Astro Robot Accessories

An arm for Astro, a snack dispenser and a cool can dispenser--3 ways to make Astro more useful.

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Astro can take stinky diapers to a trash can

Astro can provide snacks and deliver on command

Astro can provide cool canned drinks on command

To see stinky diaper removal, go to

Astro robot (sort of available from; if they invite you to purchase) has no arm or ability to manipulate things. The robot can follow voice commands, avoid obstacles and find people very well.

Snacky is an accessory, allowing the robot to fetch snacks on command. The yellow (3d printed) piece in the cargo area tells Snacky to drop a snack (long end up) or not drop a snack (short end up). I received Astro on Saturday and completed the design and construction of Snacky by Wednesday--it's not too complex or costly (if you can access a 3d printer).

The setup is fairly simple:

For construction details, go here.

I received Astro on Saturday and completed the snack dispenser on Wednesday, using available parts. The IR detectors were not my first choice, but I didn't have ultrasonic sensors on hand.  The IR sensors go crazy when Astro approaches--something being emitted from the front of the robot gets their attention.

Astro can carry about 4 pounds and has a usb port available for power.  Notable abilities include mapping rooms, navigating around changing obstacles, and finding specific people within the rooms. I see significant potential involving auxiliary devices that load/unload Astro's cargo bin while moving things from fixed locations to/from random locations of humans.

I suspect that the first "home robots" will be like Astro; wheeled mobile devices that can operate with auxiliary units (like drink dispensers, snack dispensers, trash cans, tool delivery, etc.). Humanoid type machines such as this (picture below) will cost from $45,000. to $175,000., have minimal autonomous capability and not be available until 2024.  Compare Astro (at $1,000. to $1,500) with a humanoid (at $110,000. to $175,000.) -- not inexpensive, but reasonable for the capabilities and build quality.

The humanoid machines will be appropriate (maybe even cost effective) for some industrial situations.

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  • Cool Can on Command

    Mike Rigsby02/16/2023 at 22:28 0 comments

    I've added a can dispenser to Astro's arsenal.

    Here's the internal operation in action:

    For more details, go to instructables.

  • Things I've Learned

    Mike Rigsby02/14/2023 at 16:41 0 comments

    Astro, after docking on the charger and sitting for a couple of minutes, may decide that the charge connection is not ideal. When that occurs, Astro will leave the charger and dock again. This takes less than a minute, but devices such as "Snacky" cannot depend upon Astro leaving the charger for 45 seconds as proof that a snack has been delivered.

    If Astro loses the WiFi connection it can still navigate, find the charger or just "hang out."

  • Location, Location, Location

    Mike Rigsby02/05/2023 at 20:09 0 comments

    Astro has to locate the charger and back in with reasonable precision. I wondered about other locations.

    I sent Astro from the charger to a spot that I named "speaker," then marked the arrival location with painter's tape.

    Next, from three random locations I sent Astro to "speaker."

    These arrivals are in the vicinity, but not too predictable.  Next, I placed obstacles near (but not obstructing) the arrival zone.

    This (very limited) test seems to indicate that a reliable landing spot can be defined for auxiliary devices to operate on Astro's load bay.

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