Friday, October 14, 2011

Project. Done! Award Winning!

Sorry I made NO updates during construction. But the whole project is done. This took about 5+ months of FULL time work from the 3 of us, had no time for anything else. But the good thing is that it works and actually won an award at tech fair. We were up against 2 other teams with a total of 4 possible awards; we won "Elegance of Design"

If you don't feel like reading past blogs, this project is title:
Wireless Chemical Hazard and Surveillance Robot
It detects Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen, Methane, and Propane with just 2 different sensors. The gas levels are wireless relayed to the base station to where the robot is controlled and displayed on the LCD. The operator also has control of a IR camera.

Final Video to come soon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Little Update

So I haven't updated in a while since our progress has been long and strenuous, but no doubt progressing. We have not assembled the actual robot, but we are in the tail end of testing all our sensors, circuits, systems, and programming. Once we get everything working to our liking we will start mounting everything to our robot. We have our Propane sensor fully working and the other 2 will just be repetitive work (hopefully).

Shortly we will have to make a video demo which I will post here on the blog.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So it's decided...

After talking it over with the team, we will be going full force with the Arduino boards. We already have one in from

Check it out:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Arduino !?!?!?

Luckily we are still very early in our project that we can make drastic changes. Although we have already programmed our 2 Freescale micro-controllers to communicate wirelessly, we may look into switching to the ATmega328 micro-controller housed on the Arduino Duemilanove. The Freescale MCU may have more functions, pins, and faster speeds, but our project does not require a lot out of the MC to begin with. The Arduino has a large (largest?) following in small to large electronics projects with much support from fellow engineers and developers. After viewing the language (based on C++) that the Arduino uses, it seems very user friendly and very easy to learn. In contrast we were using straight forward C++ on the Freescale. There are many prebuilt libraries that we can use for the Arduino that we can make our programming a lot easier to do.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finally! Pictures! (Big Update)

We started getting our items in and finally got to do some assembly (and disassembly) of our parts. We chose to use the lower half of a remote controlled tank, which 'was' a German Tiger. This will allow us for a large platform to house everything and gives us good maneuverability.

These 2 pictures shows the inside of the tank where we are most likely going to mount the on-board microcontroller (circuit board on right). Nothing is plugged into it and nothing is programmed yet, we just wanted to see how it would mount up:

These 2 pictures are the beginnings of our sensor modules. These will interface the gas sensors to our microcontroller. We use these to determine the levels that have been detected as well as determine how much gas we want it to detect to trigger the alarm:

Here is a shot of our sensors and Zigbee boards:

Programming one of our microcontrollers

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First batch of items

Just ordered out first batch of items for our project. Only cost us about $200 and will be (hopefully) only half of it. Hopefully meaning nothing breaks or needs replacement, but I wouldn't mind purchasing more parts for add-ons and enhancements.

Carbon Monoxide Sensor - MQ-7 x2
Methane CNG Gas Sensor - MQ-4 x2
LPG Gas Sensor - MQ-6 x2
Humidity and Temperature Sensor - DHT22 x1
XBee Pro 900 XSC RPSMA x2
900MHz Duck Antenna RP-SMA x2

We still need our chassis which will consist of the lower half/hull of a tank with the top taken off replaced by plexi glass. We also need our microcontroller, camera, alarms, leds, and little odds-n-ends.

Next blog updates will be of our first constructions and first lines of coding.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Company" Name

Just another short blog entry before some down and dirty building of our actual robot.

One question I am asking my followers is: What is a good company name for a company that would produce products such as Hazard Detection systems marketed towards police and military?

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Finally reached the 100 followers club. Thanks for all the support! Will promise to keep everyone as up-to-date on the project as much as I can.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Real Battle Bots

Part of any senior project will always involve research. Part of this research will go into other similar or competing products that our project will meet commercially. Our robot is aimed towards Police and Military markets, so here are some products currently being used or are being developed.


