Athens, OH 23 October 2016 –
I am currently taking a class for my major called mechatronics (ME 4550). The class focuses on the combination of electronics, programming, and mechanical devices.
We were tasked to create a mechatronic device for an individual project that has all of these features and has some practical application. For my project I decided I wanted to build robot! I love star wars and so my mind quickly thought of BB-8. At first I thought it would be too complicated or hard for the project, but I went for it anyway.
I ordered all my parts a couple weeks ago and began construction as they came in the mail. I used a 10” hamster ball for the round shell and a 2-wheeled robot for the drive system. A servo is mounted to the bottom of the robot that will shift a weight back and forth leaning the sphere as the wheels drive forward or backward simultaneously. To make a weight heavy enough and the right size, I melted down a bunch of lead fishing sinkers and attached that to some K’NEX then glued that to the servo arm. I broke the first servo but I’ll get another one.
The bot will be controlled through an Arduino UNO microcontroller mounted to the center robot. The only physical simplification I made was to leave out the BB-8 head.
This project so far has been a ton of fun! I love building things and being hands on, so the construction phase has been a blast. It feels like something I could be doing just as a fun hobby project, yet this is for a class required for my major. I guess that means I chose the right program for myself.
I can’t wait to get the programming loaded up and see the little guy moving around. After graduation I think I will continue the project and possibly add remote control and some feedback control through motion sensors.