Build a Robot Utilizing an Arduino

Arduino is a  open source hobbyist micro-controller used to make just about any device you can think of.

    "It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating          interactive objects or environments." – Arduino 


     Photo Credit:  Arduino   

So, I did some looking around and found interesting projects by people who used the arduino to build a robot.

From instructables:
Arduino Controlled Servo Robot (SERB) - oomlout
Ard-e: The robot with an Arduino as a brain – imadami

There are tons of projects out there that don't involve robots but are still very interesting to look at.

Remotely Operated Vehicle Test in Lake

Today, I tested a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in a local lake.  So this post is going to be something different for RobotNext.  I recommend this project for anyone who wants to try out an underwater robot. Technically speaking, this is not a robot as such.  It is a remotely operated vehicle controlled by a tether to a control box and power on the surface.  This vehicle was constructed in less than two days in a total of about twelve hours.  Using the ROV in a Box from !nventivity, our teachers’ group at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas built three of these machines.  All I can say is that it was a blast.  

In the video taken from my phone, you can see the robot powering around and then diving under the water.  There will be more testing of these ROVs in weeks to come.  Also, look at the photos of my ROV on the edge of the water.  Not bad for a two day effort. 

Video Credit:  Mike Henry

Here is a photo of the ROV on the edge of the lake.  Note the blue pool noodles used as flotation devices to keep the robot at neutral buoyancy.

Mike's Phone 169

Photo Credit:  Mike Henry

Note the black cylinder object at the back of the ROV.  That is a color camera and below it is a 10 led light to illuminate features in the water.  Images can be seen on a television screen.  The three motors have propellers and give power and control in 3 directions.

Mike's Phone 170

Photo Credit:  Mike Henry

LEGO NXT Money Counter

This is a nice project for the LEGO enthusiast.  You can check out the project and watch the You Tube video of the robot counting money.  Unfortunately, I did not see plans on how to build the robot on the The NXT Step blog.  It would be a fun build to try out.  Still, it is entertaining just to watch.

A nifty little money counter. It uses the size of each coin to determine it's value.
From the creator –

I made a little project with the aim to get an automatic money counting machine.
The Robot contains:
3 Motors
touch sensor
light sensor
The Robot decides which coin it has by the size of the coins, then he ads the values and displays the result.
When all coins are counted the robot recognizes this and gets itself back to starting position. ready for the next coins.
again its programmed with nxc , and took me 2 days. (works with euros and cents)

Damien Kee

Money Counter
Damien Kee (
Thu, 13 Aug 2009 09:51:00 GMT

This May Be The World’s Smallest Wheeled Robot With A Gripper.

When I saw the article from Instructables about this tiny robot, I knew that it was worth a post on RobotNext.  At .40"x.50"x.46", the Magbot R-20 is slightly less than 1/20 of a cubic inch.  The robot is magnetically controlled. This builder found out that to make the smallest robots possible, the motors, batteries, and even the Picaxe microcontroller had to be external to the robot.  Even so, this little bot is a marvel.  You have to see the video of this little machine picking up an IC that looks bigger than it is.  This is not the first small robot built by this inventor.  See his 1 inch cube bots to see a tiny machine with everything on-board.  What is even more incredible is the fact that this is not the smallest robot he has constructed.  Look at this link to see a robot that has a volume of only 1/100 cubic inch!

Build a 1/20 cubic inch robot with a gripper that can pick up and move small objects. It is controlled by a Picaxe microcontroller. At this point in time, I believe this may be the world's smallest wheeled robot with a gripper. That will no doubt change, tomorrow or next week, when someone builds so…
By: mikey77

Build a Very Small Robot: Make The World's Smallest Wheeled Robot With A Gripper.
Thu, 02 Jul 2009 23:23:18 GMT

Autonomous DIY robot based on cheap MAKE Controller

 make_controller_mobile_robot_1-480x317 If you want to build your own robot, this one looks like it could be the one to try first.  I saw this article on the SlashGear site and thought it would be worth looking into.  Also, I have included a quote from the Make website about the controller and some of its specs.  Please note that the base of this robot is a Linxmotion Rover Chassis.  The web site states that this product is discontinued or out of stock.  There is apparently another version available from  This last site is listed in a comment to the original posting and the price is more than the original Linxmotion Rover Chassis.  I looked at the site and it may be a different item.

