Step 1: Parts/System Break Down
Arduino Mega Protoshield, with 2 mini breadboards and jumpers
3 VEX motors
BlueSmirf Bluetooth Adapter (located in the yellow VEX case with antenna)
RoboRealm Vision Software
VEX linear sliders
VEX Rack and Pinion gears
VEX 9.6V Battery
4 VEX small wheels
Vex metal, screws, etc.
This project is made up of two main sections. The first section is the actual robot. The robot in theory is somewhat simple. It consists of a base with two wheels which rides on a whiteboard track. The base design allows the robot to cover the entire x-axis of the whiteboard. To move on the y-axis, the robot uses linear sliders to move an arm up and down. Attached to the end of the arm is a dry-eraser that does the actual erasing.
Building the robot is not hard. It just consists of 2 motors which each respectively drive 2 small VEX wheels.
Step 2: Computer Vision
*The code that is attached is a basic proof of concept code. It shows how the eraser would move to the text, no matter where it is on the whiteboard. Move your mouse to simulate where the text is written. In order to use the code, you need a copy of RoboRealm. The standard cost is $89, or you can download a 30-day free trial at http://www.roborealm.com/registration/index.php
Step 3: Microcontroller Control
The code attached is the interface code that allows the Mega to communicate over Bluetooth to RoboRealm software.
Step 4: Versatility
However riding on this track proved a bigger challenge than I originally anticipated. The track at the bottom of the whiteboard is very narrow. In order to get the robot to stay on this track, I had to build the center of gravity directly over the track; otherwise it would fall off (which happened very frequently in the early design stages). This gave me a very small area to work in and I had to fit all the heavy parts into a tight area, hence the very messy and awkward placement of the battery and microcontroller.
Step 5: Conclusion
- Automatic schedule, for example: erase every 10 minutes
- Work with voice command instead of a webcam
- A light sensor which would trigger the robot to erase the entire whiteboard when the lights go off i.e. when the teacher leaves the class room for the night
- Only erasing certain color writing. Since the program uses a RGB filter, the robot could theoretically erase only red, green, blue, yellow, or cyan colored writing