At the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year, I started kicking around the idea of building a dirt cheap differential drive robot using an Arduino as the controller. I passed the idea on to a few friends, one of which passed it on to another friend who happened to be working on a similar project. A few weeks later I received an email from Michael Britt-Crane, who laid out many of the details for the robot described below.
My eventual goal is to create robots that cost less than $100 capable of competing in what I call “Smart Sumo” and Micromouse. I call it a Nano Mouse because it’s about the size of a Micromouse robot, but uses an Arduino Nano microcontroller. While these robots will never be competitive when pitted against their more expensive counterparts, I hope they open the door to people who are interested in learning about robotics, but can’t afford expensive kits. I also hope they open the door to the large number of hobbyists that enjoyed playing with the Lego Mindstorms sets, but are now ready to advance their knowledge.
The Nano Mouse is constructed using a couple continuous rotation servo motors from Parallax, a small bread board, an Arduino Nano, and some sort of power supply. Because the microcontroller is mounted directly on a breadboard, it’s easy to quickly integrate a variety of electronics components. I plan to use the flexibility provided by the bread board to attach a variety of sensors as well as a Bluetooth module.
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