I'm newly obsessed with coming up with an open source spherical robot design inspired by the nifty Sphero.
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- Control via pc/smartphone (bluetooth)
- 3D printable parts (sphere shell, supports, wheels, gears, suspension)
- Not overly expensive ($100 or less build)
- Programmable controls
- Inductive charging (homing base?)
Thinking of a smaller arduino compatible board with a small lower power bluetooth module like the RN-42.
Links to other people's bluetooth/android/arduino hacks
Justin, Dave, and I printed a cute litttle 3d sphere last night. After a little hot glue, it held together quite well. The sphere is on the table in the space. Not as bouncy as a ping-pong ball, but it survived a serious whacking. This is what it looks like:
We printed it at 3/4 size. It took half a meter of filament and about 30 minute per identical half. The prototype bot sphere would be about 4", use probably 5+ meters of filament, and cost about $2/bot in plastic.
We hatched a vague plan to work on a sort of open source version of the Sphero for experimental/fun purposes: http://www.gosphero.com/
The thingiverse part seems like a viable spherical chasis, so the next step is to make a dummy bot to go inside that just drives it around as a test. After that it's adding the radio, compass (and accelerometer?), lithium battery, flashing LEDS, and charging circuit. Paul said he'd be willing to design an inductive charging circuit. As you can see, the bot has a nice little spring-loaded friction guide that keeps it's wheels on the inside of the ball for reliable traction. We thought about also painting the inside of the sphere with a rubbery paint.
- Printable parametric springs!
- minimal chassis bot (earlier version of MSB v1)
- MiniSkyBot v1 minimal chassis 2 wheel bot
About the Sphero
Sphero internals: http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39664/
Sphero product: http://www.gosphero.com/