[Nulluser's] Zipit was fine, but it couldn’t go anywhere on its own. Adding some motors and a microcontroller fixed that issue, and now he’s got a little robot called the Zipitbot. That’s a dsPIC board on top which communicates with the Zipit over an I2C bus. Four servo motors provide plenty of power to the wheels,with some extra battery packs nestled between them.

Since the Zipit is running Linux, and already has WiFi hardware, it’s not too hard to add Internet control.¬†With this in mind there’s a webcam on the front to broadcast a video feed for use when controlling it remotely. See a couple of videos of this hack after the break.

Desktop testing

Internet control with streaming video

[Thanks Rkdavis]


  1. XiUiX says:

    Its so cute

  2. Metis says:

    I can’t understand why I see on HaD all the geeky projects that I imagine, before even I start them :-) Anybody with the same feeling?

  3. Jim says:

    Why don’t you just save the video from the robot instead of recording you watching the video on your tv? It’s pretty much impossible to see what’s going on…

  4. beaglebreath says:

    that is great. i love the zipit. only wish i could compile code directly on it.

    i’ve got my own R2-Z2 under construction. except i’m using the zipit as a handheld display and controller for my droid. i’m using the zipit to display a stream from a wifi-webcam using hunterdavis’ script and mozzwald got me setup with a netcat script to send commands back to my microcontroller to control the motors. I’m now building a mosfet circuit to better control the motors, rather than just on-off controls.

    glad to another self-aware zipit running around

  5. Doublet says:

    Everytime I see a video like that last one I think “There are still people who haven’t discovered CamStudio yet”.

  6. Yossarian says:

    I know this guy, used to hang out on with him. His page has lots of interesting projects including motorcycles and cars so be sure to hit it up.

    Didn’t know about the Zipit, though, might have to pick one up!

  7. acomputerdog says:


    i know EXACTLY what you mean!

  8. svofski says:

    @beaglebreath: I have a Zipit and I can compile code directly on it. What makes you think you can’t?

  9. beaglebreath says:

    @svofski: i’m using the debian userland. i’ve tried a half-a$$ed attempt to get gcc working but gave up. i’m also too ignorant to figure out how to cross-compile. so therefore, i’m having to stand on the sholders of giants to get it done.

  10. nulluser says:

    I did take some POV videos with the capture software:

  11. svofski says:

    @beaglebreath: if you’re using emdebian, you’re probably stuck with broken dependencies. Your best bet is to bootstrap your own normal, regular debian, without any ubuntutness or emdebtenness and then you’ll have a configurable system with plenty of ram to which you’ll be able to ssh to, apt-get stuff and compile your own ;) Probably debootstrap is a good starting point, I can’t remember well.

  12. I’ve actually had the pleasure to drive this bot.
    It was quite fun to drive, and I’m planning on stealing it for “Hail Retrieval”. It could wander
    out and find me the biggest hail stones.

  13. strider_mt2k says:



  14. Ben Wright says:

    I spy lego wheels. I have a similar robot drivetrain setup sitting on my desk.

  15. Aaron says:

    very sweeet project. i know him personally so he let me do some test driving. looks much better in person driving it. everything is probably perfected on it by now. his weapon addons will be sweet :P

  16. firestorm_v1 says:

    I was wanting to do something like this with a Seagate Dockstar. Unfortunately like @beaglebreath, my project suffered the same fate. Also, not being able to communicate via I2C also made things hard considering the hardware I had on hand.

    Mad props to you, Nulluser for an awesome job.

  17. Davo1111 says:

    I wish there was a commercial version of this that was actually good. (that excludes the rovio)

  18. navic says:

    Awesome work, I love zipit hacks!

  19. Decx says:

    Enemy RC-XD inbound.

  20. cde says:

    @firestorm, the dockstar has i2c on the rtc pins. So whats the issue then?

  21. rousselmanu says:

    Really nice project. Btw, I’m extremly interested in how you manage to get the images from the usb-camera with the dsPIC. In your source code, it seems like you are using the UART module of the dspic. How can you speak using this module to an USB cam? I can see no code for USB hosting on the dspic. Am I missing sthg ? thx

  22. nulluser says:


    I used the ZipIt to host the USB camera.

    In principal you could use a microcontroller to host the camera, but it would be pretty ugly.

    For another project, I implemented a serial camera with the dsPIC:

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