The article from Slashgear can be found below.

“It seems like DIY robots are gaining momentum, as more low-cost and straightforward controllers become available. Latest is this wireless-equipped model,”
SlashGear –

Check out the Make page for the details on the Make Controller.

“The Make Controller is built around the AT91SAM7X256, and adds the essential components (like the crystal, voltage regulator, filter capacitors, etc.) required to run it, while bringing almost all the processor's signal lines out to standard 0.1" spaced sockets. The software environment remains constant no matter what you plug the Make Controller into – the firmware libraries are organized and documented, making it clear which are compatible with the Controller and Application boards.”

Make Controller 2.0 & Interface Board  can be found at .

Autonomous DIY robot based on cheap MAKE Controller – SlashGear
Chris Davies
Tue, 19 May 2009 14:23:48 GMT

Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class

Also Known as Wall-e from the Pixar animation movie.


Well this was an interesting project that djsures did on instructables. The project can be found here.  He took a Wall-e that he purchased at toys'r'us and put together an autonomous Wall-e. Here is a link showing Wall-e work. He added personality to a toy that was otherwise lifeless. The project provides enough information to build the Wall-e, the only information not given is the code to program Wall-e. Overall it is a nice project and with a little imagination maybe you can turn some of those toy robots lying around into real movable robots.

The Hexbug Change

Hexbug So I found this little project on Hack a Day , which is very interesting. Applied Inspirations put together a nice hack on the robot hexbug.

"The Hexbug is a very cleverly designed, tiny toy robot bug. Once removed from its package and switched on, it marches forward until its antennae bump an obstacle. It then does a reverse-right turn, and continues forward again until the next obstacle."

Well, they decided to take the bug apart and see how it worked. Then they added a different board and microcontroller to do more with it such as adding, ’’Motor Off , Piezo-buzzer, Blinkable ‘Eye’, Low battery detection, Light level detection."  Perhaps later other sensors can be added.The webpage is set up very nicely and gives good instructions of the hexbug and how to change it up.

You can turn your $10.00 "insect" hexbug into a $35.00 "smart robot" hexbug!

The Build-It Guy: Mini Robot – Sculpture

Ok, so it's not really a robot, but this little "pretend robot" would be fun to try to build nonetheless. The website I Make has a neat project on how to make a mini robot sculpture. Like this quote from the person who put up this project, see what monstrosities you can make.  Follow the link by clicking on the small photo for more information.


"One day I took some of the parts and soldered them into what I wished was a functional spider robot – but even though it didn't work, it was pretty in its own way. It was also fun and inexpensive and fast to make."

All you need to make the one shown which is a spider bot is some capacitors and resistors and a small chip. Well, if anything you could practice some soldering and have a little spider bot to keep you company, or a cool Halloween decoration.

The Build-It Guy: Controlling A Robot With A Wii Fit Board

Well, this past week, as I was looking through hackaday  I found a very interesting project. Juan Gonzalez has built a control using the wii fit board for a robot that he calls Skybot. A youtube video can be seen here at Wii fit board controlling Skybot .

"[Gonzalez]managed to control a robot of his own design with the balance board, making it turn when he leans to the sides and moving forward and back when he leans in those directions."

The best thing about this project is that the Skybot can be controlled from a Mac, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, or Windows operating systems. The site for this project is in Spanish, so you may have to use Babel Fish  or Google Translate  to read it, but the site can be found at . It gives you the instructions you need to build a Skybot and maybe you can change it up and control it from your IPhone.