Rhoby - small social robot (ver. 0.5b)

Open-Source companion robot for teaching and playing

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Rhoby - open-source platform for creating a small social robots.
This robotics platform ideal for learning kids to programming and electronics. But most important what is it very useful for teaching "special" kids, with autism syndrome for example.
Rhoby have a small TFT-display for expression his own emotion, kids can communicate with robot via Android/IOS software and receive answer from robot's emotions or by graphics made by pencil attached to it. Also, Rhoby can check kids graphical answer via external camera or by line-following algorithm.
Rhoby is useful for teaching kids to numbers, alphabet, math basics, geometry, etc. Also, the Rhoby can be useful for adults when studying calligraphy of foreign languages, like japanese or korean.
Future of this project is a creating a open-source platform for the small robots which can communicate with people. This platform will be basic for researchers from makers/hackers community around the world who interested in social

Main goal of this project is creating powerful and versatile robotic platform, which everyone will can use for building own small social robots. In modern days this kind of machines is not so "hyped" but people still is interested in have one. In my opinion, we have technologies, algorithms, one-board computers which is enough for creating useful social robots, but with one exclusion - people don't need expect a artificial human or mind-equal partner, this type of robots, I think, must be more like smarter pet for us.

Current stage (0.5b version)

     Used components:

     - chassis

     - Arduino M0

     - motor driver + analog circuits

     - range measurement module

     - TFT-display

     Goals: development of the low level algorithms, movement control system(turns,

     overcoming obstacles), working with graphical display.

Published under GNU GPL v3.0 license + CERN Open Hardware License


CERN Open Hardware License

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GNU GPL v3 License

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  • 1 × Tamiya Twin-Motor Gearbox
  • 1 × L298N Interface and IO ICs / Peripheral Drivers and Actuators
  • 1 × Arduino M0
  • 1 × SeeedStudio Ultrasonic range measurement module
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Zero W

View all 17 components

  • Distance measuring issue

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov10/19/2017 at 14:17 0 comments

    It is finally here. Two IR range measure modules by Sharp. I ordered their for experiments with different types of the distance measuring modules. But the question which type to use in my project is still open.

    On the side of the ultrasonic distancemeter is a more small "blind" zone, it's about 3-4 cm against 15-20 cm for the IR type, but it slower than IR and need a regular query for taking measuring results.

    On the side of the IR type distance sensor is a continuous transmission of an analog signal with distance information, which make it reading is a very simple by ADC, This feature give an advantage for building very simple and fast analog control circuit, because it not need some processing, versus ultrasonic module, which give a pulse signal and you need to counting duration of him.

    Finally, need consider that both have a some kind materials which making their is a "blind" or giving wrong results.

    I think answer is somewhere in the middle - will used both types. Keep going.

  • Some little updates and information about project

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov10/16/2017 at 15:37 0 comments

    I think this is a last of this kind logs. All next logs will be about important updates or about results with photos, videos or some sort of diagrams. Technical data like codes, schemes or 3D models will be uploading to the Github or here in "Files". Also, now under construction my blog where I will be post more details about my projects. I have idea to upload the articles in pdf format with describing of the different methods and games applied to the Rhoby-platform, or put it in one regularly updatable big manifest.

    Few days ago I had met with my science advisor and concluded an oral agreement about place and focus-group of the kids for research.

    My aims for the rest of the year(a little bit ambitiously, but I will trying hard for it):

    - to complete 0.8b version of the Rhoby 1st generation platform

    - starting develop code for the symbols recognize with camera module on RPi Zero

  • A round wheels

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov10/13/2017 at 18:22 0 comments

    Main feature which I "promoting" when talking about Rhoby is a possibility to draw. But here is issue - using sumobot-like platform making it a more difficult. Problem is covered in nature of the moving this kind of the robots. It can move linear only in two directions - forward and backward, all another moves -  is along an arc. Of course, using more motile arm which hold pencil can compensate this weakness. If we adding one more degree of freedom for the arm(except "up-down"), will be possible to do linear interpolation of the robot moves and get straight lines.
    Thinking about robot's linear moves, comes to mind a platform with three or four omni-wheels. Using mecanum-alike wheels will give more smooth and straight moves for Rhoby in all directions, what is very important for drawing process.

