Cypherbot uses older uC and retro-controller

[PJ Allen] has been working on a little robot which he calls Cypherbot. The control circuitry is quite familiar; a Board of Education which features the Basic Stamp 2 microcontroller. This is an older and slower microprocessor, but it works quite well for this application since there’s no need for speed or heavy number crunching. The wheels of the bot are made out of plastic lids (we’re thinking peanut butter jars) with rubber bands for traction that are each driven by a servo motor. The third wheel is tiny and swivels as needed.

The front of the bot has a PING ultrasonic sensor mounted on a servo motor which lets the bot scan back and forth for a wider obstacle avoidance angle. In addition to the autonomous mode there’s an Xbee remote control. [PJ] picked up an Atari keyboard and is using that as the user input. Check out the little guy driving around the house in the video after the break.

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Crank-arm Style Hexapod

The latest robot out of Nolebotic is Al.I.S.E, or Aluminum, Infrared Scanning Entity. Don’t let the name fool you, its a pretty simple take on the classic hexapod walking platform using a crank arm and leavers made into the legs.

The body of the robot is made out of aluminum which is pretty easy to work with at home, lightweight, and sturdy. Bolted to the body are a pair of beefy gear head motors, a 9.6 volt rechargeable battery pack, along with a basic stamp 2 and its own 9 volt supply, and a Solarbotics 1198 CMD driver board.

Obstacles are handled right now with rudimentary infrared detectors and emitters, but it seems to work pretty good avoiding some library books in the demo. Combine that with clean mechanics and a pretty good stride and this thing can get up and move pretty quick.

Cannihilator can crusher

This box will crush your cans and deposit them in the bin below. Branded the Cannihilator, [Jeff Walsh] built this with his two sons, [Jake] and [Ryan]. Early hacking eduction is important if they want their future projects to be regular Hackaday features.

The crushing power is provided by a solenoid pneumatic ram. As seen in the video after the break, the can goes in the door on the left, is crushed, then drops through a slot. [Jeff] had fingers and hands in mind when designing this and included a few safety features. The “crush” button is locate on the opposite end from the can slot, there is a kill switch to disable the solenoid, and a keyed switch to shut the whole apparatus down. A Basic Stamp 2 microcontroller handles the electronics with the help of a daughter-board to manage the load switching. This is a nice addition to the creative can crushers out there.

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Interfacing with an analog joystick

[Firestorm_x1] put together a tutorial about interfacing an analog joystick with a microcontroller. These analog sticks are easy to find; he got his from Goodwill but we’ve got a couple in our junk box right now. The stick uses variable resistors to report its position so it’s just a matter of reading and interpreting that data. After explaining the concepts he demonstrates how to use the joystick to control a Basic Stamp 2 based robot, the Boe-Bot. This could easily be adapted for use with other robot platforms.

Skip Vegas with this BS slot machine


We caught a glimpse of this Basic Stamp 2 controlled electronic slot machine on YouTube. We’re very grateful that [Mike Donahue] was willing to share more about his project with us.

He uses tactile switches instead of dropping coins in a slot, and a lever-style switch sets the one-armed bandit in motion. The action is displayed on a 1.5″ µOLED-128-G1 screen that has its own controller (which explains how this operates so well with the relatively slow BS2). For realism there’s some pretty good sound effects provided by a piezo speaker. We’ll look at the code, graphics, and some video after the break. [Read more...]