Our 3D printed robot platform is designed for debris retrieval, exploration, and mobile sensor monitoring.
Debris retrieval is focused on tiny trash 10-50mm. Using semi-autonomous behaviours, the robot will be more efficient at collecting this size of debris than by hand. Deploying this as a tool for Citizen Science enables us to navigate to less accessible areas. With interchangeable drive system and arm modules, functionality can be extended. The vision is to have a fleet of robots integrated with existing environmental efforts, autonomously performing their tasks.
The robot is both robust and nimble. Watch as the robot overcomes obstacles and explores a shoreline (video):
The robot weighs 3-5kg, and its dimensions are 38cm long (70cm with arm fully extended), 37cm wide, and 36cm tall (72cm with arm up). In simpler terms, it’s about the size of a poodle
Our technical progress logs are on our hackaday.io project page. There you can also find the .stl files for the pre-release open source version of the robot.
We are always looking for collaborators with a willingness to learn and try new ideas. Contact us and we can work together
Constraints we set for developing the robot platform were:
- Replicable: The chassis of the robot is entirely 3D printed. We did this so that anyone with a 3D printer will be able to replicate the same robot – essentially creating a standardized robot platform for citizen science
- Low-cost: The base features for the robot will have to be the lowest cost possible, so that people can get up and running with the robot. For this reason, we use simple sensors, and sometimes have to rely on a robot operator for navigation assistance
- Print size: The pieces are designed to be printed on a 10cm x 10cm x 10cm build platform. Some pieces are the exception, extending 2cm more. Maximum print time for a single piece is 4 hours
Arm with scoop end-effector:
Base of robot:
Wheels on robot:
The board on the robot is currently hand soldered. We are developing a pcb so that it will be easier for everyone to add the electronics. Our main controller is a Teensy 3.2, and we will be upgrading to a Teensy 3.6.
The GPS Unit is standalone and can be attached onto the base of the robot. This modularity allows for the GPS Unit to be taken on other adventures as well, such as a stand up paddleboard. The connector can be added from the unit to the robot to feed it the current latitude and longitude necessary for navigation to a waypoint. The coordinates are logged every 2-5 seconds to a file on the micro sd card.
The control box is used to remotely operate the robot. We can achieve 1km distance line of site, and we have tested it at 150m. There are 5 buttons for advanced functions. The control uses an off the shelf “Wii Nunchuck” (video game controller) that can be used one-handed, and has two buttons which control the arm and scoop pitch.