We are all one step closer to being ruled by robots, with Nick finally getting his new robot design driving.
It uses Robot Operating System (ROS) installed on an old laptop. Nick uses another laptop to control the machine remotely. Nick originally wanted to control the robot from his desktop, but we are currently having network issues due to a Telstra screwup. It was easier to set up a makeshift wireless network. It does not yet have a camera mounted so we have to do drive it blind. A Wi-Fi camera will make it a lot more useful - we can answer the door and freak out passers-by on the footpath.
The chassis is a simple design using laser cut Perspex and 3-D printed parts. Nick used his old front wheel drive electric wheelchair as an inspiration for the design.
The electronic guts of the machine is equally simple with an Arduino Mega 2560 R3 with a Two Axis Encoder Counter Mega Shield Version 2, a Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield for Arduino and two Electric motors with 131:1 ratio gearbox with in built 64 CPR Encoders.
In the future the robot will use a Microsoft connect to give it vision and we will use a Wi-Fi range extender to vastly extend its reach.
This robot is a prototype and Nick has plans to eventually sell kits cheaper than other similar ROS robots. We will also release all the files so anyone can build one from scratch. We are still yet to name the robot, but the Widow Maker and the deceptively innocent sounding Maplebot are in the shortlist.