BTBotControl is an Android application that allows you to remotely control a micro controller-based robot using Bluetooth (i.e. Arduino). It also allows you to (optionally) view a video stream from an IPCamera mounted to your robot. This could be any type wireless IP camera or phone that has the ability to broadcast a video stream/images to the web. Example Foscam, Ai-Cam etc.
Sometimes I build robots that attempt to solve real world challenges. Other times, robots are built based on random ideas. This robot is a case of solving a LEGO challenge – specifically, with their Technic tracks/treads #575518. At no fault of theirs, these plastic tracks are slippery on many surfaces. Great for carpets, flat areas, dirt (if you dare) – and great for turning as well. However, when you try to climb with them, they are as slick as ice.
If you Google them, you will find some great ideas on making these treads more ‘sticky’. Some have used 1/2 Technic pins (which fit nicely into the supplied holes), others have used elastics wrapped around them – all great ideas that work fine. I attacked the challenge from a different angle. The result is DG – or Dual Grip (yes, the name is somewhat plain). DG went through numerous revisions as I worked out kinks related to weight, stability, traction, sensors, flex etc. At the bottom I have included some pictures on previous versions of DG – some changes significant, others subtle.
The idea was to have a treaded robot that could navigate varying terrain, turn quickly and of course, climb. Based on my experience with my other robots using the same tracks (eg UNV and DynaTrax), I found that they were not very good when it came to inclines. I figured that the LEGO rubber wheels have great traction on most surfaces, so why not slap a set of them along with the treads. However, this posed another challenge. I did not want both wheel systems in contact with the ground at all times as this would make turning tougher and be redundant.
Your first question is probably “what does UNV stand for?”. Well, its nothing special – I simply could not come up with a name for it, so what better way to tag it then simply unnamed vehicle. After receiving a bunch of the new tread links, I wanted to create something grand with them. Scouting the web, I came across these multi-purpose robots (see below) that can be outfitted for police / bomb squad use, or for scientific work. Thought they looked pretty cool, so they were the inspiration. UNV was sitting around for months before I finally got around to taking pictures and a video of it. Read on for details…
Sometimes my robot building ideas are spurred by nothing more than wanting to make use of one or more cool items that I get from time-to-time. In this case it’s two – tread tracks that can be had if you own the Technic Snowmobile (8272) and a TechnoStuff Tilt/Accel Sensor. I was fortunate to have received a huge bag (a few hundred segments along with wheels) of the new tread tracks a while back and begun playing with them to see how they compare to their smaller black Technic counterparts. In a nutshell, I like these ones better as they are larger (more suited to the size of robots and Technic creations I build) and stronger – they dont come apart as easy. They also have pin holes in them to boot, so the sky is the limit for making large tracked vehicles.