Tank Router Defends Your Pets?

The guys over at Section9 Hackerspace in Springfield, Missouri just finished building this treaded robot. Despite the juxtaposition of the cat, it really doesn’t defend anything. The project is a reconnaissance robot controlled over the network with video feedback.

The team started off with some lofty goals. They wanted to the robot to be able to climb stairs and to feature a detachable flying portion in order to get a better look at hard to reach places. Cost and complexity are cited as the reasons they ditched the idea of the flyer. The rest of the features came out much as planned. The motor controller for the treads is connected to an Arduino. This uses an Ethernet shield to connect to the WRT54G router which is also coming along for the ride. This seems a bit over-powered but it makes it easy to connect the webcam on the front (also via Ethernet).

On the software side they wrote an Android app. It controls the movement of the robot, as well as that of the camera. Of course you need to see where you’re going so they went the extra mile to include video from the webcam. Check out their show-and-tell video after the break.


13 thoughts on “Tank Router Defends Your Pets?

      1. I am going to hate myself for sharing this, but honesty requires it.

        Guys, you can easily find WRT routers – DD-WRT capable and not – in your local Goodwill for less than 10 bucks.

        Go out and get them – whether it be for robots or for the day they shut down the internet – it’s a freaking deal.

  1. Impressive design. On one hand I was dissapointed to see that the router is not “the brain” of this thing, hoping perhaps that someone flashed a “robot router” firmware or something like that (if I knew how to do firmware). I wonder if that’s possible at all?

    By the way, there as a news report roughly a year ago about a failed military contractor that sold “anti-IED robots” to the military for some serious bucks, but their robots were crap, and when they liquidated their stocks after going bankrupt, people purchased the equipment and discovered that they robots had routers in them that appeared to have been removed from their original cases – they were household routers. I don’t recall the link though.

  2. The way the Android control system is implemented is very impressive. Nice to have the sources released – I can easily see this system being used for the backbone of interesting remote-controlled projects.

  3. Great build ! I’ve been playing with the idea for a while too, ’bout time to get my tools out…..
    And using whatever you’ve got lying around is what hacking’s all about isn’t it ? Everyone can buy a WiFi-enabled webcam and/or an Apple irport Express and do the job but this is genuine !!!

  4. may i suggest a rechargable pack(‘s) so at 6:32 they dont have to go to the store and buy more AA’s and also may i suggest solar or magnetic charging so if your out and about they can drive to the charging station and or sunlight and filler up.

  5. Figure out how to connect a wifi hot spot and with a little port forwarding you could be driving this thing around the neighborhood from your lazy boy. I would sub the AAs for some hobby Lipos.

    For the flying bit, the complicated part is the landing and reattaching. I would opt for a teatherd option and retractable teather that would supply power and data to the flying module. You can get something like an electric fishing reel, (yes they make em) so instead of the flying module landing your actually reeling it back into place.

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