Saturday, February 9, 2013

Goof Ball Bot version 0.01 Arduino Project

I've been going on at length now for almost 3 months describing a startup Arduino project. So here is what I'm working on. It's a sphere with a gravity drive. I locomotion is generated by displacing a weight inside a sphere and letting gravity move to device. I know, it doesn't have much power, and I doubt it could climb any significant incline, but it's fun to watch.

I didn't even know if I could get it working until a few weeks ago, and now that it's working I'm pleased with the development process so far.

The arduino board and electronics are mounted on a robotics platform and I'm using a very high torque motor assembly that has its output shaft attached to the sides of a pet critter crawl. This weekend I plan to refactor the layout and add a Lipo rechargeable battery. This will keep me from fumbling with the rechargeable AA's that I'm using now.

My motion controller state machine is using accelerometer axis data to keep the ball rolling forward or backward. My main controller is using accelerometer "crash" events (tap and double tap). It switches direction if the ball taps into something, and it shuts off if it detects a double tap. I use the double tap to stop it so I can power it off without it starting up on me. Because of the double tap shutdown routine, if it happens to bump into something twice it stops; that's why there are breaks in the video, I get it restarted with a single tap.

So here is a 4 minute video of the Goof Ball Bot terrorizing my Maine Coon cats.

Enjoy -

Goof Ball Bot v0.01 by Doug McFarland


  1. Doug,

    Congrats on retirement!

    Thanks to Ryan, I was just introduced to your blog. I got back into the electronics last year due to the gift of an Arduino from my brother-in-law, and my 8-year old's love of robots.

    I've been learning Arduino along with Android so we can build some cool bots controlled via phone or table. How can we pass up the wonderful user interface platform offered by Android?!?

    I'm hoping I can learn more from your posts. Hope you don't mind the occasional question...

    Keep up the work!

    Matt "I used to be a Beaver..." Arlauckas

  2. Hi Matt - Glad you found my blog and I hope it helps. Feel free to ping me with any questions you have. I also have updates to my platform if you decide to use it. Just let me know. Thanks Doug

  3. Hi Dong,

    I am studying QP code with Arduino now, your blog is great example for me.
    Can you upload the latest code of your robot for me?
    I would like to study your the latest code of robot. It will be very useful for my project.