"For instance, when tricked out with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD, Kit the ‘bot can seek out and find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while the operator is at a safe distance away. The base is fitted with spool loaded with 825 feet of optical fiber and a wide-angle drive camera with multiple positions for forward, rear and downward views.
The EOD kit comes with an ICx  Fido explosives detector. The detector can sniff out explosive vapors and other particles emanating from munitions and IEDs."

"Dragon Runner" - Scout

"...the Dragon Runner is a small, lightweight, portable mobile reconnaissance/scout robot (or "bot"). At 15.5 inches long, 11.25 inches wide and 5 inches high, it is a tough low-lying/low-observable ground sensor.
It's designed to withstand being tossed over walls, chucked out of windows, and heaved over stairs, and then sent on its way, looking for bad guys.

A nonactive, invertible suspension and durable overall construction allow Dragon Runner to withstand a whole lot of physical abuse and continue to operate no matter how it lands."

"BEAR" - Battle Extraction Assist Robot

"BEAR is able to go where humans cannot, or should not, go -- that includes everything from minefields to firefights, and near toxic chemical spills to inside structurally compromised buildings.
A combination of three things makes BEAR so special: its powerful hydraulic upper body, two independent sets of tracked "legs" that make it especially agile on rough terrain, and dynamic balancing behavior."

"Mini Andros" - Bomb Bot

"This robot has all the features required of a good bomb disposal robot. It has a camera coupled with a strong light. The knobby tires and the tracks should provide very good stability and rough terrain capability. Finally, there is a sturdy manipulator on the front. The robot uses this manipulator to pick up the bomb and then uses the mobility platform to move the bomb to a remote location where it can be safely destroyed by secondary explosives. All of these activities are telecontrolled by a remote operator."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in a Name

Our professor would like a project name that fully describes our project. Instead of HazBot, we may end up with something along the lines of:
Wireless Hazardous Chemical Detecting Night Vision Surveillance Metal Detecting Mobile Robot. Subject to change.

We briefly went over our budget, price of parts, and reasonable functions time permitting, and we may have some leg room for some other useful functions.

Now if only we can find a big enough chassis,

Block Diagram

The top part of the diagram shows the logic of on-board robot unit. It shows the sensors interfacing with their respected module which are then inputed to the microcontroller. The microcontroller then uses the Xbee module to transmit data to the Local Control Unit (bottom diagram). On-board will also house the night-vision camera which uses it's own transmitter with 2.4Ghz frequency.

The bottom diagram is the user interface of the robot. Data received will be displayed on the unit once received by the Xbee Rx module and processed by the microcontroller.

Bot Chassis

Due to budget constraints, it is hard to find a chassis that has a wide enough base to hold all our equipment and support the weight. So far this seems to be the best bet:

This would be ideal:

If time permits, we may be able to build our own chassis and use our own motors. The only problem with this is making the turning function for the bot. We could put this down for future enhancements, to build a chassis that can accommodate different terrain and maneuver around obstacles with ease. The target market for this robot would be police and military applications, so having a bot built for different environments would be optimal.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Proposed Devices

Planning Stages

Right now we are in the planning stages of our project. Our proposed project is a Wireless Hazard detection robot, more-or-less. Once we figure out exactly all the functions this robot will be capable of, we can think of a more appropriate name.

We know for sure that it will have 3 sensors, CO (Carbon Monoxide), C3H8 (Propane), and CH4 (Methane). It will also include a IR camera that will provide us with live feeds to a base station and possibly a GPS capabilities.
The gas sensors will provide feedback through an LED/LCD panel that will also be used to control the robot wirelessly through the use of a XBee module.
The XBee is a prefab device that uses RF to connect 2 devices using the standardized 2.4GHz frequency. Claimed range is 6 miles. Although we may get sensor readings at these distances, we might not be able to get video feeds and control the robot since they both use their own wireless transmitters that do not have that type of range.

I have been looking for a cheap RC car with a wide enough base to be able to mount all the equipment, hold all the weight, and keep us within budget.