The M1 Nerfbot built by Joshua Clay is a semi-autonomous robot built around an electronically controlled Nerf Gun. Joshua says he built the robot because of his love of Nerf guns and to learn the in and outs of electronics and engineering. The Nerfbot features a skid steering drive train controlled by a RoboClaw motor controller. At the heart of the robot is a Raspberry Pi 2 used to run the main logic (written in Python) and control all of the peripheral hardware. For control, an XBox 360 controller is used to drive the robot around and is also used to receive feedback from the robot’s ultrasonic distance sensors.
The Nerf gun sits on a mount controlled by a pan and tilt servo combination that allows the gun to aimed. The gun features three fire modes: single shot, 3 round burst and 5 round burst. As with the drive controls the gun is operated via the XBox 360 controller. Video is fed back from the robot via two cameras, one mounted near the barrel of the Nerf gun and another on the front of the robot’s chassis. The chassis mounted camera moves side to side with the motion of the first person video headset that the video streams are fed to.
The Nerfbot is programmed for automatic collision avoidance. When the bot’s ultrasonic sensors detect a nearby object the robot automatically backs up. Before the automatic collision avoidance kicks in the controller will rumble to indicate that the bot is too close to nearby objects. The Nerfbot is just one example of the types of robotics projects that the RoboClaw motor controller can be used for. Joshua is in the process of making more modifications to the project and we look forward to seeing updates in the future.
Figure 1: An up close shot of the Nerfbot.