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Around my house I’ve renamed my MadeUSA “Big Bruiser” for the black and blue marks it leaves on my ankles when it runs into me during programming tests. Chalk it up to an occupational hazard. And besides, I got these bruises while having fun.

This bot, which is strong enough to cart around a full-grown person balancing on its ⅝”-thick HDPE deck, runs on a pair of automotive power window motors and pneumatic rubber wheels.

The kit comes with motor drivers and ten (count’em!) Ping ultrasonic rangers that ring the base and give the robot its mythological Medusa look. You supply the battery, switches, fuses, and microcontroller — I’ve used both an Arduino Mega 2560 and a Parallax Propeller. The motor drivers are controlled via serial commands, and their position encoders let you specify travel distances before a stop or turn.

Gordon McComb

Gordon McComb

Gordon McComb has been building robots since the 1970s and wrote the bestselling Robot Builder’s Bonanza. You can read his plans to take over the world with an army of mind-controlled automatons, along with other musings, at robotoid.com.


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