TupperBot 3.0: the PartyBot.
After four years of working
on my TupperBot family, I
decided to change gears
and create a whole new
robot with the same soul,
but a different target:
Compete in every single
“Best of Show” contest
I could take it to. As I
stated, RoboGames 2011
was just a month away
when I decided to start this new
project. Google was giving some prizes
there, so my brother gave me the idea of
making an Android-related robot. There was no
time! I was on the other side of the world and I did not
even have the flight tickets to go to California … challenge
accepted! The robot had to be fun, easy to control, and
• The Android: Three servos control the arms and
head. Five white LEDs give some light to the neck, and
two sets of RGB LEDs let you control the eye color.
• The Lid: Four buttons let you select different songs
and movements, and a full 50 RGB LED DMX spotlight
adds to the party.
• The Disco Laser: A laser stage lighting device is
sitting in the front side of the robot. I had to hack a
standard one in order to control it with my own
• Internal Lighting: A 5W green LED illuminates the
bottom of the robot. My friend Bob Allen made me a little
aluminum bracket to hold it and dissipate all that heat.
•Microcontrollers: Three PIC16F2525s control all the
lighting, communications, and servo signals in this robot.
Thanks to what I learned with TupperBot 2.0 and its
modular design, I could reuse most of the code.
• The Brain: An Asus-Eee 900 sits on top of all the
electronics. I programmed a new control panel for this
robot, including new features such as audio processing and
cool ways to control the robot.
• Sound Analysis: I started doing my own Fourier
transforms and sound analysis, but I was running out of
time, so I found the Bass.net library which helped me with
the math. Once I integrated the library into my code, I had
all the peripherals synchronized with the beats of the music.
The robot started looking like a real PartyBot!
• Remote Control: Moving the robot with a joystick
or a keyboard is just not enough for a “Best of Show”
competition, so I decided to drive it with my watch. You
didn’t expect that, did you?
Many people asked me what the purpose of that “useless
wheeled plastic box” was in 2006. I struggled trying to look
for a cool usage to give them a good answer, but now I
realize how every single development I’ve accomplished in the
last five years was not an end unto itself; it was just a means
to learn and give me the green light to all the creativity a
roboticist has inside. Every email, tweet, comment, and
question I receive from people who read my tutorials and
posts are the reasons I keep developing this exciting hobby.
Making robots is not what we do. It is our lifestyle. SV
control the wheels and basic functionalities of my robot.
I finally made it to RoboGames and won a silver medal
in 2011, so I was pretty happy with the results of just one
month of hard work. That is definitely not the best part of
it, though. Since RoboGames, I have been giving talks about
different aspects of the robot in several places, and
TupperBot 3.0 has been “acting” in a theater called “Teatro
Alfil” in Madrid, where it interacts with the audience, walks
them to their seats, and introduces the play “SensorMen” —
a fun comedy where four guys have MIDI sensors on their
body and play really cool music.
I had a couple of Chronos eZ430s (a highly integrated,
wireless development system) available at home, so I was
able to get axis information from this cool gadget to
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