The main point of this toy is to have something similar to a remote-controlled car, but without the remote. Instead of the remote, this vehicle will include a sensor to detect obstacles. This will be done completely autonomously and with no human interaction necessary (except for jumping in the path of the vehicle in order to force it to turn).
This robot is going to function based off the Arduino microcontroller. The Arduino is going to control the Servo(s) and the Range Finder. The Range Finder sends out an ultrasonic signal and returns the pulse that it receives back from objects. The DC Motor is running on its own since Motor Controllers are expensive(ish) and not readily available. The Servo for the steering is going to run from 75-105 degrees of rotation so that the wheels can turn. (This part doesn't actually work though [probable cause: not enough power to the Servo, no common ground, broken code, or a broken Servo] ). The RAD Vehicle would be searching for an object within 40 inches of the robot (while it is moving) and turn the wheels so that it may avoid the obstacle. This robot ends up just finding the object and not being able to do anything about it due to a broken steering system.
March, 2011: Purchased Arduino
March, 2011: Purchased Arduino Power Source to 9V Battery Cable
March 30, 2011: Began designing different ways to implement a robot that included wheels and an IR Sensor/Range Finder (5 hrs)
April, 2011: Purchased 4 (1.86") Micro Sport Wheels ($3.35 from Hamilton Hobbies) (**not actually using this now**)
April 19, 2011: Purchased 2 3V DC Motors and Range Finder
April 20, 2011: Sketched a few designs to house the motors, range finder, wheels, and for the Arduino to sit on (most likely choice is either a small, rectangular block of wood or a circular "case". (2 hrs)
April 20, 2011: Began looking into code to interface with the DC Motors (2 hrs)
April 22, 2011: Purchased Buggy Car Chassis Set (replacing the custom box I was going to build using the rubber hobby wheels)
April 25, 2011: Constructed the chassis
April 26, 2011: Writing code for running the DC Motors
April 26, 2011: Writing code for running the Range Finder
April 26, 2011: Tested the Buggy Car Chassis with 1 3V DC Motor attached to a gear box in the rear wheels (the wheels turn together now)
April 26, 2011: Drew out plans to use the steering system that came with the Buggy Car Chassis Set (most likely using a Servo and some string)
April 26, 2011: Drew out plans to use a Servo to sweep the Range Finder so that the vehicle can function better (sees a wider range and is able to correct itself quickly)
April 26, 2011: The Buggy Car Chassis works with 2 AA batteries!! The steering system needs to be controlled, but a Servo will fix that. Now I am going to remove the battery compartment on the Chassis so that I can add the Servo(s) I will use. But, the DC Motor works!!
April 27, 2011: Writing code for interfacing with the 3V DC Motor and the Range Finder (it compiles!!)
April 28, 2011: Purchase HiTec 311 Servo ($9.99 at Hamilton Hobbies) (quantity: 2), purchase a spring thingy to fix the "suspension system" of the buggy car chassis
April 29, 2011: Construction of the RAD Vehicle is complete (minus the steering system) [pics to come soon]
May 2, 2011: Finishing the code for the robot - begin initial testing
May 3, 2011: The Range Finder works brilliantly
May 4, 2011: Using a different plan for using the motor - batteries. I am just going to turn the robot when it sees something
May 4, 2011: The updated code is ready for testing
May 4, 2011: The steering system, motor, and range finder works!!
May 4, 2011: The steering system's Servo isn't responding anymore (this would be around the time right before I left to go present)
May 5, 2011: Attempted to fix the steering system (failure)
May 6, 2011: The steering system doesn't work. But, the range finder and the motor works great - time to get a video to show that its working fine.
Arduino Examples Code