  • Messed up by wires

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov10/13/2017 at 00:33 0 comments

    Motor driver board for version 0.5b is complete. This design with perfboard and wires is a not my best, but, more important what this work and work great. I uploaded the schematics from KiCad to Github repository.

  • Small talk about high-level control system

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov10/03/2017 at 12:48 0 comments


     Earlier, when I listed the features of Rhoby one of the main was an interaction through drawing. For this type of communication, Rhoby need an image recognition possibilities. I planning use a neural networks for realisation all high-level control functions and pattern recognition. This is reason why I need single-board computer.

      When you think about single-board computer, first one which coming on your mind - Raspberry Pi. Smallest board from this family was delivered to me few days ago. Actually, why I writing this log.

    Read more »

  • Construction complete

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov09/04/2017 at 13:13 0 comments

    Actually no. Today I added  collision sensors, which mounted to plastic 3mm plate. They work if distance between obstacles more narrow than Rhoby itself. For this stage all mechanical issues was solved. Now I can fully concentrate on electronics and programming until next generation of the Rhoby.

  • I almost forgot

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov09/03/2017 at 08:58 0 comments

    Earlier, when I talking about Rhoby's features, one of those was Android application, and today few words about it.

    App will connecting Rhoby with your smartphone for select type of interaction with him. For example, user press the button "Teaching", after this, select needed teaching program and process is starting. Similar way for "Games", "Talk", "Options" and "Help" buttons.

    Application's prototype I will develop in App Inventor 2 .

    P.S. Sorry for this prototype's horrible design, but it still need a lot of work.

  • Marker hand

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov09/01/2017 at 08:47 0 comments

    One of the communications type between Rhoby and Human is a graphical information, for those purposes Rhoby have a hand with marker and he can drawing.

    Hand is actuated by TowerPro 9g servo which screwed to robot base plate. For hand itself I used the bar from kids metal constructor. Marker is pooled to the bar by nylon strap.

  • A few words about the development stages

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov08/29/2017 at 12:38 0 comments

    Rhoby is a not simple project and requires among of time. In this reason I divide the development on few generations, and small numbers of stages in each of them.

    The first generation is about formation of "basic instincts" for Rhoby.  Under "basic instincts" covers a things like teaching the robot how to move, to configure and calibrate sensors, debugging a simple algorithms for overcoming obstacles, and of course, linking Rhoby to PC or Android device via BLE. A little bit more about this stage:

    0.5b version

         Used components:

         - chassis

         - Arduino M0

         - motor driver + analog circuits

         - range measurement module

         - TFT-display

         Goals: development of the low level algorithms, movement control system(turns,

         overcoming obstacles), working with graphical display.


         Used components:

         - chassis

         - STM32+BLE

         - motor driver + analog circuits + onboard battery charger

         - range measurement module

         - TFT-display (possibly 3")

         Goals: porting software to STM32 architecture, bluetooth connection to PC and Android devices,

         first emotions of the robot on TFT.


         Used components:

         - chassis

         - marker with mechanics

         - STM32+BLE

         - TFT

         - range measurement module

         - motor driver + analog circuit + onboad battery charger    

         Goals: full check of chosen architecture, communication with Android devices and control through

         app, debug the algorithms of moving and overcoming obstacles.

    The second generation is all about give to the robot the understanding "what goes around". At this stage, I planning using Raspberry Pi Zero W, because Rhoby needs eyes (webcam), ears (microphone) and, of course, brain for analyzing all this information. More about this stage I will explain in future, when first generation will comes closer to finish.

  • First log (0.5b)

    Ilyas Akhmetzyanov08/15/2017 at 00:26 0 comments

    Hello for everyone!

     Originally this project based on my university beam robot, which using analog schematics for line-following function. Motor driver was based on H-bridge with BJT, sounds very low efficient huh? Anyway, robot is under construction now and I using L298N IC for motor driver.  Prototype will build on breadboard, that giving possibilities for changing schematic without etching new pcb on each iteration.

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