Baby’s First Hands-Free Stroller

So you’ve had your first child. Congratulations; your life will never be the same again. [Dusan] was noticing how the introduction of his children into his life altered it by giving him less time for his hobbies in his home laboratory, and decided to incorporate his children into his hacks. The first one to roll out of his lab is a remote-controlled baby stroller.

After some engineering-style measurements (lots of rounding and estimating), [Dusan] found two motors to drive each of the back wheels on a custom stroller frame. He created a set of wooden gears to transfer power from the specialized motors to the wheels. After some batteries and an Arduino were installed, the stroller was ready to get on the road. At this point, though, [Dusan] had a problem. He had failed to consider the fact that children grow, and the added weight of the child was now too much for his stroller. After some adjustments were made (using a lighter stroller frame), the stroller was eventually able to push his kid around without any problems.

This is an interesting hack that we’re not sure has much utility other than the enjoyment that came from creating it. Although [Dusan]’s kid certainly seems to enjoy cruising around in it within a close distance to its operator. Be sure to check out the video of it in operation below, and don’t forget that babies are a great way to persuade your significant other that you need more tools in your work bench, like a CNC machine for example.

26 thoughts on “Baby’s First Hands-Free Stroller

      1. Load cell in the handle…
        PID to maintain 0 force (or a few pounds if you want to help the motors out).

        I have wanted to make a self propelled cart like that for the Dayton Hamvention flea market… For the heavy stuff. ;)

        1. A load cell could be expensive, and then you have to worry about analog noise.

          Consider my lawnmower. The throttle is broken and is now a bar in front of the handle loosely held in place with wire. When I push on the handle, it opens the throttle and the mower moves forward. As the mower moves forward, the throttle starts to close and eventually matches my walking speed.

      2. The forces actually cancel out very nicely if you just mount an accelerometer on the frame. The forward pointing axis will read exactly the force that is currently being used to counter gravity. Then you can decide to give e.g. 50% of that force from the motors, which gives torque, which gives the motor current, which can then be used in the motor PID control loop.

        I’ve been using it on my ebike for a while now:
        https://github.com/PetteriAimonen/ebike-controller/blob/master/src/bike_control_task.c#L92
        Overall it seems to work pretty nicely, though it doesn’t detect wind and snow and other resisting forces. But for a stroller those are probably not a big issue.

  1. A friend has a commercially-produced remote controlled-cart for his golf clubs. Some hiccup at one point sent the cart out of reach and it continued rolling down a long hill into a pond. But, a remote controlled baby stroller seems like a great idea.

  2. When my oldest daughter (now 20 yld), was a toddler, I made a 3 wheel tank drive car child seat with two windshield wiper motors and two tires from a hand trolley. Steering was with two double switch throw switches as joysticks, so two hand tank style driving. She was a little scared about the jerkiness but otherwise got confident in moving around as a faster way than crawling on the floor. It got decommissioned after using it at the coffee table as a child chair: She reached for her cup and leaned forward pushing both switches and driving straight ahead pushing the 40 pounds coffee table into the wall! Wife didn’t liked it that much after that, even though I had added a horn and headlight.

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