Bonsai Bot

Member: Nick Fryer

The BonsaiBot prototype is finally together and driving around. Most of it was developed from scratch. It was designed by Nick Fryer and Peter McKenzie using 3-D printed and laser cut parts. That blue 3-D printed box in the front of the robot is for the electronics which consists of an Arduino Mega, a Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield and an XBee S1 paired with one plugged into my PC. As you can see it is a differential drive rover, the design was inspired by an old Sibbing front wheel drive electric wheelchair my brother and I used to drive.

This rover is driven from a Windows 7 PC using a C# application that I wrote. It uses the Command Messenger library to talk to the Arduino sending serial commands using the paired XBees. On the Arduino side is a pretty simple program that uses the Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver and the Command Messenger libraries. Video is sent using an IP camera at the moment although we do have a far better system (we hope) on its way.

It is very much a prototype but it does work well enough to chase the dogs around and scare small children. On the to-do list is to develop a single program that does it all without having a browser window open in the background. It would also be good to have a system that uses Wi-Fi as that is far more ubiquitous than XBees. If it is to be used as a telepresence robot you really need to be able to send commands to it through the Internet, so I am also playing around with TCP/IP as a way to send information to the robot.

So it’s awesome, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Below is a video of the robot driving around inside (please ignore the part where I crash into the fridge).

C# and Arduino source files

Button Box

Member: Chris and Nick Fryer

My brother and my stepdad designed and made a button box. This is a box with four easy to press buttons that connects to my computer. Due to my disability it is difficult to me to push buttons on a keyboard. This device can have any keyboard key assigned to one of the four buttons.

It uses an Arduino Leonardo which has the great ability to mimic the signals of a keyboard or a mouse. My brother, Nick, modified a simple program that we uploaded to the Leonardo. I have also made my own modifications to the program to get rid of some bugs. I also wrote a program that allows me to use the “scroll wheel” on a mouse as a game, Stardrive, that I play requires players to frequently zoom in and out, but the makers never assigned a key for the zoom.

Home Solar….lol

Member: Chris Fryer and Peter McKenzie

As you know, late last year I bought a solar panel. My stepdad, Peter, worked out a way to get useful power out of it. The output from the solar panel varies between 20 volts and 33 depending on how much sun is hitting the surface. Peter worked out that we could use the inverter from an old uninterruptible power supply, UPS, that didn’t have any batteries.

This worked okay, but the UPS would stop every time the sun went behind a cloud. A better solution was to get a battery charger that is designed to work with a solar panel to charge two old wheelchair batteries that we could then connect to the UPS to get continuous power output.

Bonsai Quadcopter 

Member: Nick Fryer and Peter McKenzie

Quadcopter prototype, about two years ago I bought an Ardupilot 2.0, I thought I could use it with some robot projects I was working on but never did anything with it.  So about a month ago I decided to start designing a Quadcopter to be 3-D printed and the results are pretty cool.  I haven’t got it flying yet but I have been on hobbyking buying speed controlers motors props and an up-to-date autopilot.  Here are some pictures of what I have designed.  I 3D printed all the bits on my Ultimaker.

Here are some pictures.

I have made all the models available for anyone interested, if you download them please follow the Creative Commons Attribution.  Which basically means you can modify them do whatever you like, just make sure you share them and tell people where you got the idea.