Built with LEGO MindStorms.
Designed to roam underneath our kitchen cabinets to chase away a chipmunk that the cats herded inside. The chipmunk had more brains than the robot’s builder, as the rodent had long-since escaped by double backing outside. Later cutting away of a bottom board of a cabinet and lowering a plastic-bag-wrapped camcorder revealed the animal’s deceit.
Chipmunk Chaser front view
The robot needed to be low to the ground to fit under the cabinets. This robot has a very solid, tank-like body. No pieces, except the wires, can easily snag or drop off. I wasn’t about to lose valuable LEGOs (that cost more than steak by the pound) to the crevices.
The two touch sensors (antenna looking bars at the front) provide feedback for reversing direction or altering course. The front block can take numerous strong hits and still keep the touch sensor mechanism together. The main beams of the front block also provide an appropriate place to tie a lifeline cable for “manual” retrieval.
An incandescent bulb is centered between the two green blocks at top. The combination of the flashing light and the scary noises blaring from the built-in buzzer would most certainly frighten (or humor to death) any small critter.
Chipmunk Chaser rear view
The infrared port is unobstructed for reprogramming. The wheels are significantly geared down for increased torque and decreased speed. The width that the wheels and motors protrude isn’t consequential as they fit in the wake of the touch sensors.
Chipmunk Chaser underside view
The skid pads are on the front, which isn’t as good for straight motion as a design that drags the rear. It seems that dragging is easier than pushing. Dragging is a technique designed into the Boe-Bot.