Hackaday Prize Entry: Selfie Bot Let’s You Vlog Hands Free

[Sergey Mironov] sent in his SelfieBot project. His company, Endurance Robots, sells a commercial version of the bot, which leads us to believe that in a strange and maybe brilliant move he decided to just sell the prototype stage of the product development as a kit. Since he also gave away the firmware, STLs, BOM, and made a guide so anyone can build it, we’re not complaining.

The bot is simple enough. Nicely housed hobby servos in a 3D printed case take care of the pan and tilt of the camera. The base of the bot encloses the electronics, which are an Arduino nano, a Bluetooth module, and the support electronics for power and motor driving.

To perform the face tracking, the build assumes you have a second phone. This is silly, but isn’t so unreasonable. Most people who’ve had a smart phone for a few years have a spare one living in a drawer as back-up. One phone runs the face tracking software and points the bot, via Bluetooth, towards the user. The other phone records the video.

The bot is pretty jumpy in the example video, but this can be taken care of with better motors. For a proof-of-concept, it works. A video of it in action after the break.

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23 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Selfie Bot Let’s You Vlog Hands Free

  1. Very cool! He might want to consider using steppers or BLDC motors to allow the camera to move more smoothly (higher resolution, etc, blah blah blah), but this makes for an awesome proof of concept. Great work :)

    1. Wow, by “possessive” I mean “contraction” — oh, the cold irony of hitting “post” before reading your own comment criticizing someone else’s grammar :-)

        1. I know I’m one of the worst gamer and speller person. But I get by and get my point across.
          and you know I dont really know why I’m adding anything to this.
          Please take no affiance.

          Great work you guys did a really great job.

  2. Okay. I rolled my eyes because ‘selfie’ and ‘vblog’, arghh. But wow. :)
    A 3D printed enclosure that has tracking capability is awesome. It actually seems to pan and tilt like an older security system. There is a lot that could be improved upon, but excellent prototype IMO.

    There is some noise in the video; is it coming from the 3D printer(s) or from the SelfieBot?

  3. It would take more than just replacing the motors (and writing the drivers to go with them). The machine was jerky because the software wasn’t working very well (not running control loops often/fast enough, always a second or two late).

  4. Why the heck he creates that gizmo and then puts phone there vertically? Because he likes to shoot white empty wall? Because he wants to illustrate just how big his head is so it is not able to to fit in a frame? Why, just why?

    1. I was going to mention that. Twist that thing around [Sergey Mironov].
      Maybe the final version will fix the issue.

      Print “For best results mount device horizontally” on that thing…
      …and throw a few decals that say that as well! ;)

  5. Thank you, guys!
    Yes, in the video I used servo motor with metall gear, and its power (~10 kg*cm) is not enough to work silent. If you place ~500 gramm Tablet, sometimes servo makes noise.
    I tried servo with plastic gear, it was a bit more silent. Also I should improve controlling electonics…
    So, there are many issues to improve. We shared all program codes, components, STL-files. Try to assemble SelfieBot and share your ideas with us!

  6. Dear Hackaday community and great respect to Gerrit Coetzee!
    My name is George Fomitchev and I am a founder of Endurance. Sergey is my partner.

    First of all I would like to give you a link to our web site where we tried to describe and upload as many info as possible:

    It is fully open – source project and everything is on our web site: STLs, firmware source, app source, etc.
    You can buy parts yourself in any shop like RadioShack or ebay / Amazon

    Second we understand that it is not perfect yet and we do not know how to solve the issue of splitting a camera on android one you use

    for face tracking and the second stream you use for skype or hangouts (for example)

    if someone knows how to solve this issue, let me know.

    Third, we are looking forward to build a DIY SelfieBot community where people can share their opinions and thought, for example,

    replace servos with stepper mottors, use Intel Genuino, etc.
    We also need some sort of a lesson plan.

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