Introduction: IRobot Create Personal Home Robot

Picture of IRobot Create Personal Home Robot

Introducing a personal home robot built around the iRobot Create platform and a mini-itx computer system.

It has never been easier and more affordable to design and build robots by leveraging the economies of scale from the software, PC, toy and other high volume consumer industries.

This robot was created to show people that with a bit of imagination and ingenuity, robots can be used for real useful work around the home to make our lives more convenient and entertaining.

This project also provides a platform for understanding and experimeting with the integration of mechanical, electrical and software systems. Exploring robotics is a wonderful way for future Engineers to gain the skills and hands on experience to become great Engineers.

Step 1: System Diagram

Picture of System Diagram

Let's get to the point. Here's what the personal home robot can do so far:

- retrieve water
- water plants
- fill a dog water bowl
- control a VCR and TV
- turn lights and other appliances on/off
- play music
- dance and entertain
- provide mobile video security for the home
- remind the elderly to take medicine

and much more in the works!

Step 2: Robot Front

Picture of Robot Front

Pictures are worth a thousand words. There are just too many components in this design that could create an Instructable with a 100 steps. I'll focus on pointing out the parts that are most interesting.

The front of the robot has 2 USB speakers and a centered docking station for a wireless PDA. These items were mounted using bent metal brackets, screws and velcro. The front head of the robot has a USB camera and infrared sensors for TV/VCR control.

A lot of attention was paid to the robot aesthetics. There are too many times where we've all seen a robot that looked like a pile of circuits and wires. It's important that someone can imagine that a robot "fits" with the other items in the home.

Step 3: Robot Left

Picture of Robot Left

The left side of the robot consist mainly of the arm with 2 degrees of freedom. The arm is built using a quarter scale RC model servo for the shoulder joint and a standard RC servo for the elbow joint. The arm is constructed out of thin light weight aluminum. The forearm is made from a thinner gauge aluminum but was strengthen using 90 degree bends. The water hose and servo wiring are mounted along the arm using clips commonly utilized for mounting cable TV coax cable.

Step 4: Robot Back

Picture of Robot Back

The back side of the robot consists of the cargo bay, bumper and X10 wireless controller.

The cargo bay holds the 12V reversible water pump, 4 AA batteries for servo power, and the 12V lead acid battery.

The orignal backside bumper on the Create was relocated to the second level deck for easy access to the cargo bay. Without this bumper on the cargo bay area the weight on the 4th wheel would flex the plastic housing. An aluminum sheet was attached to the floor of the cargo bay for extra reinforcements.

The reversible water pump in the cargo bay is adapted from the RC model industry. These pumps are commonly used to fill and extract fuel from the tanks of model airplanes.

Step 5: Robot Right

Picture of Robot Right

The right side of the robot consist mainly of the USB telescoping camera mast used during teleoperation. The camera can be adjusted for different scenarios. If one wants to monitor a person at eye level then the telescope can be fully extended for this scenario. This type of adaptable hardware is a very useful feature for the many different physical environments and applications found in a home.

The mast was actually part of an off the shelf adjustable tripod stand. One leg was removed from the tripod and then mounted upside down with a camera fixed to the top. Typically, routing of the USB camera wiring becomes an issue when the mast is adjusted for different lengths. However, in this case a commonly available retracted USB cord was used in conjunction with the telescoping mast to automically adjust the cable length with the telecope position.

The water pump reservoir and Create serial interface adapter are also located on this side.

Step 6: Robot Guts

Picture of Robot Guts

These are the items in the 2nd level deck that are accesible from the rear of the robot.

Stored in this location are the switching power supply, computer hard drive and rail mounted interface boards. The interface boards consist of an IR TV/VCR remote control board, a PIC16F877 controller board, a heatsinked IC motor controller and an 8 channel servo controller.

Step 7: Robot Head

Picture of Robot Head

These are items located on the top deck under the white plastic dome.

There is a mini-itx motherboard mounted to the top deck. For a wireless link an 802.11G wireless bridge was mounted above the motherboard with the antenna poking through the plastic dome.

The plastic dome is actualy a plastic bowl purchased at K Mart. It serves to protect the electronics while also providing a key aesthetic feature.

The IR transmit and receive sensors are also mounted to this dome.

Step 8: And Now the VIDEOS! - Robot Dance

robot dancing

The robot dancing to streaming music

Step 9: Video - Filling Reservoir

Filling water reservoir

Step 10: Video - Filling Dog Water Bowl

Step 11: Video - Teleoperation

Step 12: Video - Raise / Lower Teleop Camera Mast

Step 13: Video - Image Processing

Step 14: Video - Tv Control

Step 15: Video - Water Plants

Step 16: Video - Take Medicine


VuH15 (author)2016-03-05

It's great and easy convenience when using IROBOT marked great strides in developing industry irobot i was found things to support a few tips in if you need may read it. Modern technology helps IROBOT work faster and more efficiently, with such a device will be more reasonable with a good price so everyone can experience these devices.

App For Tradies (author)2016-01-18

Looks awesome.

cadams21 (author)2012-08-27

I think that's to risky i mean to have a machine running with that much tech in it i would fear that the water could land on the machine there for ruining it.

desktopepics (author)2009-01-29

How does it recognize when water is filled ... or detect that the substance is water at all? What if it were another liquid?

AJMansfield (author)desktopepics2012-04-12

Yes, what if somebody put GASOLINE in the bucket instead. Then the robot would actually be able to take over the world, by burning everything!

