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A robot vacuum cleaner that ex-ter-mi-nates dust.

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This project was created on 06/04/2014 and last updated 8 months ago.

An autonomous driving robot, wifi connected and built mostly from scrap. Capable of maping it's surroundings (in house) this robot will form the base for a Dalek robot vacuum cleaner.

The idea

I've been thinking about building a robot for a very long time but since i didn't have any direct purpose i never got around to actually buiding it. I have been looking at vacuum robots lately and that sparked the idea to build my own, better, version. 

I don't understand why most vacuum robots are round and low. Well, i understand the low part is so that it can get under your couch and stuff but it seriously decreases the available space for the sucking part of the robot. I would rather have a robot that is capable of cleaning all the visible dust in those corners than one that cleans the invisible dust under the couch. I'm perfectly capable of cleaning under the couches when i feel the need.

So. i want a vacuum cleaner that is able to get into corners and i don't really care about the places i can't see anyway. I also want it look better than a Roomba, which isn't really that hard, and i want it to be able to dump the collected dust while it's recharging. I wouldn't mind if it has a bigger dustbucket and i would like it if it sucks more that the avarage robotic vacuum cleaner. I'm told that a cyclonic dust collector actually works pretty well so maybe i can include that into my wishes?

While considering my options i came accross a blog which had detailed plans for building a Dalek. The Dalek form is high enough to house a cyclonic dust collecter, has some edges at the base which would probably allow it to get into corners and it appeals to my inner nerd. So a clyclonic, robotic Dalek it must be. Of course i need to think of a way to have it empty it's dustbucket.

The Hardware

The robot should be controllable from a smartphone but over the internet would be nice as well which is why i chose wifi for the communication. I've got a bricked TP-link that will be perfect for the job provided i can get it up and running again. There's a hardware mod that breaks out i2c from the router board. The i2c will be used to interface between the router and various modules throughout the robot, motors, arms, head and such. The modular design will enable others to use parts they like in other projects.

I already have some ultrasonic and IR distancesensors that will be used. There will be some microswitch touch sensors in the base and probably something underneath to measure ground clearance and avoid falling down the stairs.

I want the robot to collect the information it gathers while cleaning and store it. It should be able to map it's surroundings, know where it can or cannot go and which places have already been done. Based on the data it should be able to move around in a smart way. In a later stadium i might even add some way of measuring the amount of dust it gathers so it knows which areas need to be cleaned more often.

I am just starting this project, there's a few bits and pieces i have laying around that might be usefull, and i'm thinking about size, function etcetera. My budget is minimum, if anyone feels the need to sponsor any part of this project don't hesitate to inform me.

  • 1 × A cpu board Something with some processing power and WIFI, i've got a couple of different routers laying around. One of them will fit the bill.
  • 2 × Geared drive motors I'm gonna go for tracks with tank control, need two decently sized motors, probably geared down a little.
  • 2 × Microsoft sidewinder joysticks These i've already got. I'm thinking thay would make great front arms (the suction cup and laser gun. Just need to figure out if they will fit.
  • 1 × USB camera For the eye of course.
  • 1 × RC Hobby servo For moving the eye arm.
  • 1 × Some microcontrollers for controlling different modules. I'm thinking about using i2c from the CPU board to variouos modules in the robot.
  • 1 × Some sensors Distance sensors, bump sensors, perhaps even PIR.
  • 1 × A big fan I've got a 24cm fan but some rough calculations showed that is way to big, 12cm is more like it.
  • 1 × A Geared motor To rotate the head.
  • 1 × Batteries Don't know what i need yet, don;t have anything laying around either.

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Project logs
  • Vote! Damnit

    8 months ago • 0 comments

    Just added a picture to get those chicks to vote for me.

  • Uploaded pictures

    8 months ago • 0 comments

    As promised i uploaded the pictures that were used in the video. These pictures show the current prototype platform and a mockup screen layout for control of the robot.

    The protype platform is build from Lego. It's a small six wheeled platform with four dc motors. Two motors on each side, all six wheels are driven. Some loose wires are visible on top of the platform, these connect to the motor inputs, these wires are wedged between the motor connectors and another lego brick. This way i din't need to break or alter any Lego parts. The motors will be controlled by one TLE 4202B motorcontroller per two motors. I chose these because i have a bunch of them from Pollin for just 50 eurocents each.

    The other picture is a mockup of the screen layout for controlling the robot. Main feature in this layout is the use of a hexagonal grid. Hexagonal grids are often used in games and i believe they have some advantages over regular cubic grids. A lot of info about this can be found on Amit Patels website.

  • Video!

    9 months ago • 0 comments

    So, from what i understand i need to upload a video to increase my changes to stay in the game. Right ...

    I had been preparing some stuff to upload to the blog but this video-thing is not my cup of tea. But i installed some tools, scrounged some materials and did my best. Stuff shown in the video will be uploaded here too.

    I think the video is moving along to fast right now, i may have to some more editing. For a first time video editing i think it's allright though.

    So, without any further adue;

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Erand wrote 9 months ago point
Hah made me so nostalgic. Had a similar idea a while ago, but to water plants.

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witchdoc wrote 9 months ago point
Heh, nice :) what's on the other end of the cable? I mean, what is the guy carrying?

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Adam Fabio wrote 10 months ago point
A dalek dust busting robot? Sign me up! Just make sure it doesn't exterminate the cat! Can't wait to see what you come up with. Keep the pictures rolling in, and thanks for entering The Hackaday prize.

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witchdoc wrote 10 months ago 1 point
don't know. I don't trust cats, they seem to have just as many lives as the doctor and who knows what they do in those litter boxes ...

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