The Mechatronic Tank and Spirit II


Today we have a couple very cool projects from Robert Beatty and his daughters Genevieve (Age 9) and Camille (Age 11). Robert, Genevieve and Camille are all very interested in robots and decided to set out to build their own. Inspired by modern tanks as well as the Mars rovers, they built two very cool robots - the Mechatronic Tank and the Spirit II Mars Rover.

As you can see in the above video, the Mechatronic Tank is pretty amazing. Besides looking awesome, the tank features a host of impressive electronics. The tanks main software is controlled by an Arduino Mega 2560 and it also uses 12 MaxBotix MaxSonar Ultrasonic Sensors. It uses our MP3 Trigger for sound and communicates wirelessly via the XBee protocol. Check out the Mechatronic Tank page for more information. Oh, yeah - and it shoots 1,000+ BBs per minute at 350 feet-per-second. Incoming!

The second bot is inspired by the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and is aptly named the Spirit II Mars Rover. It also uses an Arduino Mega and XBee, and gets its power from a few of our solar cells. Check out the video above and visit their webpage for more info. Awesome work Robert, Genevieve, and Camille!


Comments 20 comments

  • Nice robots.. wish i could make em' that good

  • Nice job, dad! When they’re older, I can recommend a good finishing school for your girls:
    http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/Research_DAndrea/FMA

    • I smiled when I saw your post. Yeah, I could definitely see the girls at a finishing school like that. :)

  • Why is “The above video,” the vid for According to Pete 9-06-11?

  • absolutely amazing!!! I’d love to build some robots like that!

  • Totally awesome! Keep ‘em coming!

  • I did this some time ago..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnUyb-XCbMg

  • These vehicles are nice, but i would not talk about robot, but r/c vehicles. Robot involve autonomy.

  • Way to cool!

  • great suspension on the mars rover!
    where the quad-copters kits or home brew/

    • Our two quad rotors were not kits. The large one is made of an aluminum frame that we constructed from raw sheets of aluminum and aluminum square tubes. The mini quad is made out of ABS sheet, velcro, and kite parts. Both these units have the same Arduino-based AutoPilot microcontroller, IMU, and downward-facing sonar (for automatic altitude control when flying in drone mode), which were purchased at Sparkfun. My girls and I learn a lot from and participate with the www.diydrones.com community, which is where a lot of the knowledge and components come from. This is a Do-It-Yourself crew who are into the details of building, programming, and flying autonomous arial vehicles. They also sell parts, and more recently really neat kits, and whatever you need to get started. If you’re interested in building one of these, it starts here: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10294.

      • I see that you’re playing on a hard wood floor. I was wondering how the Spirit II Mars Rover handles on dirt?

        • It can roll over many types of surfaces, but the real issue, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is whether the servos can rotate the wheels on the z-axis in order to make turns. In anticipation of this, we installed high-torque digital Hitec servos. Smooth and/or loose low-friction terrain such as hardwood floors, concrete, asphalt, large rock surfaces, small-sized gravel surfaces, loose or hard dirt, etc. is OK. It doesn’t do as well on certain types of carpets because these particular wheel treads tend to stick almost like velcro to certain carpet types, so it struggles a bit to rotate the wheels. It can do it, but it’s not nearly as quick and smooth as on other surfaces. Sometimes it even torques the whole frame a bit before turning because the wheels get temporarily stuck in the carpet. (So, if it was going to be a carpet-bot, then we would change the tread style). In the future, we’ll do some videos of outside expeditions.

  • Awesome robots, first post!


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