Robot stroller lets baby steer without mowing down other toddlers

We’ve seen strollers and car seats that have a steering wheel for the baby to play with (like in the opening of The Simpsons). But what we hadn’t seen is a stroller that allows baby to actually steer. You might think that a putting a motorized vehicle in the hands of someone so young is an accident waiting to happen. But [Xandon Frogget] thought of that and used familiar hardware to add some safety features.

The stroller seen above is a tricycle setup, making it quite easy to add motors to the two rear wheels. These are controlled by a tablet which you can see nestled on the canopy of the stroller (look for the light reflected on the glass). This interfaces with two Kinect sensors, one pointing forward and the other pointing back. They continually scan the environment, looking for obstacles in the stroller’s path. You can see [Xandon's] little girl holding a Wii Wheel, which connects with the tablet to facilitate steering. A test run at the playground is embedded after the break.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Best. Dad. Ever.

  2. nafix says:

    That’s great!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I bet that Kinect-powered safety system could be adapted to a Power Wheels, too.

  4. Caboose says:

    What happens when she steers it onto a busy road?

  5. Rick Pezzner says:

    Hello Xandon, Great job. If possible keep me updated on the progress. No need for the Shark Tank I might be able to help;-) Chat with you soon. Kids look like they are having a Stroller Blast!

  6. mmalluck says:

    Sure it stops the kid from running into things, but it does nothing to prevent things from running into (or over) your kid. The problem is only half-solved.

    • Rick Pezzner says:

      This is a stroller for a 3 year old or under. If you allow your baby to drive it without adult supervision or a well instructed and responsible person – OH WELL. The one of the main functionalities of this product is it allows the parent or guardian to be hands free for a limited period of time. With parental participation it also will teach the child listening and motor skills.

    • dan says:

      youre implying that any parent would be silly enough to just let their child roam the streets in their new stroller. I imagine its more for use in a backyard or at a party.

    • Karl says:

      The solution to the other half would be to let the kid only steer it where it is safe and where there are no things that can run into your kid (like cars or other traffic for example).

    • daddiorobotics says:

      I was actually working on a chase mode for the stroller, where the stroller would run away from you and you would have to chase it. The closer you would get the faster it would go. If you veered left it would veer right, and so on…It was a great concept for exercise. Nothing like the increased heart rate of a new parent being forced to chase their child in a runaway stroller.

    • Chris C. says:

      Put the kid in an M1 Abrams tank. Problem now fully solved.

  7. asheets says:

    Obstacle avoidance is great and all, but how does this thing handle things like stairs? Not that I’m one of those safety-hazard-minded folks; its just that about 40 years ago a 3 year old that I’m rather close to (ok, me) managed to drive one of my Dad’s 12VDC go-cart creations down a flight of stairs onto a concrete landing.

  8. daddiorobotics says:

    As with most things that kids are able to drive, like tricycles and scooters, common sense is still required. I wouldn’t put a kid at the top of a staircase and hand her a tricycle, scooter or a go cart. That said, you can set the kinect up to register the floor (if it is flat) and then adjust the threshold for the point cloud on the floor to ensure it is getting a steady return where you expect to see ground. If it doesn’t reflect then the stroller stops. This works well on flat even ground.

  9. wardy says:

    I wonder if the steering wheel would be more effective if it were physically tethered to the stroller in order to stop the driver from turning it many times in the same direction (as happened in the video). Repeatedly rotating an accelerometer based controller clearly yields a somewhat chaotic trajectory :)

    Restricting the wheel’s movement to +/- 180 degrees from straight might be easier for the little ones to comprehend.

    Or alternatively perhaps this can be solved in software.

    • daddiorobotics says:

      Yes! Good catch. That is a funny thing to try and get a two year old to understand about a free floating steering wheel. I actually recently adjusted it so that a roll over without reversing, continued the steering direction. The other interesting thing is that they tend to point the wii in the direction they want to travel. There have been thoughts about using a wand to point with or firm mount a joystick.

  10. Hirudinea says:

    The Daleks got started the same way! Anyway this is really cool but I hope he has a remote kill switch and fail safe systems in it.

  11. Xeracy says:

    the music makes it!

    • John says:

      I’m sorry, but I just had to mute it. That was probably the worst music I’ve heard in a long time. Good project, though.

      • M4CGYV3R says:

        Agreed. It reminded me of the instructional video for a treadmill or something.

        I like that the parent can also use the Wii wheel when they are sick of pushing it.

      • daddiorobotics says:

        I actually tried several videos using different Garageband loops and all of them got blocked by Youtubes content ID system. Apparently some Trolls have created songs with those loops and now have fooled the system into believing they own them. I finally got frustrated and asked my talented neighbor Brian if he could help. He is an incredible musician and did a great job. It kinda grows on you. It reminds me of those 90’s training video’s with extra laser sounds. Like a Chips episode mixed with a metal fabrication training video soundtrack.

      • Richemon says:

        Fun with YouTube’s Audio Content ID System
        Scott Smitelli

        http://www.csh.rit.edu/~parallax/

  12. tobe84 says:

    Is this a tablet with USB host mode? From his article it looks like this is the rooted nook. Is this even possible with this tablet ?

    Also, am I the only one to see this ripoff, they are selling “kits” at $2.500 for two motors, a battery, two kinects and a netbook ?! Those are hardware prices of at most $1000!

  13. Galane says:

    Danica Patrick, watch your mirrors, this girl is coming up fast!

  14. Vonskippy says:

    Shows that the whole “women driver” concept is oh so very true, and seems to be genetically based since it appears at even such a young age.

  15. onceuponatime... says:

    so much for toddling….Im pretty sure this is how the future fattys in wall-e got their start.

  16. maca404 says:

    An interesting addon would be a small transmitter on the parent then you could limit the distance the stroller can roam from the parent.

  17. neuromancer2701 says:

    Anyone have any idea what kind of motors are being used. Thanks

  18. Rick Pezzner says:

    wheel chair motors

  19. bemis says:

    Pretty cool idea, and looks like a great implementation…

    How much weight do the motors and batteries add? I’m guessing hauling it in and out of the minivan gets old ;-)

  20. Matt says:

    Bit late to the game I know, but I’ve always reckoned a motorised drip pole would be fantastic for wee ones running around on the wards, who are always attached to iv infusions of some sort or another, not a huge leap from here…

  21. Squirrel says:

    Does this even work in direct sunlight?

  22. Wow very interesting post.the stroller with car seat and steering wheel.nice video.

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