Steve Davee of the Portland Area Robotics Society (PARTS) writes, “Along the lines of tiny robots, I wanted to bring to your attention the cutting edge of hobby robotics as far as small robots go, and a bit of the history behind it. About three years ago, the current PARTS president, Pete Skegg, created a tiny pic-based robot controller board that allowed us to have the first micro-sumo (5cm cubed, 100 grams) competition”. Read on for a wealth of info and links related to tiny robots.
Pete spawned a great interest in our club in building ever-smaller robots. Monty Goodson, the new PARTS president, has since created a tiny robot controller board that has spawned all sorts of new and increasingly tinier robots.
In particular, Scott Davis (former PARTS member) and Casey Holmes are leading a nano-sumo revolution. We just had the world’s first nano-sumo competition down in Southern Oregon, At Robomaxx.
http://www.noeticdesign.com/robotics/ – Shows some of the history and development of micro-sumos, and the products that Pete developed that allowed it, particularly the ‘Lil Picy board. This is what started it all for us.
http://www.bittybot.com/ – Home of the Megabitty, the new vanguard of smaller robots.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/megabitty – This group has become a hub of activity about building ever smaller and more innovative robots, in addition to being about general robotics applications of the Meggabitty Controller.
http://www.junun.org/MarkIII/Store.jsp – Megabitties can be ordered here, as well as the PARTS- developed Mark III
http://www.robotdirectory.org/details.cfm?id=108&cat=1 – Mousetrap, Monty’s amazing micro-sumo.
http://www.robotdirectory.org/details.cfm?id=126&cat=1 – Scott Davis’s Chaisaii, the first fully completed, legal nano-sumo.
http://firstname.lastname@example.org/ – Casey Holmes robotics website. Add-ons for the Megabitty that facilitate small robots with object detections and line sensors.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nanoroom – Casey’s group dedicated to nano-robots.
http://www.robotdirectory.org/details.cfm?id=121&cat=1 – Nanoscoop, one of several of Casey’s nano-designs.
http://www.solarbotics.net/gallery/RoboMaxx2?page=2 – Photos and video of micro and nanorobots in action from Robomaxx.
Anyway, just a heads up about the people and sites driving smaller hobby robots and the parts that allow them, like the Megabitty, its accessories, and Casey’s products.
It is also interesting to note that a great enabler of these smaller robots is the increasing use of lithium polymer batteries. As we all know, batteries Suck. But they are getting better. Two years ago when Pete Skeggs and I built the first two competition Micro-sumo robots, the main pain was batteries. Now, my newer micro-sumos are a fraction of the bulk of the older ones due to the use of newer battery tech and the tinier controller board.
I think the really interesting thing going on here is the drive-by hobbyists to make robotic products that have no equivalent commercially.
Huge efforts by Pete, Monty, and Casey among others have yielded products sold at barely over material cost, let alone with compensation for time, all so that we can build ever-tinier and cooler robots.