Category Archives: Robots

The Internet Gong

The Idea

A while back I wanted something that made a noise to notify me of an event. The original plan was to replicate Andy Rubin’s gong doorbell. The large gong and mallet was a little bit out of my price range but a good idea is a good idea. I ordered one from Amazon and combined with a servo and a Arduino Nano clone I set about the same idea.

 

Gong

Gong

 

With a little bit of tape it was finished. The design is basic but functional. The beater is attached to a 9g servo which acts as the human arm. An Arduino Nano clone is used to to move the servo.

 

In action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vFhrOvHxIs

 

Triggering the Gong

Communication to the gong is done over serial. Sending “gong\n” over serial, triggers the beater/mallet to strike the gong and then move out the way to avoid a second gong strike. The code for the Arduino is below:

Conclusion

For a mini project this is perfect for getting servos and Arduinos to work together. Mine is currently connected to my Google calendar to alert me five minutes before a meeting.

 

The door bell will have to wait.

Pi Wars

This weekend (6th December) I was lucky enough to attend http://piwars.org/ at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but it was a robotics event outside London so it was worth the risk.

I took my young ish son and a friend on the trip with the promise of robots and hopefully some robot wars style fun. We arrived a little bit early and had time to have a look around and chat to some of the exhibitors and robot owners before the competition kicked off.

The first that struck me was how friendly and happy to talk everyone was. Everyone was there to learn and even if they didn’t realise it, teach. My son was very impressed with http://www.cannybots.com/ these are small 3D printed bluetooth controlled like cars that could with follow a black line on white paper or be controlled manually. My friend and the guy running the display happily traded 3D printing stories while my son and I raced two little robot cars around the table.

All the robots taking part were Pi powered and varied in size. There were a number of different courses and challenges. The assault course below was a good watch with enough varied surfaces to challenge most of the robots.

Assault Course

The drag strip and the sumo fights were also great to watch. Some of the sumo matches ended up being a bit one sided.

 

 

Drag Race Sumo

 

It was a well organised and entertaining event. The boy and I intend to return, hopefully with a robot.

The venue was also very interesting, we went for a quick stroll for lunch and found an awesome old style telescope, well at least the container for it.

Outside