Mustachioed Rover Simultaneously Manly, Adorable

[Rick], an Adafruit learning system contributor, is excited by the implications of STEM’s reach into K-12 education. He was inspired to design Red Rover, a low-cost robot that can be easily replicated by anyone with access to a 3-D printer.

This adorable autonomous rover is based on the adafruit Trinket microcontroller, but will also rove under the power of an Arduino micro. It really is quite simple—the Trinket drives two continuous rotation micro servos and pretty much any flavor of rangefinder you like. [Rick] tested it with Parallax PING))), Maxbotix, and Grove sensors, and they all worked just fine.

What’s truly awesome about Red Rover are the track treads. [Rick] initially experimented with flexible filament. While he had good results, it was not a cost-effective solution. What you see in the picture and the short video after the break are actually rubber bracelets from Oriental Trading.

The plastic part count comes in at seven, all of which can be printed together at once. [Rick]‘s gallery includes both small and large chassis and three different servo mounts. The Red Rover guide builds on other adafruit guides for Trinket general use, servo modification, and Trinket-specific servo control.

Update: Added [Rick]‘s demo video after the break!

[thanks Phil]


  1. “micro servers” -> “micro servos”

  2. strider_mt2k says:

    Those treads are really cool, as is the project itself.

  3. 0xfred says:

    An absolutely genius hack to use those bracelets for tracks. I wonder if they will suddenly increase in price as demand ramps up?

  4. jaromirs says:

    I really love using those bracelets for tracks. Unfotunately, that online shop doesn’t seem to ship to Europe. I tried to search the Ebay and this looks very similar . Seems like “12 Neon Chain silicone Bracelets” is good search phrase for Ebay, if the link above gets inactive.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    Does the moustache improve functionality and is the next logical upgrade a goatee?

  6. Tom the Brat says:

    I want one!

  7. Scuffles says:

    That is awesome, I essentially built the same type of robot back in college. Somewhere before Arduino had become a thing. Forged from a Tamiya gearbox/track kit, two protoboards and powered by an Atmel chip freshly plucked from an STK-500.

    Sorta amazing to look at the advancement that has occurred in such a relatively short period of time. I have to admit I’m certainly a little jelly lol

  8. Nate B says:

    I watched it perform 8 or 9 trials in the video, waiting for the test-runs to be over and hopefully lead into some actual driving-around, before I realized it was looping.

  9. Nit Picker says:

    Cute. And those tracks are cool. Great idea on the cheap source!

    But I wonder about the diagonal tread pattern. If the tracks struggle for traction, wouldn’t the asymmetric pattern cause it to yaw unexpectedly? That might be improved by having the tracks reversed, so each angles in a different direction. But I still wonder if there might be issues when only one track slips.

    Still, at less than .80/each, that is crazy cheap.

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