Pipe crawling snake robot is a masterpiece of a senior project

Here’s an oldie but a goodie: [Eiki], [Mark], and [Sheraz] built a pipe crawling robot for their senior engineering project at Florida Atlantic University way back in 2004. Despite being a rather old build, its aged well and still demonstrates the clever ways the guys overcame some engineering obstacles.

The original plan for the pipe crawler was to mount three spring-loaded wheels 120° apart at the fore and aft of each robot section. Six independent wheels for each section of the robot is overly complex, and too much for a single operator to control; the team moved on to a ‘screw drive’ system where each wheel is canted forward a few degrees. This drive system propels the snakebot along by simply spinning, although it does bring in a few challenges all its own.

The robot had separate sections consisting to house a motor, camera, and electronics, so a way to pass wires through a rotating shaft was needed. This came in the form of a few pairs of incredibly small ball bearings around a hollow shaft. After the mechanical portion of the build was finished, the team moved on to the electronic part where an IMU was built out of three small gyroscope sensors mounted perpendicularly to each other.

Sadly, there are no videos of the inside of a sewage pipe from the pipe crawler’s point of view, but YouTube wasn’t launched until a year after this project was finished.


Recorder controlled Snake game played on a Nokia 6110

Dig out an old cell phone, hit the dollar store for some plastic recorders, and build this sound controlled snake game for your next party. The project will be a snap for those comfortable working with microcontrollers, and a great learning experience if you’re looking to try your first Arduino project.

[László] and his friend call the project the Snake Charmer. As shown in the clip after the jump it uses music notes to direct the path of the solid line in the classic cellphone game of snake. But this isn’t just some PC-based rip-off. They’re playing on the actual cellphone. A camera points at the screen to project it for the enjoyment of spectators. The control scheme uses relays soldered to the pads of the four directional buttons. The pitches are being detected by a Max/MSP program, with the corresponding commands pushed to the Arduino via USB. Yep, it’s overkill but the point was to get this up and running quickly and with a minimum of work. We’d say they succeeded.

Actually, now that we think of it, this isn’t a two player game. Perhaps the recorder control concept needs to be applied to a more modern version of the game.

Continue reading “Recorder controlled Snake game played on a Nokia 6110”

Snake-the-Planet makes a game board out of your surroundings

It’s Friday night and these guys are driving around town looking for a good spot to play a head-to-head game of Snake. It’s not that they need somewhere to sit (they travel with a couch and floor lamp for that purpose) it’s that they’re using a projector and camera to make a game out of their surroundings.

A white Mystery-Machine-style van has room for everything they need to make the traveling arcade happen. A mobile power supply provides juice to the camera and projector. To get started, the system takes a high-contrast black and white photo of the surface in front of it. Everything that appears below the white threshold becomes a wall on the game board, everything else is a playable area. Obstacles are formed by windows, doorways, pipes, signs, pieces of foam board the guys hang on a wall, and even your body if you stand in the way during scanning. From there the guys each grab a joystick and play the hacker-favorite game of snake.

After the break you can watch a description of how the system works. Continue reading “Snake-the-Planet makes a game board out of your surroundings”

FPGA Snake game uses no VHDL at all

We’re really not supposed to start a feature like this; but this hack is awesome. It’s a game of Snake implemented by an FPGA dev board. It uses a 16×16 LED matrix as the display and an SNES controller for input. So far it sounds like a very normal version of the game. But as you start to hear how it works in the presentation after the break you fall in love with what’s going on here.

First of all, it’s not written in VHDL — the predominant programming language for FPGAs. Instead, [Darrell] used the schematic-only approach to build the logic. Okay, that’s starting to get more interesting. As he continues to explain the circuit we get to see how the control input works (pretty simple since the SNES controller uses a parallel-to-serial shift register) and how the display is multiplexed. But the actual game logic is where things really take off. Each pixel in the display has its own individual logic circuit. Basically every cell is its own processor which reacts both to what is passed into it, as well as to a random seed. That seed system is called the ‘bucket brigade’ and passes a chance to spawn a piece of food from one cell to the next. All of this together makes for one simple game that is eloquently executed. Continue reading “FPGA Snake game uses no VHDL at all”

Snake-bot gives us the mechanical heevy-jeevies

Basilisk? Nope, just your run-of-the-mill giant serpentine robot build. This build aims to recreate Titanoboa, a prehistoric snake which measured more than fifty feet long and weighted over a ton. They’re well on their way to completing the goal, as what you see above is fully operational, lacking only cosmetic niceties which would only serve to make the beast less horrifying.

The video after the shows the snake getting round an open space, presumably at the eatArt headquarters in Vancouver. You may remember the team from one of their other builds also featured in that clip, the Mondo Spider. Eventually, the snake will have a rider just like the spider does, sitting in a saddle mounted just behind the head. There’s few details about the hardware, but we know it’s hydraulic, and that they raised $10k to make the build possible.

For some reason seeing these bots interact gives us flashbacks to childhood cartoons. Is it possible the eatArt crew has been watching too many old G.I. Joe cartoons and the like?

Continue reading “Snake-bot gives us the mechanical heevy-jeevies”

Hackaday links: October 4, 2011

Playing Snake on a MIDI controller

While you’re waiting for your bandmates to finish arguing/making out/their beer, you can play Snake on your MIDI controller. Luis wrote a Snake game for an Akai APC40 controller. Everything is built with Processing and should provide a great distraction from (for?) your 14-year-old groupies.

Cheap & simple PCB holder

[Robert] sent in a tip for a very simple PCB holder. Take a neo magnet, embed it in oven-hardening modeling clay, and use it on a steel worktop. Check out the pics he sent in (1, 2). It’s too simple not to work.

Lose weight by running people over

[binaryhead] is using a stationary bicycle to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. (Spanish, Google translate here). A pot and magnet/reed switch is connected to an Arduino that outputs keys to San Andreas. There’s no word on an ambulance simulator yet.

Giant Android tablet

[Martin Draskov] made a 23 inch Android tablet. He used off the shelf parts (multitouch monitor and a small PC) with the x86 Android port. There’s a video that doesn’t include Angry Birds. Sad, that.

T-shirt bleaching for the modern fabricator

With t-shirt bleaching, you can put a custom design on clothes without a screen printing setup. Reddit user [Admiral_Noosenbaum] used a CNC machine to make templates. Now if only we can find an .SGV file of Che Guevara. Video here.

Playing snake with a TV remote

[vinod] sent in his replica of a Snake game, the game to play on old Nokia dumb phones.

The build is based on a PIC16F877 microcontroller just like previous Snake builds we’ve seen, but [vinod] didn’t use physical buttons in his build. Instead, he used a Philips infrared TV remote to control the game. The infrared controller only takes up one pin on the microcontroller, as opposed to the 4 pins of the easiest four button setup. [vinod] also threw in a simple one-transistor level converter so Snake can be played with a PC via RS-232. With the PIC code included in the build, it’s a great build that reminds us of a more civilized age.

The video of [vinod]’s snake game in action is posted after the break, but we noticed that the snake is allowed to ‘warp around’ the sides of the LED matrix. Some people might consider that cheating but that can be fixed by changing a few lines of code.

Continue reading “Playing snake with a TV remote”