a wiimote, and the list of possibilities is almost endless. 

I have been developing this application, presented on the movie, which is called ComputerOnWheelsController.
You can learn more and download it at its page:

Or, if you prefer processing, you can find and download some examples that I've already done at my website:

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Step 1: Gather the materials

Picture of Gather the materials
This is what you'll need:
    - 1x Box
    - 2x Motors, wheels  and supports
    - 1x Third wheel
    - 1x Battery pack 
    - Some wires and jumpers


  If you decide to use the motoruino you'll also need:
     - Motoruino
     - FDTI Cable


  If you prefer the arduino you'll need:
     - Arduino
     - USB A/B Cable
     - Dual Motor Driver, I used these . You can use whatever you want, for example, the L293D is very easy to use. Check the attached breadboard image.

Step 2: Prepare the box

Picture of Prepare the box
Let's prepare the box to fit our needs:

Cut the holes that you need for the USB cable and for the wheels.
I heated a knife in the stove to do that easily, and it was like slicing butter.

Step 3: Attach the wheels

Picture of Attach the wheels
Place the wheels on the motors' hubs and tighten their screws.

Attach also the third wheel on its place.
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to make it smaller replace the laptop with a raspberry pi

rsangeethk2 years ago
heiiii.... dont you need TTL logic converter... like max232???????? when connecting laptop with the microcintroller??????
XicoMBD (author)  rsangeethk2 years ago
The Arduinos that used have a FDTI chip ;-)
but im using a third party board with h-bridge....!!! which one is best for usart!!!
XicoMBD (author)  rsangeethk2 years ago
Is it arduino based?
noooo.. its not arduino based! and do you have the same code for avr studio.. or any hexfile of this code?????? if yes plzz share it!!!
XicoMBD (author)  rsangeethk2 years ago
I only have the arduino code, but it is very very simple.
It should be easy for you to replicate it. It only has to receive the chars from the serial port and actuate the motors accordingly.
Try to search for serial port communication examples...
sabari10003 years ago
Hey Guys... I'm using Arduino Diecimila... Selected correct Board and Serial port... But still i can't upload the program.I'm getting the following Error

***avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x51***
i'm searching in lots of Forums for 6 days but still i cant find the solution... can anyone help me out of this... Thanks in Advance...
Same thing has happened to me repeatedly with my uno i have no idea what to do.
MRedu3 years ago
Insane! I've seen some amazing things here on instructables but this is by far my favourite!

I wanna give this a go i've always been into robots. But i don't know where to get all the parts from... (i'm in the UK).
XicoMBD (author)  MRedu3 years ago
Thanks for the comment :D
You can get the motoruino directly from guibot (, just leave them a message.
The rest of the parts aren't so specific, you can get any motors, battery and wheels. You should be able to find this kind of thing on ebay, for example.

If you're interested, I've been collaborating in the development of a similar platform, but much more powerful and capable: Have a look :)
MRedu XicoMBD3 years ago
Cool Thanks!
karan133 years ago
i want a short help from u .is there any way i can controll this robo with psp a well as tag laptop's camera as to psp's screen
plese help ,as i want this to exebit this bot in exebition.
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
osalomak3 years ago
What this mean? What I did wrong?

avrdude: stk500_getsync( ): not in sync: resp=0x00 
avrdude: stk500_disable ( ): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x51
XicoMBD (author)  osalomak3 years ago
I'm not sure. When I have that error I usually disconnect the board from the PC and reconnect it again.
But try to go to that link and see if it is useful.
My broblem was board choice...
My Motoruino board works with Arduino Duemilanove...
I first try choose Arduino Diecimila, but it's not accept that...
guibot osalomak3 years ago

Assuming it might be the FTDI cable please confirm that you are connecting the black cable on the same side where it says GND.

Confirm also you are selecting "Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ ATmega328".

Please let me know if it worked.

osalomak guibot3 years ago
Yeah! It's working now... :)
guibot osalomak3 years ago
Great!! ;)
XicoMBD (author)  osalomak3 years ago
Like I told you before, I choose the "Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ ATmega328".

Are you sure that the problem isn't from the FTDI cable?
Yeah, my bad... I have dyslexia... :D
And "broblem" mean problem... :b
But now everything working perfectly...
FTDI cable working very well too. :)
Now I try to do that same project without laptop... 
Some kind of wireless thing... I post some pictures later... 
i have another idea to use ic l298d motor drivers
what correct ?

plz reply
L298 Board Manual.JPG
XicoMBD (author)  Avadhut.Deshmukh3 years ago
On the picture you have a L298N. But yes, you can use it.
i have L298N motor board 1 in 2 dc geared motor !!!

my robot started working thank you
XicoMBD (author)  Avadhut.Deshmukh3 years ago
Send me some photos or videos so I can post them on this 'ible ;)
osalomak3 years ago
Thanks for informations! :)

My project is almost same as yours, but I add mouse controlled servos for webcam's rotation...
osalomak3 years ago
what software you used to programming Motoruino..?
Can I use Arduino software to programming Motoruino...? :)
XicoMBD (author)  osalomak3 years ago
Yes, of course ;)
Have a look here:
"Besides the lack of the usb connection (you will need a TTL-USB converter described below), the Motoruino is 100% compatible with the Arduino Diecimila, including the pin position, so you can attach any compatible arduino Shield."

On the arduino IDE you just have to choose "Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ ATmega328".
karan133 years ago
while creating face tracker ,i am comming across some problem i have added
pface detect
pface detect.dll
and folowed every step respectively but on the message bar an error is coming
that-............................./pfacedetect.dll -cannot find dependent file .
i am using win 7 32-bit. can u tell me where i am going wrong .
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
I'm not sure if it works with 7, I've only tested with XP. Where have you added that files?
karan13 XicoMBD3 years ago
i have addrd these files in the skech
karan133 years ago
does versions effect the making of application
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
I don't know
karan133 years ago
which version of processing r u using
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
karan133 years ago
hai my robo started working thank you man..............i want to know that is there any way we can control robot through our voice
XicoMBD (author)  karan133 years ago
Post a video here if you can :)
Yes, I've found this ( but I haven't had any time to integrate it with the COWC (ComputerOnWheelsController) application.
I may be able to do it next week when I finish my exams, but try to do it yourself!
karan133 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
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