Hackaday Prize Entry: Robo-Dog Learns to Heel

[Radu Motisan] is working on a small rover whose primary trick is being able to identify its owner. Robo-Dog is his proof of concept, a rover that uses five ultrasonic sensors to move toward the nearest obstruction. Obviously, this isn’t the same as being able to recognize one person from another, but it’s a start.

The sensors were home-built using ultrasonic capsules soldered into a custom board, with the tube-shaped enclosures made out of PVC pipe. He made an ultrasonic beacon that uses a 556 timer IC to emit 40 KHz pulses so he can get the hang of steering the robot purely with sound. If that fails, Robo-Dog also has an infrared proximity sensor in front. All of it is controlled by an ATmega128 board and a custom H-bridge motor controller.

[Radu] has been fine-tuning the algorithm, making Robo-Dog move faster to catch up with a target that’s far away, but slower to one that’s close by. It compares the readings from two sensors to compute the angle of approach.

This LED table really ties the room together


Along with quadrotors, and portable game consoles, one of the hacks we never get tired of seeing is an LED matrix table. [Christian Enchelmaier] wrote in to share his take on the ever popular pixelated furniture, which we think came out pretty well (Translation).

Instead of going for a full-sized coffee table, [Christian] decided to keep things on the smaller scale his first time out, opting for an ottoman/end table nstead. He constructed a 16×16 matrix using RGB LEDs, encapsulating each one in its own “pixel”, as is common with these builds. [Christian] uses an Atmega 128 to run the show, displaying the current time and date, temperature, music visualizations, games, images, along with short videos. He also outfitted the table with an IR receiver so that he can control the table’s display from afar.

As of right now, [Christian] doesn’t have any video of the table in action, but there’s plenty in the way of pictures scattered throughout his build log to keep you busy in the meantime.