Take Your Robots Tubing

When you think of a robot, you might think of one with wheels, tracks, or even legs. But today’s robots are as likely to have wings, props, or even some way to propel it through the water. If you are bored with quadcopters and want to build a water-going robot, you should check out Jalcboat, an open source robot/boat. Although the project is under development, the videos (see below) show that they’ve made a good bit of progress.

As you might expect, 3D printing is a key ingredient and the files are available on Thingiverse linked above. In addition, the robotic boat has a Raspberry Pi onboard to control brushless motors. The main web site is more of a discussion forum and some of it is in Spanish, so you might want to keep Google translate handy.

Another simple way to create a water-capable robot is to start with an RC toy. However, Jalcboat already has modifications for things like seaweed-resistant screws, which will be harder to achieve on a hacked toy. We love the look of the inner tube wearing bot, but 3D Printing can also yield something flashier.

Winter is coming. But will be a good use of indoor time to work up a water robot for next summer. Or you can terrorize your local indoor waterpark if it’s completed sooner.


16 thoughts on “Take Your Robots Tubing

  1. I watched that video and I immediately thought, ‘What a great safety device for public beaches.’ A beach resort community could have a hundred or so larger versions of these floating around autonomously in some pre-defined area ready, perhaps under the remote control of some lifeguard, to come to the aid of distressed swimmers. I’m not sure how they’d be powered though.

    1. Look up E.M.I.L.Y. – it’s a “robot lifeguard” that’s been around for a couple of years. It’s powerful enough to get through riptides, carry a swimmer back to shore and can reach speeds up to 22mph! A brilliant invention.

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