Not too long ago, Lucy and I built a SnapCircuits rover and then rebuilt it. It was a fun project, and it was easy to drive, but even before we started building it, Lucy expressed her interest in actually being able to build a rover that she could program. I wanted to use the SnapCircuits rover as a starting point, to see if this would really capture her interest for more than one project. It did. Katherine also really wanted to get in on programming a rover, so I began to piece out what a "programmable" rover would look like.
I wanted to build something that not only could be programmed, but also have a camera that could send back real-time video. That would allow us to set up an obstacle course in our living room, and crudely simulate the Mars rovers.
I’m happy to report that most of the pieces for "Rover Version 2" arrived today:
This is Dagu 4WD Chassis from RobotShop, a Raspberry Pi 2 and a USB WiFi module from AdaFruit.com. The only thing missing are the motor drivers, which should arrive later this week. These were the minimum-required parts for the next Rover. Once we get this one put together and working, then we’ll add the camera.
Come Saturday, Lucy and I will start to build the chassis. Between now and then, I need to get comfortable with the Raspberry Pi (since this will be my first time with one). With an insane amount of luck, we’ll be able to take it for the first test drive this weekend.
Stay tuned for our next Science and Technology podcast!