Talkbot: an Arduino-driven robot for beginners

talkbotguts

It isn’t exactly WALL-E, but [Bithead's] affordable introduction to robots — Talkbot — is made out of a trash can. This little guy runs off an Arduino and comes packed with features, including a voice chip, a motor shield, and a pair of bump sensors. Talkbot will cruise around until a bump sensor slams into an obstacle. One of his prerecorded messages will then play through the speaker while he backs up, turns, and tries to find a clearer path.

According to [Bithead's] build log, tracking down the right bargain voice chip was a bit of a hassle; he skipped over the text-to-speech options only to be stalled by vendor issues. He finally settled on a clone of Sparkfun’s WTV020SD chip sourced from eBay, which allows you to access pre-recorded WAV files stored on a Micro-SD card. The robot’s body comes straight off the hardware store shelf, with PVC pipe for arms and a polystyrene base to hold all the parts.  At the bargain price of $110, [Bithead's] students will have a true hacker experience cobbling the Talkbot together rather than using a prefab kit.

Be sure to see Talkbot  in a video below, performing either his green-eyed “friendly mode” or red-eyed “grumpy mode,” which dictates how pleasantly he responds to obstacles. Need something more advanced? Check out the tentacle robot, just in time for Halloween.

Comments

  1. Levi says:

    Why such a tiny picture?

  2. agiop says:

    do. not. want.

  3. Voidptr says:

    The body minus the Arduino reminded me of one I built off of plans when I was growing up.

    (Goes googling for it) Someone happened to have a scan of it laying around the web: http://friendfeed.com/thwartedefforts/34ee6a9c/build-your-own-robot-feb-1987-boys-life-i?embed=1

    • Galane says:

      I was reminded of that too. It used a couple of surplus Big Trak motors and gearboxes. One for the arms and one for the wheels. I was disappointed that it was really just a wired remote controlled toy with no electronics to it and figured that adding the Big Trak control system would make it much better.

      Now that the Big Trak is back in production, one might be able to get those parts again for robot building.

  4. cheeseslices says:

    that voice….visions of Protectron

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