SteampunkManiac (author)2011-06-26

It can even cover up a U.F.O. crash! that's the Army's job.

tinker234 (author)2011-06-05

oh looks like a dalek

tinker234 (author)2011-06-05

hey could you make it do dishes i hate doing dishes

Spannerz (author)2011-01-04

Hehe, I love the '4 AA Batteries' part xD

MovieMaker (author)2010-11-05

This is a Great Project! But, where is the code??? :-(

SonicX 22 (author)2010-09-26

where did you buy this/how did you make this?

urwatuis (author)2010-03-23

use a automotive telescoping antenna inside the hollow tripod leg for motorized up down control.

zeon (author)2010-02-25

that plasitc bowl works very well and looks very professional lol

area36 (author)2009-10-12

Hey does anyone know how to make a water retrieving robot?

aseaheru (author)2009-09-15

spy rc?

Steve43560 (author)2009-09-06

Great job on designing & building your cute 'lil bot! - What company did you get the Universal TV / X-10 remote board from? Or is it your own design?

Inmor (author)2009-08-03

Bet you could dress that up to look like Baba fett. Lol

tanmanknex (author)Inmor2009-08-30

Actually, that's the first thing I thought when I saw this instructable!

albylovesscience (author)2009-08-02

wow looks like the military should realy consider you how did you do the programing

robotman07 (author)2009-08-01

Great job so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

desktopepics (author)2009-01-29

Does the robot visually recognize the bowl? What if I were to put a hat on the floor?

weasel999 (author)desktopepics2009-07-11

u would prabably get a wet hat

My cat used to have a blue litterbox in my old room whenever me and my wife came to visit my mom, now she pee's in anything nearing the realm of square plastic blue. Point being that it doesn't need to be that clever to mimic really clever yet basic intelligence. great job!

weasel999 (author)2009-07-11

its arm is kinda wobly

dude wtf. that is the most amazing thing i have ever seen!!!!! IF you were to sell it you would make thousands. but seriously that is F***ING amazing you are one talented person. :D

P.S. i also like to take stuff apart lol.

engineer_01 (author)2007-11-09

You must have a lot of time on your hands and a lot of cash in your pocket to make this...this thing. LOL nice job its pretty cool though. Kudos

dttworld (author)engineer_012007-11-09

I have neither of both. Renovating two houses, taking classes, commuting 2 hours, full time job, active dog, etc.... but I find the time to squeeze in doing cool things even though I'm barely floating above water.

bug on fire (author)dttworld2009-04-05

WHAT 2 houses ?? thats rich and u can afford to renovate both and also 2 hours of work ??? thats not alot i dont know about the dog

TED5165 (author)bug on fire2009-04-15

Commuting means traveling to work.

bug on fire (author)TED51652009-04-18

sorry about that English is not my first language and I am only 14

desktopepics (author)2009-01-29

Further information of the software used would be excellent! Great work!

desktopepics (author)2009-01-29

Very nice R2 Unit you have there ... auto-telescoping would have been an excellent addition.

Fasteners (author)2009-01-05

cool stuff

potaderantor (author)2008-12-15

i just read the entire thing what is the point of not telling us how to make it? i would do this instructable you could just break it into like lets say 10 instructables ,irobot part 1 ,irobot part 2 and so on...

newber_dan (author)2008-02-05

umm, do you actually tell us how to build this in this instructable? i wanna make one, it would be soo cool, so if you could tell us that would be awesome. also is the robot controlled via computer? one more question.... how much did the project cost you in total? sorry i lied last one, where did you purchase your parts?

potaderantor (author)newber_dan2008-12-15

err...doesnt it say in the guide how to make it?

pavanhurkat (author)2008-11-05

hey this is awsome project 2 make..... can anyone tell me how ,much it is going 2 cost??? n i am having difficulty in programming it?? which language should be used?? please reply....God bless all of u!!! :)

sandeep.datla (author)2008-10-02

how thus the toially making of i robot costs

sandeep.datla (author)2008-10-02

hai friends - this is amazing and fantastic. request someone to help me - i am not a electronic buff, i am good at mechanical stuff, i need someone to help me advice on exactly what are the items that are used, how to connect them and what software, hardware are to be bought and used. I am residing in india. Can some one please help me advice on the electronic stuff vmy name is sandeep

pengyduck (author)2008-07-31

It's r2d2 in real life! awesome project by the way.

Lebanite (author)2008-07-18

Awesome robot! I have been wanting to do something similar for a while. It's a little work but it would be pretty cool if there was some sort of servo-pulley system so that the tele-op camera mast could raise or lower by its self on command.

botmaster 10 (author)2008-06-02

Ah,yes. The robot wave continues. Reminds me of Hero 2000.

neardood (author)2008-05-27


sanj991 (author)2008-05-06

hai friends - this is amazing and fantastic. request someone to help me - i am not a electronic buff, i am good at mechanical stuff, i need someone to help me advice on exactly what are the items that are used, how to connect them and what software, hardware are to be bought and used. I am residing in india. Can some one please help me advice on the electronic stuff

gb123 (author)2008-03-29


Ianic (author)2008-01-15

About how much did this project cost you and how long did it take?

Connor9220 (author)2008-01-12

What speed CPU and what mini-itx mobo did you use?

Dantex (author)2007-12-08

I have one question: can you put 2 cams (+ one teleop one 3, but I mean image processing two) instead of one for better distance defining?

dttworld (author)Dantex2007-12-12

Not sure if a second camera would help with distance measurement. It might be better to use something like an ultrasonic sensor.

About This Instructable




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