WiFi Dogbot

I was looking for a “why” for investing my time in Atmel AVR devices, because with a “why” progress is always faster. I think making an autonomous robot with dog-like behaviour will make an excellent one / two year multi-layer project, that will be able to demonstrate itself at the end. Also it won’t consume too much cash.

This post is to create a problem description, expected outcomes, and path I’ll be taking. It will also be a reference when I forget where I was going with this.


  • Being able to find my ‘Droid when it has gone missing around the house, and (more reguarly) being able to find my wife’s Crackberry is a fairly regular occurrence. So, I’d like to build something that can find both of these WiFi enabled devices. Also, being able to search out iPhones and WiFi APs, like a drug sniffer dog, would be mildly entertaining for family and visitors.

Expected features

  • Autonomously seek out and approach WiFi sources in order of strength.
  • “Bark” when the device is in close proximity.
  • Navigate & travel at dog speed in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Avoid aggressive obstacles within the map. “Growl” at these obstacles.
  • Reorientate autonomously if an aggressive obstacle “picks up” or “plays”.

Optional features

  • Follow someone around whether or not they have a WiFi device.


  • The floor is flat. Litter can be avoided. -> a cheaper indoor chassis can be used.
  • The room is small. 10m x 10m map can be built, with translation as map edge approached. -> memory conservation.

Initial Plan

  1. Build chassis platform for use indoors.
  2. Build motor controls to allow straight line, radius, and B?zier motion.
  3. Build emergency collision avoidance.
  4. Build long distance sensors.
  5. Build voice box – bark, growl, yap, whine, etc.
  6. Build area mapping.
  7. Build aggressive object collision avoidance.
  8. Build aggression response.
  9. Build WiFi sensors & target mapping.
  10. Build intelligence logic to enable end result.
  11. Build Thermal sensors & target tracking.

Component sourcing

  • Chassis

1x Pololu 5″ inch Robot Chassis RRC04A http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/353
1x Pololu 42 x 19mm Wheel and Encoder Set http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/307
1x TB6612FNG Dual Motor Driver Carrier http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/319
1x Pololu Ball Caster with 1″ Plastic Ball http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/370
2x 30:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/344

1x Arduino Duemilanove http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardDuemilanove
(will be replaced in step 9.)
1x Arduino Proto Shield http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7914

  • Emergency Sensors

3x Pololu Carrier with Sharp GP2Y0D810Z0F Digital Distance Sensor 10cm

  • Long Distance Sensors.

2x Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F Analog Distance Sensor 20-150cm http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/272
1x SRF10 Dual Transducer Ultrasonic Ranger http://www.robot-electronics.co.uk/htm/srf10tech.htm

  • Voice Box.

1x Piezo Buzzer from NerdKits

  • Aggression Sensors.

1x MMA7260QT 3-Axis Accelerometer http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/766
1x LISY300AL Single-Axis Gyro http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/765

  • WiFi Sensor (and revised Microcontroller Platform).

1x BlackWidow 1.0 http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/blackwidow-10-p-613.html

  • Thermal Sensor.

1x Thermopile Array http://www.robotgear.com.au/Product.aspx/Details/294

So, maybe the next post once some more details are to hand.

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