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The goal of this mechatronics system design project is to create a simple robotics control and interface platform using a Microchip PIC processor. The intent is for this platform to be able to host a wide variety of simple sensors, displays, and outputs that can be carried around by its drive. The platform will be able to take in and interpret 2.4GHz remote-control signals.

For a novel twist on remote-control robotics, we have designed this robot to be encapsulated within an acrylic sphere. It is platformed on a 3D-printed chassis that holds upright its two geared DC motors that rest on the bottom of the sphere. At the midsection of the sphere sits the circular flat platform which carries the control board, sensors, and outputs. This setup can be seen in the final photograph of the project below. The robot’s spherical design offers multiple mobility and maneuverability advantages over common four-wheeled chassis designs. It can traverse wet, sandy, or rough terrain without risking getting any individual wheel or axle mechanism stuck, and it is able to orient itself in any direction by revolving around a singular point. The shell allows the robot to remain intact in otherwise difficult environments, protecting its own electronics and sensor payload from being submerged in liquids or damaged by force.

For this project, we specifically implemented a battery level indicator and a tilt sensor to warn the user of instability or control movement. A common issue with less expensive RC vehicles is the sudden loss of power due to the battery dying; a battery sensor would eliminate this issue by displaying a number zero to five to indicate the amount of charge left. An orientation warning would make a loud beep when the interior structure of the robot is no longer the right way up, which causes issues when trying to steer. This sensor can be configured by the robot’s processor to also control motion as a corrective aid. Additionally, the robot was designed to allow for easy customization once the base platform is completed.


Final Project Report for ENGR-4367 Mechatronics

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