Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wireless Arduino Esplora controls robotic head

This project expands on the XBee/Battery/Wireless Arduino Esplora project.  I motorized a robotic head on +hackfriday with an Arduino Uno and an +Adafruit motorshield.  I combine these projects today.

The Esplora sketch was modified to poll the joystick (4 directions) and the right button cluster.  When they are activated, an appropriate ASCII character is sent via serial to the XBee which sends it to the Uno which controls the head via a Motorshield.  An XBee shield (mine from iteadstudio, but there are many comparable ones from Sparkfun, etc.) only uses the hardware serial lines on D0 and D1 and power.  The Motorshield uses many digital pins but leaves D0/D1 free so the two shields stack without interference.

The robotic head is from +Mark Miller which comes with the head and base, two motors and two servos.

The Uno sketch takes the character and moves the appropriate motor (neck and chin) or stepper (eyes or mouth).

The code for the Esplora (EsploraXbeeRobot) and the Motorshield/head (BobSerial) is on GitHub for your downloading pleasure at

Youtube video of the project in action:

This is but one use for the Esplora as a controller.  You can expand this to make radio controlled vehicles, robots, mechanical arms, or mod your Furby for remote action.