There is something about robots that have captured my imagination as long as I can remember. They are my comfort zone whenever I embark on new Maker adventures; as soon as I get past the “blinking LED” project, a basic robot is always my go to project when learning a new platform or technology. And so, when I decided to give Windows IoT Core a try, this project was naturally my starting point. The Rover is a simple robot so it’s a good place to start but it’s also infinitely expandable.
This initial Rover project creates a little robot that runs around your living room on its own. It just drives straight ahead until it detects an object blocking its path. At which point, it turns until it can find a clear path and then its full speed ahead again. The heart of the Rover is a Raspberry Pi running Window 10 IoT Core. The two motors are driven via a dual H-bridge motor controller and an ultrasonic distance sensor is used to detect obstacles. The Rover can be built on any rolling chassis; I selected a low cost one that is readily available from a variety of retailers around the world.
This is a beginner project and no advanced software or hardware skills are required. Excluding the pre-requisites, this project can be completed in 1.5 to 2 hours if you have any Arduino or similar microcontroller experience. If this is your very first electronics project, I recommend that you spend a couple hours watching a few introductory Arduino and Raspberry Pi videos prior to getting started.
I have a few enhancements still to make:
- Light dependent resistor and LEDs for headlights.
- Code to mimic a PWM signal on the digital GPIO pins to adjust the Rover’s speed.
- 3D print a body to hide all the electronics (maybe print a chassis as well).
If you try any of these enhancements or any others you come up with, please leave a comment and let me know how it went.
Here are some online resources that I found very helpful throughout the course of this project:
- Get Windows 10 IoT Core running on your Raspberry Pi 2 (instructions here).
- Get Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015 running on your PC (instructions here).
- Deploy a simple Windows app to the Raspberry Pi to ensure everything is working (instructions here).
Note: It will take 2-3 hours to complete the pre-requisites but most of that time is unattended.
What You’ll Need
- Raspberry Pi 2 and standard accessories: 5v 2A power supply, 8GB class 10 micro SD card, case, and network cable
- Jumper wires – both male/male and male/female
- Mini breadboard
- Robot car chassis kit which includes a base, motors, and wheels
- L298N motor controller
- HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor
- 1k and 2.2k Ohm resistor
- LM2577 DC-DC adjustable step up power converter module
- 3 x 1.5v AA battery holder
- Optional: 4 x 1.5v AA battery holder with on/off switch and cover
- Optional: Double sided tape or Velcro or rubber bands
- #1 Phillips head screwdriver
- small needle nose pliers
- Optional: wire stripper
- Optional: soldering iron
- Optional: electrical tape
Step 1: Assemble the robot chassis
Time: 30 minutes
Tools: #1 phillips head screwdriver; soldering iron or electrical tape; optional wire stripper
Parts: robot chassis kit; optional 4 x AA battery holder with on/off switch
There are several robot kits on the market that will work with this project. You just need a kit with two driven wheels and a third for balance. Follow the instructions which came with your robot chassis kit to assemble the base plate, motors, and wheels. I found a YouTube video showing the assembly of a robot kit very similar to the one I used.
Read More: Rover Robot Project Using Raspberry Pi 2 Model B