The name Sparky is based on an acronym for Self Portrait Artifact  Roving Chassis I an awkward title for an art project begun in the early 90s. Since that time Sparky has evolved from an oversized RC toy with a couple of baby monitor video cameras into a fully web-enabled autonomous telepresence robot. There have been many different versions over the years, using a wide range of technologies and solutions, but always with the same goal  to provide a platform for live video telepresence and remote autonomous roving. Most of the gear required for this project is available off-the-shelf and much of what I used was already in my shop from previous projects hopefully you will have some similar gear, but be prepared to improvise, dumpster dive or hit Craigslist for missing parts.

Sparky uses Skype as the foundation for the video chat, as well as some custom software (and source code) we provide for basic wheel-driving servo controls. You can customize this code to add functionality to your robot - including more servos, gripper arms and sensors& You are limited only by your imagination and ingenuity.

Keep in mind that each robot will be different, so this guide is by no means complete instructions. Think of it as a starting point, a foundation upon which you design and build your own unique Sparky creation.

Step 1: Parts - Chassis and Drive Train

Chassis and Drive Train: Vex is popular educational robotic kit. Its a lot like a traditional Erector set, with the added inclusion of sophisticated servo motors, wheels and gears (VEX also includes its own programming language and computer board for making complete robots, but we are not using these for Sparky).

About This Instructable


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Bio: Marque Cornblatt was born in Baltimore, Maryland and now lives in San Francisco. He holds an MFA in Conceptual Arts from SFSU; has a diploma ... More »
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