Barbie’s web rover

[Hunter, Kyle, and Dylan] sent us some information on their Barbie Web Rover. It’s an old barbie power wheels jeep that’s been converted to a web enabled remote control car. They ripped out the old drive train and tore out the steering system. The rear tires are now independently driven for steering. It’s using an Arduino to control the motors and an Acer Aspire loaded with linux for the higher functions. It’s cool that they mention the farthest test being over 1600 miles away, but when it’s web enabled, does distance really matter?

They mention that the coolness factor is proportionate to the size and we have to agree, as long as they keep it small enough to not cause any real damage. You can build a web enabled rover with a little more effort from just a router, if you don’t want to give up your laptop.

Home made R/C system

[dunk] sent his home made Radio Control system. It is constructed from a Playstation 2 controller, an Atmega 2561, microcontroller, some RF modules and various servos and motors. It seems to work pretty well. You can get all the schematics and source code on his site. Several people have submitted a similar project which involves an iPhone and a helicopter, but that one is a bit dubious, mainly due to it’s lack of detail.

Radio Controlled Nerf Tank

[Travis7s] has built this giant Nerf Tank. Featuring Radio controls, a web cam, laser sights, and the ability to play music, this thing is pretty awesome.  He’s using the Nerf Vulcan rifle, temporarily modified with a servo for remote firing. This thing is pretty huge, as you can see from the video, it sits about as high as the seat cushions of the chairs in his house. The sound system is an amplifier and some speakers hooked up to an iPod. This thing could use a nice coat of paint to make it a little more menacing and a little less Nerf. What it really needs though, is the ability to play sounds from a sound board. Imagine the Imperial March as it enters a room, or maybe a sound board with appropriate insults and phrases for the onslaught.

Autonomous ATV

A team at UNC Charlotte has been working on an autonomous vehicle to drag a cart that has sensing equipment. Starting with a stock Honda ATV, different systems were added to give a Renesas processor control of the ATV.  A model airplane receiver was attached to the Renesas to give remote control for Phase 1 of the project. Basically they’ve turned the ATV into a giant remote controlled car.

Later revisions will incorporate LIDAR, cameras, and multiple GPS units so the ATV can autonomously traverse most terrain with a high level of accuracy. Path planning will become a large part of the project at that point.

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Radio controlled beetle


Scientists at the university of California have managed to implant a chip in a giant flower beetle that makes it respond to commands from the computer. They can tell it to fly, stop, turn left and turn right.  The controls are done through its optic nerves and wing muscles. Though the article states that flight signals are sent to the optic lobes and steering is done through stimulation of the wing muscles, the video shows steering being accomplished through optic lobe stimulation.

Though we’re sure there’s some grand scientific goal behind this, we can’t help but think (hope) that we’ll be seeing giant robot controlled beetle battles with lasers and rockets.

Radio controlled sphere

[prabbit22m] has written an instructable on how to build a radio controlled sphere. The mechanism is fairly simple, with one drive motor, one servo and a gyro for stability. To turn, the servo shifts the center of gravity off to one side. You can see that the system works pretty well in the video above. If it didn’t have that gyro, it would be insane, believe us, we’ve done our own experimenting. If you like this, but want more features, check out this one that has a camera and takes pictures wherever it goes. We can’t forget Swarm either. The autonomous swarm of robot spheres. Of coarse [prabbit22m] might have the best idea of all. Dress it up as a regular ball to mess with people.