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DESERT EYE: Military Surveillance Robot

A tactical robot that can traverse the desert environment, video enemy locations and stream the feed back to soldiers on the ground in V.R.

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What challenge does Desert Eye address?
It is often necessary in combat for a fighting force to send a group of foot soldiers on surveillance missions, in order to find enemy locations and to report back on these locations. As you might imagine, these searches are incredibly dangerous, especially in wide-open areas where they can be found by the enemy, become booby trapped or lost. Wide open desert environments during the night are a typical worst-case scenario as they allow hidden enemies an unobstructed view of the environment.

How does Desert Eye solve this problem?
Desert Eye is a tactical, military robot whose purpose is to traverse the desert environment during the night and collect video regarding enemy locations from a forward facing night vision camera. This robotic intervention eliminates the need for foot patrols. This video feed can be streamed back to a soldier wearing a VR headset and controlled via WiFi.


How does Desert Eye traverse the desert?
     The method of mobility is a continuous track suspended by spring loaded rocker arms optimized for the desert floor, created using steel roller chain connected by 3D printed links. These loops sit on either side of the robot's housing, meshed with custom designed dual-drive sprockets connected directly to planetary gearbox DC motors. These drive motors are powered by 4X '18650' batteries, directed by a raspberry pi 4 and connected to a motor controller. For connectivity, a mobile device can connect to the pi's external antenna as it is a WiFi access point. From here, directions can be sent to the robot from the mobile device using the Node-Red GUI and additionally, the entirety of the main raspberry pi computer can be accessed for the use of sending custom commands for autonomous movement.
What are future areas for growth?
     Desert Eye will soon be harnessing the power of on-board GPS, a more sophisticated and robust camera lens and possibly a permanent shroud cover for stealth. Stay tuned!

Desert Shroud
WiFi Connected Device via Node Red
Design Sketch of Battery Pack
Finished/ 3D-Printed Battery Pack
First Draft of Motor and Custom Drive Sprocket

Tank Assembly 982020 v130.zip

For scale reference only.

x-zip-compressed - 16.03 MB - 09/12/2021 at 04:00

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Node Red Code.odt

Code for utilizing the motors

text - 25.81 kB - 09/11/2021 at 17:51

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  • 1 × • Raspberry Pi 4: https://amzn.to/3nR3ndg As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1 × • Motor Controller: https://amzn.to/3h3C4sG As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1 × • Motors: https://amzn.to/3aticxT As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1 × • DC Power Supply: https://amzn.to/37DdKLk As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1 × • 18650 Batteries: https://amzn.to/2UkR6A3 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Discussions

Dave_ Z. wrote 11/25/2021 at 23:44 point

i like your design of tracked drivetrain, is it scalable? if so, maybe we could try it out on Kenji-X1 robot.... otherwise thumbs up and keep up the good work.

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Aviv Butvinik wrote 10/06/2021 at 15:18 point

You ain't seen nothin' yet! Desert Eye part II is coming shortly! And by shortly, I mean in a long time... Stay tuned!

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james wrote 09/17/2021 at 07:46 point

Very cool, I've been pondering how to make a stair-climbing robot to rove around my house and this seems like a well designed platform :)

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Aviv Butvinik wrote 09/17/2021 at 20:49 point

Yes, if only it was a bit bigger, it could climb stairs!

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Hank45 wrote 09/16/2021 at 18:44 point

This is the perfect base for inspecting my drop ceiling and air ducts, running cable etc.  Need to add a small robotic arm and this is ideal.

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Aviv Butvinik wrote 09/17/2021 at 20:49 point

That would be sweet!

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Christoph Tack wrote 09/15/2021 at 19:38 point

Drones are much better suited to military surveillance tasks.  Drones can provide an overview of the area and possible enemy positions.  They can be deployed on a wide variety of terrain. 
The "Desert Eye" is only suited for flat desert soil with small pebbles.  Even a small rock will obscure its vision.  So, that only leaves some specific deserts, but what about the dust?  It will clog up your camera lens very quickly.  What about dust in the internal circuitry?
Drones are fast and hard to hit using conventional weapons.  This desert eye is slow.  It's not silent and the IR-leds will quickly give away its position.
It's a very nice build, don't get me wrong, but I think you're targeting the wrong application.  I see more potential in it to explore places where it's too narrow (tunnel inspection) or dangerous (inspecting high voltage facilities).

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james wrote 09/17/2021 at 07:47 point

Drones are also noisy and obvious. You don't always need to be fast and in the air. :)

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Aviv Butvinik wrote 09/19/2021 at 18:11 point

Exactly!

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Aviv Butvinik wrote 09/19/2021 at 18:12 point

That is a place to look. The camera will be upgraded soon to fix these problems!

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