Home Robotics Meet MiniBot

Meet MiniBot

by admin

Meet MiniBot
This is MiniBot himself.
I think a lot of programmers are interested in robots. I wish I could try to program the robot, to experiment with it… But first I need to design the circuit, etch the board, solder, debug it… Not a very interesting stage for a programmer, and taking into account my poor knowledge in radio engineering (for example :)) it is not guaranteed that everything will work in the end. There is a chance that a lot of time and money will be wasted. In general, many, I think, would be happy to skip this stage, proceeding directly to the programming. And various gadgets and sensors would just connect by plugging them into the expansion slots.
Given this, and the fact that most people interested in robotics go through essentially the same steps (design a circuit based on a microcontroller, make the power part, connect the screen, etc.) enthusiasts from roboforum.ru developed MiniBot.
What the hell is a MiniBot? In a nutshell, MiniBot is a simple ready-made robot for beginners.
So this is a robot based on the ATMega32 microcontroller from ATMEL. In the minimum package there is only the board with the microcontroller and a battery from a cell phone. Then you can choose which sensors you want to put on the robot, you can order a ready-made chassis (the photo shows an example of a chassis) or you can make the chassis yourself (roboforum.ru has examples of crawler chassis, etc.). The basic package MiniBot has 2 two-color LEDs (you can say it is a two-color screen of 2 pixels :)), but this is certainly not enough to display information, so you can hook up different monochrome and color screens from cell phones (I bought and connected a screen from Siemens S65). The screen is very easy to connect, just plug it in, almost PlugAndPlay. 🙂
Meet MiniBot
MiniBot board with explanations.
You can put a camera on it so the robot can see, and/or servo motors so it can spin it. The camera in the picture is the one on the servo (and the IR rangefinder on it). You can expand the memory by putting a microSD flash drive (I have 2Gb). You can put a speaker, and Minibot will be able to make sounds. You can buy beacons, which are set up by a sort of home GPS, but local and within the apartment. It is also possible to install a wireless communication module, so the robot could communicate with a computer (by USB, too, you can communicate, but agree – the robot on the wire is not the best option :)). All I can not remember now, connect any sensors and devices. After you choose what you need (don’t forget about the programmer), get some advice just in case and then you can pay and wait for the package.
Meet MiniBot
Each set is lovingly packaged by the gentle hands of Packer #1 and undergoes extensive pre-sale preparation.
After talking to the developers I found out that the robot can be connected to a PDA, and then either the robot can use the resources of the PDA (screen, camera, something else), or vice versa – the main program can be done on the PDA, and the PDA will control the robot as a connected device, and read data from its sensors and give it commands. Of course for this it is necessary to write programs for both PDA and robot, one main program which will control the robot, another auxiliary which will listen commands coming from USB and will execute and send responses. But there is a nuance – as the developers said – the PDA must support USB-host function, so MiniBot could connect to it (of course the drivers need to be downloaded). My communicator, unfortunately, does not support this function, so this point for me has remained purely theoretical. I connected to the computer via USB cable, everything works fine.
Practical use, of course, there is no, just a fun toy. Only moral satisfaction, which is also not unimportant. The project is open and evolving, share your experiences, algorithms, people will find it very useful. For example, the robot navigated through the apartment not by beacons, but by printing out 2D barcodes. The robot drove around, looked with the camera and navigated through the space using these pictures.
Considering that the developers are not aiming to make money, but to promote this robot platform to the masses, the prices are very low. The basic package (board with ATMega32 and little things like buttons and LEDs, a battery from a cell phone, USB-cable, a CD with software and drivers) costs 750 rubles. You can calculate how much it all costs if you buy individually. Plus all still have to solder. Sometimes there are competitions for the connection of some kind of device, the development of a logo, some more, the prizes – cash and MiniBots.
That’s pretty much it, anyone interested in the project in the conclusion of a few links :
The section about the Mini-bot on roboforum.ru
MiniBot Wiki

You may also like