While at a robotics club meeting several years ago, I ran across a guy that made vacuumed formed robot shells. I really liked this one as it reminded me of the Topo robot from the 80's. So I bought one from him and made Smallbot. I still have him although he's been sitting on a shelf for like 6 years now. The only real mode I made was to cut his off and mount a servo so that his head could rotate. Maybe I will get him off the shelf and do something with him again. You never know.


I used an ooPIc for his brains. It provided plenty of CPU power and I/O for my needs. It also didn't consume much power or space which was important because there is not much room inside to fit motors, electronics and batteries.


I used standard sized hobby servos that I hacked for continuous rotation. Smallbot uses an interesting placement of the drive wheels. As you can see in the photo, they are at a sharp angle. I'm not sure if there is really any benefit to this, but it looks cool. I have a feeling its extra stress on the on the motor shafts and wheels that they were not designed for.


I only had put a few sensors on Smallbot before I stopped working on him. In his head he had an ultrasonic range finder, his chest had a light sensor, and near his "feet" he had two Sharp IR distance sensors, and a couple of bump sensors in the front. Internally he also had a small circuit to measure battery voltage from the MCU. I never got around to it, but he was also going to have wheel encoders.


All the photos I could find of Smallbot…

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