Dark Helmet by James Munro

Robot Name: Dark Helmet
Builder Name: Jim Munro
Built on: June 10, 2001
Functions: Line Tracking Robot 
Parts used:
Wheels: (2) 2 1/2" Du-Bro Lite-Flite(?) wheels
Motors: (2) Servo motors modified for continuous rotation
Brains:  Basic Stamp clone "First Step" microcontroller as sold by Lynxmotion, Inc.
Sensors: 3 Reflective opto-sensors
Frame: 1 Mobile Robot Platform ( B-Bot made by Marvin Green ) 
Power: 6-pack of AA batteries (Rechargeable) for the servo motors
         and 1-9V battery to power the logic
        A local robot club that I am a member of ( Chibots <
        http://www.robotroom.com/ChiBots/index.html > ), 
        is hosting a demonstration of line-following robots
        this month ( April 2001 ).   
        I'd like to enter into this competition since it's not overly
        difficult.  I would also like to incorporate a nice *looking*
        robot into my creation.  Given that goal I've decided to build
        my robot *into* a cheap flower pot that, when inverted, gives a
        somewhat "robotic" shape.  This isn't a new idea, I have seen
        others use this design but of course I think mine is cooler. ;)  
        Having to build the robot within a framework is a good  engineering
        challenge as you are limited as to what you can do with the
        physical boundaries imposed by the "skin". It makes it harder, but
        I feel this is offset by a satisfying looking robot when completed.  
        Overall, I'm happy with the result and plan on building more, larger
        "flower-pot" bots.  

Problems encountered:
        Problems getting the Basic Stamp 1 to behave with a variety of
        I've never been wild about using stamps but I wanted to put together
        a robot that wouldn't be taken apart to supply other robots with
        parts so I used up an old MCU that I had lying around.  I have had
        assorted problems, so if you have a fix for 'em, please email me! :)
        1.  Servo on Pin 0 goes crazy when I try and use SOUND on pin7.
        2.  With all the pins populated, I can't get it to recognize a button press on pin6 or any other pin.
        3.  Non-stamp problems, decided that having a rotating head maybe wasn't such a necessity but 
                decided to keep it for "cool factor".
        4.  Hot-melt glue doesn't work well on flexible plastic. But then, you knew that. ;) 

Time to build: About 8-10 hours
Cost: About $60.00 USD 

You can view more detailed picture of this robot and pictures of other
robots at my website.  
Feel free to visit me at http://www.xnet.com/~jimmn/robotics/  or email
me if you have any questions.

-Jim Munro
Email: jimmn@xnet.com

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