With The Arduino
Part 7 - Putting It All Together
It was the 1970s when I first started playing with robotics. Back then, it was bell bottom
pants, disco, and robots that used hard-wired circuits. If you wanted to change the
functionality or behavior of your bot, you had to pull out the trusty soldering iron.
Microcontrollers changed all that. Instead of altering hardware, you just revise a line or two f programming code. It’s easier, faster, and you’re not as likely to burn your fingers. You
definitely don’t have to make as many trips to RadioShack —
in your bell bottom pants or otherwise.
What’s even better than using microcontrollers with
your robot? Using cheap microcontrollers, of course! The
open source Arduino is a leader in low cost
microcontrollers. For about $30, you get a complete
development board. Just plug it into your computer via
USB, fire up the free software, and start coding.
For the last six months, I’ve been writing about the
ArdBot — an expandable and affordable robot test platform
that uses an Arduino Uno as its brain. Previous articles have
discussed core concepts and have introduced important motor
and sensor interface techniques. In this seventh and final
installment, you’ll discover ways to mash all the individual bits
and pieces into one autonomous and fully functioning bot.
About the ArdBot Project
As a review, this article builds on earlier issues of
SERVO Magazine, starting with November ‘ 10. From there,
you’ll find useful information about building and
programming the ArdBot.
The ArdBot is shown in Figure 1 fully populated with
all sensors and accessories discussed in the previous
installments. The ArdBot can be constructed out of
plywood, plastic, or even picture frame mat board.
This part assumes you’ve read the previous articles —
and ideally, built the ArdBot.
ArdBot Hardware Revisted
FIGURE 1. The fully featured ArdBot with all
48 SERVO 05.2011
Up until now, the ArdBot has used a mini breadboard
(with 170 tie-points) as a
prototyping area. That worked
when discussing individual
sensors, but it doesn’t offer
enough room when putting
To expand the space, you
can add another mini
breadboard or use a 300 tie-point board like the one shown
in Figure 2. These boards are
commonly available with 400
tie-points, including two
FIGURE 2. Use a 300 tie-point
breadboard when constructing
the fully featured ArdBot.