Monthly Archives: February 2014

Raisin Box Robot

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Stick some electrical tape on a piece of poster-board and what do you have?  A racetrack, of sorts.  A robot racetrack.  There are all kinds of robotics competitions but one popular style is called Line Following.  You take a “racetrack” as described above and construct a robot that can go around the course on its own.  Technically, it isn’t extremely difficult to build a line following robot.  The challenge is being the quickest, the most accurate, the smallest or the most creative.

Today’s entry is in the fun and creative category.  I decided to build a line follower using an empty raisin box for the body.  This is not an ideal platform because it is mostly vertical, which means that it has a high center of gravity and a tendency to tilt and rock.  You can see this in the RaisinBoxBot video.  But nonetheless, it followed the line.  

Most people that build a line following robot use some form of microprocessor because it is a much easier.  However, I decided to go the other way for this one and do it all in hardware.  The entire circuit consists of two sensors, a comparator, a motor driver chip and some resistors.  It was a lot of fun doing it that way and let me learn more about hardware.

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This is not what was inside the box when we bought it from Safeway

Now I think I’ll cannibalize the hardware, build a better chassis and try to make a version that rolls a bit smoother than this one.