Update: Tiny line-follower and more

This tiny line-following robot is quite impressive. It’s [Ondrej Stanek's] second take on the design, which he calls PocketBot 2. Just like the earlier version, this robot is small enough to fit in a matchbox, but it’s received several upgrades in this iteration.

The coin cells that ran the previous version have been replaced by a rechargeable Lithium Ion cell. The ATmega8 which controlled the first robot has been swapped out for an ATmega128 running at 32 MHz. You won’t find an IR receiver on this one either, it’s been traded for a Bluetooth module which adds a quantum leap in functionality. For instance, the graph in the upper left of this photograph shows the reflective sensor data readings used to follow the line.

There’s all kinds of great engineering in this design, which is shown off in the video after the break. One of our favorite parts is that the axles are attracted to the center of the robot by one rare-earth magnet. This keeps the rubber tires pressed against the motor spindles rather than use a gearing system.


  1. svofski says:

    very cool little bot, great construction and presentation. Gold medal well deserved :D

  2. roboman2444 says:

    only thing it is missing are some tiny infrared sensors… if it had them, then it would be the perfect little bot.

  3. Wow.. quality engineering. Love the alternative motor gearing. Very inventive.

  4. Tom the Brat says:

    Completely boggled!

  5. Boudico says:

    Awesome job!
    I’ll take 5 please!

  6. TBO says:

    Wow, the 128 is running at 2x rated frequency! The more I see AVRs in action, the more impressed I am.

  7. andrew says:

    I really need to learn to solder smd components…

    • Sven says:

      It’s not that hard really, get yourself a hot air solder station on ebay for about $60 for the more advanced parts, and a fine tip for your temperature controlled iron for resistors and such.

      Start training with 0805 size 2 terminal components and SOIC ICs and move on from there.

  8. Jonny says:

    That’s not ATmega128, that’s ATxmega128 in a new robot.

  9. Lucario says:

    this would be great for searching out building vents for bombs and the like. contact security companies and sell em the rights to manufacture and distribute them! you’ll be rich! (make sure that you include that it is NOT a Exclusive License or they might take advantage of it!)

  10. Ned says:

    Wow, that looks incredible! Very nice job! Any plans of manufacturing and selling these?

  11. Nightstar says:


  12. Dan says:

    I’m inspired! An amazing little robot!

  13. qwerty says:

    Absolutely fantastic!
    This has great potential both as a teaching toy and as a product for “serious” uses.
    I’d love to buy a couple, one for me to tinker with and the other for my cat:) It just needs auto homing/recharge routines to be 100% autonomous in that context.

  14. I am not into these line following robots but this is one well designed and built prototype!
    Great work.

  15. Will says:

    The design and layout (not to mention the presentation materials) are better than many professionally built robots I’ve come across. And Ondřej’s mastery of CAD (Eagle?), 3D rendering (POVRay?) and video in addition to programming and EE skills are very impressive. Hats off to his skills and the effort he put into this build.

  16. bzminds says:

    Amazing job!

    When you think there is nothing else to see, he shows another sensor somewhere in that tiny board. Brilliant results and performance for that size!

  17. Gdogg says:

    Fantastic. I love the detail the video went into.

    I always wanted to make a bot but I’m a software guy and I’m not really ready to design circuits. Especially those driving motors and such.

  18. Robot says:

    This should be on Kickstarter!

  19. dunz says:

    I bet this could be made smaller. I’ve seen god damn femto-class sumo bots. 1x1x1cm, that’s just insane.

  20. Nathan says:

    Excellent! A great trick would be to cut away the bottom of a match box and then place the robot in the box, and send it signals to srat moving around to scare people

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