KLA Tencor has their nifty little challenge to move a 15 pound box (of silicon wafers) without touching it. So immediately we're thinking remote robotics, not too bad. But a 15 pound payload is pretty hefty - we'll need a fat motor to produce enough horsepower to comfortably move that box against the forces of kinetic and (more significantly) static friction induced by the normal force opposing gravity that determines the 15 pound payload. There's also not a lot of space to maneuver - we've got a cramped little corner in the back of the main hacking area.

What it does

Enter mowbot - a stripped down lawnmower designed to allow you to remotely move boxes from the comfort of your keyboard. Press on arrow keys to move mowbot, and pray that you don't blow out the voltage regulator with that hefty lawnmower motor.

How I built it

I wasn't planning on doing a hardware hack, but I perked up at a mobile robotic hack and thought I had to try.

In the end I used:

  • lawnmower, basic tools e.g. drill and drill bits to take lawnmower apart
  • 1 2x4, power saw, some duct tape for a ramp
  • arduino, breadboard, raspberry pi, computer
  • various connectors
    • usb a-usb b, for raspberry pi to arduino
    • ethernet-ethernet, for computer to raspberry pi
    • wires, voltage regulator and clips for battery source voltage

Challenges I ran into

  1. Getting a lawnmower that would be sufficient to move the . $$$
  2. I didn't have an HDMI cable or keyboard, so I had to do some network manipulation to allow headless access of the raspberry pi.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

What I learned

What's next for mowbot

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