Arduino Robotics


So, it makes sense to look at ways to leverage the Arduino to build robots. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing in this article and several more to follow in the months ahead. I’ll show you how to build, program, and use an economical and expandable autonomous desktop robot — the ArdBot — that’s powered by an Arduino. Cost of the project is under $85 — even less if you already have some basic components like a solderless breadboard and hookup wire. 

The robot base is simple to build and can be constructed out of a variety of materials; no special tools are required. I’ll demonstrate a version made of expanded PVC plastic, but you can use heavy cardboard, foam board, picture frame mat board, or most any other material you like. (For your convenience, you can get the robot chassis precut with all the hardware; see the Sources box for more information.) 

I believe in robot designs that let you explore and experiment, and the ArdBot leaves plenty of room for expansion and independent discovery. You can use the robot for line or wall following, maze solving, or general meandering around in a room. (Cat scaring optional.) You can also take the concepts presented here and design your own version of the ArdBot — bigger or smaller, wheels or tracks — your choice. 

In this installment, you’ll learn all about the Arduino: what it’s made of, how to connect it to your computer, and how to start developing robot projects for it. You’ll also be introduced to the ArdBot chassis, including where to get its main parts. In coming installments to this series, you’ll explore programming the robot to do interesting things, and extending its features with sensors and other add-ins. 

Arduino Under the Hood

First introduced in 2005, the Arduino has gone through numerous iterations, revisions, and improvements. As I’m writing this, the Arduino team just released their newest version: the Arduino Uno (see Figure 1 ). Like its predecessors, the Uno is an all-in- one development board. It contains an Atmel AVR microcontroller — specifically the ATmega328 — a USB-to-serial interface, five volt voltage regulator, and various support electronics. 


Previous iterations of the Arduino have included the Duemilanove (which means 2009 in Italian) and the Diecimila which means 10,000 (a reference to the number of Arduino boards that had been manufactured by that time; many more have been made since). 

The Uno, Duemilanove, and Diecimila are what might be called main or core board designs. These all share a common form factor which is a PCB that measures 2-1/8” by 2-3/4”. All contain a power jack for a 2.1 mm (center positive) barrel connector, as well as a USB Type B jack for hooking up to a host computer. 

A series of 28 female pin headers allow connection of external devices to the Arduino. The headers are separated into three groups as shown in Figure 2 . The groups are: power, analog input, and digital input/output. Of the 28 pins, 20 are devoted to input and output. There are six analog input pins which can also serve as general-purpose digital I/O. The 14 digital input/output pins include six that can be used to generate PWM (pulse width modulated) signals; these are useful for such things as controlling the hardware like switches, motors, lights, relays, sensors, and LEDs. At the heart of the Arduino is an Atmel AVR microcontroller. The exact version of AVR controller depends on the version of the Arduino.

Arduino robotic

by : Meyda

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