Remote-controlled tank tread robot will walk the dog for you


Instructables user [IAMTHEBOT] recently finished building his robot which can be controlled by a human using an R/C transmitter, via a PC, or through its built-in object avoidance system. The robot doesn’t seem to have a name, though Johnny Five might be appropriate.

The robot was built using plenty of erector set parts, as well as a Lynx motion tank tread kit. The robot is crammed full of controllers, including a Propeller USB servo controller which operates the arms, and a pair of Parallax motor controllers to manage the tread movement. A pair of Parallax Stamp controllers are used to drive these controllers as well as to manage the remainder of the robot’s functions.

The robot’s head consists of a custom pan and tilt wireless camera system, which allows him to drive it around from the comfort of his home, while watching the video stream on his PC. The robot also has the ability to roam around autonomously, avoiding objects using a ping sensor that can be mounted where the camera is currently located. It seems all that’s missing is Steve Guttenberg.

As you can see in the videos below, the robot manages pretty well on all sorts of surfaces, and even walks this guy’s dogs.


  1. joe hosman says:

    lol, looks like the dog is walking the robot.

  2. QWERTY says:

    Johnny 5?!

  3. Zack says:

    My first thought was.. “HEY, LAZERLIPS”

  4. MrX says:

    Holly crap! This is one of the best constructions I’ve seen in a while. Props to the author!

  5. Admiral Michael says:

    Number Five Alive!

  6. Drake says:

    Not to say anything bad but is there a functional purpose for the raised center point on the tracks?

  7. M4CGYV3R says:

    While I’m sure it’s advanced and awesome in some way, my dog won’t even go near my brother without growling or barking. I’m gonna venture that he won’t go near this either.

  8. M4CGYV3R says:

    Strikes two and three would have to be that it is based on the Parallax BOE base, and that it’s posted on Instructables.

  9. anon says:

    I think if it took my dog for a walk. You’d never see the robot again.

  10. dwan says:

    Drake : Maybe to adjust the tension of the tracks ?

  11. The high point of the tracks is where the motors are located, so they are a bit further from the ground protecting them a little bit more from water and dust.

  12. Will says:


    And where’s strike one? Oh…wait…it was joe cool using a 4 as an A and a 3 as an E. roflFAIL

  13. IJ Dee-Vo says:

    @M4CGYV3R Good thing its for his dog then Those things arnt strikes but bonuses.

    This is epic, anyone that dosn’t like how others do their creations are welcome to build their own and to post it.

  14. medwardl says:

    First thing I thought of when I saw it was Johny 5

  15. James Shield says:

    Wallace & Gromit anyone?

  16. apothus says:

    Lynx motion actually sell a complete kit with the tracks as a jhonny 5 replica so im sure they will be glad thats what people think.

    I have one of these triTrax kits at home and i have been impressed with them. The triangle formation makes it easier for the laser cut parts to have some ground clearance. An important point to note is that there is an alternate motor configuration that comes with shaft encoders. A useful addition considering the large internal firction of the tracks. My pwm motor controllers (ardumoto) run at 80% duty just to get the tracks moving without load on them.

  17. RBR says:

    I always thought the triangle formation on some tracks were to allow you to reconfigure it by flipping upside down so it can tread over large objects. For example a rock thats larger than the track roller size Kinda like this

  18. Amos says:

    WOOT! Johnny 0.5! Now just get the wise-cracking AI and LED bar-graph lips installed and you’re golden!

  19. DDevine says:

    I’m surprised somebody hasn’t yet referred to the sexual connotation of “robot will walk the dog for you.”

  20. Jay says:

    Ya mama was a snowblower! Nice design. I think Johnny 5 was my inspiration to get interested in Robotics.

  21. strider_mt2k says:

    Call me when the robot can give me a “Rusty Venture”…

  22. IMTHEBOT says:

    HEY guys thanks for the comments!!! I appreciate it

  23. ewanuno says:

    looks fun
    all lynxmotion kit by the looks of it.
    fairly pricey all the stuff though. i wanted a robot platfrom like the lynxmotuion 4×4 rover, but i ended up just building it from metal L section shelving.
    i did buy the sabertooth 4×10 diferential motor controler though, it’s great, easy to control, and with regenerative breaking!

  24. Eages says:

    He’s a mini Johnny 5. Perhaps his name should be Johnny 4? Replace the webcam with a Kinect and you won’t need a ping sensor.

  25. apothus says:

    @Eages I like the kinect idea. I hadnt even considered that with mine. Modelling the Ultrasonic and IR sesors on mine is driving me mad as it is..

  26. asc says:

    cool, but this is a complete off the shelf kit bar the usb cam which he doesn’t even explain how it is hooked up (i think it is all looks at the moment)

    overall, nothing special, awesome or hacktastic given you can buy this entire kit off the shelf…

  27. IAMTHEBOT says:

    You obviously know nothing about robotics or electronics. First off I used tank tread kit brackets and some servos. I built the body, and configured everything else including the head pan and tilt and wireless camera. I used all my own electronics and wired everything up my way and programmed and incoorperated the remote. Robotics is about what it can do and the program and I’ll out program you anyday!!!. So no it is not even close off the shelf there buddy. SOMEONE SOUNDS JEALOUS!!… Where is yours at?

  28. IAMTHEBOT says:

    on top of that i just encorporated telepresence on to it I mean come on man dont diss

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