Bit the RoboDawg

A loving family robot dog

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Bit the RoboDawg uses an IR emitter and IR photodiode pair at 3 cardinal points (north, east, and west) to determine the direction it should move. The user attaches the IR emitter (BitBeacon) to their back and Bit detects the light source and follows it. We would also like to add voice commands such as come and stop to override the BitBeacon signal. But those are just nice features. :) Bit will prove to be the perfect family robot dog for the hacker.

I'm working on this project with a couple of friends: Shadman Jubaer, Curtis Slaubaugh, Shubhankar Takle, Sriram Boppana, Greg Berglund, and Axel Masquelin. Follow along with us! Or join if you would like.


Version 1.0.0 Please see GitHub to keep up to date with bill of materials.

sheet - 47.65 kB - 05/31/2016 at 04:25



Version 1.0.0. Please see GitHub to keep up to date with bill of materials.

sheet - 50.81 kB - 05/31/2016 at 04:25


  • Bit the RoboDawg Instructable is Live and is Featured!

    Orlando Hoilett06/24/2016 at 21:43 0 comments

    Submitted the Bit Instructable a few hours ago. Here's the link

    I was also super excited to see that the Instructable was featured. Check out that gold medal.

    I also submitted the Instructable into a the DIY Summer Camp Challenge, the Dog Challenge, and the Makerspace Contest. So fingers crossed.

    Bit has been a really fun project and it's not over yet. Many more updates to come.

  • Bit Barks and Likes Being Petted

    Orlando Hoilett06/24/2016 at 13:50 0 comments

  • Working on Bit the RoboDawg Instructable

    Orlando Hoilett06/24/2016 at 13:44 0 comments

    I have been working on the Instructable for Bit for a few days now. I wanted to wait to add barking and petting recognition for the Dog Challenge. I will also enter Bit in the Makerspace Contest.

    I think I am about finished with getting Bit to bark and respond to petting. Video to soon to come!

  • Bit the RoboDawg Demo at VIIBRE, Vanderbilt University

    Orlando Hoilett06/18/2016 at 13:11 0 comments

    Friday, June 17, 2016

    Orlando visited his old lab at Vanderbilt University at demoed Bit in the lab. People were amused by it.

  • Bit Doesn't Work in Direct Sunlight [SOLVED]

    Orlando Hoilett06/18/2016 at 13:11 0 comments

    Sunday June 12, 2016

    We realized that Bit would not work in direct sunlight. It appears that the BitReceptor circuit has too high of a gain in the initial transimpedance stage. Direct sunlight is railing the op amp at the first gain stage removing the AC component of the BitBeacon. Initially when we designed the BitReceptor circuit, we had a simple transimpedance stage with a very small feedback resistor. The small feedback resistor provided gain in the first stage, but too much as to not saturate the op amp. The next gain stage has a high pass filter which filters out DC which ends up being from background light (sunlight, nearby lamps, other random IR emitters, etc.). This is our solution to make our photosensor circuit immune to ambient light. Although, it appears we made the gain of the first transimpedance stage too high by using a 22.6k resistor. A few simple tests show that a 1k or 2k resistor would be fine though.

    Also, Shadman is starting to work on the PCB for the new BitBeacon circuit. Should be fun!

  • New BitBeacon Circuit Works!

    Orlando Hoilett06/18/2016 at 13:03 0 comments

    Saturday, June 11, 2016

    Edited the BitBeacon (light emitter circuit). Created a square wave oscillator which feeds into a square wave to sine wave filter circuit. We amplified the sine wave signal and used that signal to drive an NPN transistor which lights the IR LEDs for the BitBeacon. We also created an additional circuit that lights a red LED with the amplified AC sine wave. This gives us visual feedback on whether or not the circuit is oscillating and not just railing.

  • BitBeacon Stops Working When Outside

    Orlando Hoilett06/18/2016 at 13:02 0 comments

    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    Tested Bit outside. It appears the BitBeacon stops operating outside. Not sure why. We have used outside plenty of times. We did make a very minor modification to Bit since the early Bit demos at night, but still..... Anyways, will need to change the BitBeacon circuit. I’m (Orlando) thinking a square wave oscillator to a square to sine wave filter.

  • Notes from Taking Bit Around the Weldon School

    Orlando Hoilett06/18/2016 at 13:00 0 comments

    Friday, June 3, 2016

    Taking around BME: May need to decrease the light intensity a bit more. Still having trouble differentiating between north and northwest/northeast. Maybe use one less LED to narrow the BitBeacon beam width. Or decrease the buffer zone in the code that delineates north from northwest or northeast.

    Maybe if Bit could detect when it’s in a room and act appropriately.

    We still have to more or less direct the IR lights. Bit is not ready for follow-me action yet. It still has to be directed 20% of the time or so.

    Also, for clearing doors. Maybe if Bit could detect that there is a door open maybe a command “Come through the door.” Then if Bit could determine the best route to take to come through the door and start following the Beacon after that.

    Or maybe, when we get into a room and don’t have enough clearance for the light sensors, Bit can switch modes for follow-me. Maybe at that point, it could use the ultrasonic distance sensors.

    We definitely need a fuel gauge on Bit to monitor battery voltage and maybe battery voltage vs. performance because we definitely see a difference in performance when the battery is low.

  • Working on Adding an Ultrasonic Distance Sensor to Bit to help with Wall Avoidance

    Orlando Hoilett06/02/2016 at 11:53 0 comments

    Trying to find the best way to mount it. Right now it's being supported by a piece of foam taped to the back of the RoboDawg. Probably need something a little more sturdy.

    The idea is to use the distance sensor mounted on a servo motor as a type of sonar system.

  • So I've been taking my dog to work and showing it off!

    Orlando Hoilett06/02/2016 at 11:22 0 comments

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