Introduction: Over-doing the Holidays With a Robot: Part 1 - Halloween


For a research platform I threw together some electronics a piece of ply wood and some motors.

Come Halloween time a brilliant idea popped into my head!

Dress the robot up as something like a prop then chase after people.

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Electronics

The main electronics on the robot are two MDL-BDC24 made by Luminary Micro/Texas Instruments. They are beefy motor controllers with many functions  to be described later.

The MDL-BDC24s are controlled via CAN (Controller area network). In order to communicate with them a 2CAN was used as a bridge.

The 2CAN gets its information from a wireless router which a laptop is connected through the 802.11g

Two encoders are attached to the gearboxes but have not been wired to the MDL-BDC24s
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Mechanics

Two CIM motors are used as the main propulsion. They are mounted to an Andy Mark Tough Box gearbox

Two lawnmower wheels were modified to match the output of the gearboxes.

A third caster wheel (Salvaged from a trashed hand-truck) is on the back allowing it to spin.

Everything is currently mounted to a piece of 3/4 ply wood and will be migrated to a steel frame in the future.

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The Halloween Scare

Year in and year out people go trick-or-treating with expectations of only treats. I decided that this year someone has to do some tricking!

The idea is simple. Everyone knows a Halloween prop is static. It isn't going to move (much) and  isn't real. They honestly feel "safe" to let their guard down around them. This is where the robot comes in.

I wasn't able to picture the whole setup. A piece of 2x4 was attached to the base by means of screws. A cross piece was attached about 2/3 of the way up to function as arms. An old costume was placed around the wood frame and the robot was placed in the yard near the driveway.

We allowed a group to get their candy. When they were about to pass it the second time that's when it would chase after them. This thing is rather quick and could keep up with most people if I wanted it too.

Nearly everyone freaked out and ran

(I don't have access to the bot a.t.m. but will soon in maybe 2 days)

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