Cute Tiny Robot Gets a Pair of Hacked Eyes

One day while at our poor, poor Radio Shack, [davidhend] purchased a little 6-legged walking robot. It came with an infrared remote that allowed a user to control its movements from afar. After a few minutes of making the robot walk around [davidhend] got bored and decided it would be a great toy to hack.

His plan was to make the robot autonomous and able to avoid obstacles. To start off, the robot was taken apart enough to expose the circuit board. There he found a ST1155A bi-directional motor driver that was controlled by an on-board microcontroller. After checking out the ST1155A data sheet, [davidhend] thought he would be able to drive it with an Arduino. So, out came the soldering iron and all the unnecessary components were removed from the original circuit board.

An off the shelf PING))) sensor was mounted on the front of the robot and is responsible for detecting obstacles. That information is then sent back to the Arduino Nano which controls the motor driver to make the robot back up, turn and then start walking straight again until another obstacle is detected. [davidhend] made his Arduino Code (.zip file) available to anyone who wants to make a similar project. Check out the video after the break!

Oh, and if you plan to run down to the Shack to pick up a robot of your own you better do it like right now.

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Sphere Morphing Hexabot Takes On The Wilderness

[Zenta’s] sphere morphing hexabot, the MorpHex, continues to impress us. He’s just released a video showing it off — by having it roll down a hill!

We’ve been following the MorpHex since 2011, and it really is an amazing project — especially when it started to roll around on its own! In this latest update, [Zenta] was trying to get a good outdoor test video, as he’s never seen a hexapod robot roll down a hill. The video (and rolling) goes smoothly until about 3 minutes 36 seconds in, when the MorpHex experiences a catastrophic inner body servo failure!

Surprisingly, it didn’t fail during its tumble down the hill, but when it was just walking around afterwards. [Zenta] attributes it to a poor quality servo and had bad feelings about it breaking previously. Not fixing it earlier resulted in having to spend 10 hours of his Easter holiday taking Morphex apart and repairing it! Just goes to show… don’t wait until it’s too late to fix something!

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