As the computing processors and technologies are becoming faster and advancing, robotic technology is getting smarter with the flexible and extendable capabilities. Today most of the robots are capable of doing what a human being can do; moreover, robots are also implemented to do special tasks that humans find themselves restricted to. Such a requirement creates an interesting scenario in robotics among the people and researchers.
Therefore, considering such amazing benefits of robotics, the efforts involve in building a simple remote control robot can become stepping stones to acquire mastery in the field of robotics for those who are keenly interested in it. This article is an effort to provide some basic steps that can help make remote robots and also provides practical examples of such projects.
5 Steps to Make Remote Control Robots
1. Know the application requirement
The number one step to build a robot is to recognize or understand the purpose of building the robot. Based on the purpose, other parameters and tasks can be considered, such as robot size, shape, task, movements required, arm weight, handle capacity, wired or wireless-control technology, power backup, and so on. This step thus tells the objective of the robot and the corresponding tasks to be performed.
2. Design and simulate the prototype
This step involves paper work as well as design implementation in software. Before buying or ordering the components, parts and other robotic elements, one must draw a circuit associated with the required task and mechanical structure pertaining to the robot’s movements. In addition to this, simulation in software’s like CAD helps to simulate the robot, which gives necessary steps to overcome the limitations of building a robot.
3. Select the requirements and specifications
This is a crucial step that involves selection of specifications, ratings, control technologies and other designing parameters before assembling the robot. All such aspects and parameters include several steps and are described below.
Selection of motor and wheels
The most important part at the base of a robot is motor driven wheels. Minimum 2 to 3 wheels are required for a robot to move in forward, back, left and right directions, respectively. The selection of a motor also decides the accuracy of the movements; mostly a stepper motor and a servo motor are preferred for precise control.
Selection of body frame work
Selection of a proper frame work material decides weight, durability and expensiveness of the robot. These materials include wood, plastic, aluminum, and so on.
Selection of power supply and control block
Almost all robots are powered by a DC power supply, i.e., a battery, and thus avoid AC which plugs into wall distribution boards. The rating of these batteries is decided by the load of the robot, which is in Ampere hours, and also accounts for the motor ratings. Mostly 6 or 12V DC batteries are used. Types of batteries that are used include LiPO, NiCad, NiMH and alkaline batteries.
Selection of remote control system
This step decides the type of transmitter and receiver. Without this part remote robot can’t do anything. A transmitter transmits the control signals, whereas a receiver receives these particular frequency signals and sends them to the main controller part.
This transmitter and receiver section decides the frequency of signals like 38MHz, 27MHz, respectively; and therefore, it is illegal to use any frequency that may cause interface with other communication systems like aircraft, telephone, etc.
The main controllers consist of microprocessors, microcontrollers and other controlling devices that perform the tasks. The control unit possesses written codes to do the tasks in a deliberate manner.
Selection of arms, skins and subsystems
This step involves the selection of control arms, skins and other subsystems of the robots; for instance, selection of a weight-lifting arm for a pick and place robot that is capable of picking and placing weight whenever required; similarly, in a fire fighting robot, selection of water tank base and jet controller.
4. Buy the parts from a trusted source
Once done with the various components and parts, the next step is to order those components and parts from a trusted source so that you can get reliable components and can save money as well. You can buy electronic components and kits online or from a nearby shop according to your convenience and time.
5. Understand data sheets and then assemble
Before assembling the components and parts ensure that every component has required specifications by observing the data sheets of that particular component. After understanding all the data sheets, assemble all the components and parts neatly and gently.
These are some of the important steps to build remote control robots and complete the ready to perform robots. We encourage our readers to know more about these remote control robots, and therefore, the following section features some practical robots as examples that can be operated remotely by using different technologies.
IR Controlled Robotic Vehicle
This project uses a TV remote to control the robot vehicle’s movements. This vehicle uses a TV remote acting as a transmitter and transfers the control signals to the receiver. The receiver consists of an IR sensor that is placed in the vehicle itself sending the received signals to the microcontroller.
In this type of TV remote control robot, the TV remote transmits an RC5 coded data to the receiver section corresponding to each key pressing. When the microcontroller receives this particular code, it takes control action such that the robot is moved in forward, backward, left and right directions, respectively. A motor driver drives the two DC motors for the vehicle’s movement in desired direction.
Fire Fighting Robot Remotely Operated by Android Applications
This fire-fighting robot is specially designed to work in the presence of fire and also in other rescue operations. It carries a water tank with a pumping system in such a way that it throws the water with some pressure.
Remote control operation is achieved by using a smart phone or a tablet loaded with an Android OS upon the corresponding application for user interface. A Bluetooth modem is interfaced with this robot to receive the signals from the android phone.
As the pressing of a key in the phone corresponds to the vehicle movement is received by the Bluetooth modem, it sends the command signals to the microcontroller. The Microcontroller is programmed in such a way that it sends control signal to the motor driver, which in turn drives the two motors in desired direction. Another motor driver controls the movement of the arm of the robot and prompts sprinkling of water in the desired place.
These are the two examples of remote control robot’s operations wherein the remote operation is achieved by IR and Bluetooth technologies. This is all about the remote control robots, and we hope that we have been successful in providing the relevant knowledge to our readers. Furthermore, if any reader wants any type of help, assistance and support for the robotic projects, they can comment in the comment section below.