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Arduino Robot

The project history

Arduino Robot is a project in which Arduino and Complubot Robotics Association have been working for the last two years, with the help of many others. We want to thank all the contributors to the project, and specially to the Arduino Team for their effort, dedication and their trust in us.

Complubot Robotics Association started in 2003 in the field of educational robotics for children from 6 to 18 years old. Over this time we have developed many robots, and participated whith some of then at the RoboCupJunior (RCJ) from 2006 to 2011.

Nerea and Iván with Nexus 8.2
September 2010
Arduino Robot
May 2013

Sharing what has been learnt is the main object for the participans in the RCJ, so our posters and presentations have always been full with information and technical details about our research and work.

After 6 years participating in the RCJ world championship and having won four consecutive times the first price in the Soccer league (China, 2008; Graz in Austria, 2009; Singapur, 2010 and Istambul in Turkey, 2011) we had the sensation that our next challenge should be to deliver our experience and results to all those students and hobbyists that could be interested in robotics.

Iván, Nerea, Massimo and David
in Bergamosciencza 2010

In September 2010 we were participating in an international robotic soccer competition in Bergamo, Italy, in the Bergamosciencza science festival. It was then when we shared a little meeting with David and Massimo of the Arduino Team, and where we stated the basis of this new project. There is where the Lottie Lemon project was born.

Arduino Robot: Lottie Lemon Video for
World Maker Faire NYC 2011
October 2011

Lottie Lemon's objective was to be an educational, low cost, and easy to learn platform, that could evolve with the users knowledge.

Complubot's Nexus robots Series 9
World Champions in 2011
Complubot's robots ASR Series
An inspiration for the mechanical structure of Arduino Robot

To achieve this goal, we took our experience and a simplified model of one of our wining championship robots: a structure with tho independent boards, one on top of the other, each one with it's own processor (forming a double processor architecture), communicating both with a high speed serial line.

Working meeting with David (Arduino)
May 2011
Early conceptual design of the Arduino Robot
May 2011

Thus we began shaping and forging the ideas and the final product, that we finally decided to call it Lottie Lemon. By summer 2011, we made a preliminary design for field testing.

First prototype of Lottie Lemon
July 2011
First "Race" of Lottie Lemon
July 2011

We spent the rest of the summer working in this first prototype design, finishing it by September's end, and to whom we called "el verde" (the green). To save time we ask David for help with the design of the PCBs, sharing the work load with him. He delivered, a few days after, the finished boards, ready for building!

In the "garage" with Lottie Lemon and Popcorn
August 2011
The Lottie Lemon "green"
August 2011

With this robot we learnt a lot about the behavior of low-cost motors, nothing to do with our out-of-the-budget (but extremely efficient) Maxon motors form our competition robots. Finally we implemented a hardware and software control system that could achieve good results form the Lottie Lemon's actuators.

Drive system of our competition robot
Nexus series.
Drive system of the "Green" robot
with the test probes.

"El verde" was composed of two boards placed one on top of the other in a sandwich structure, separated with hexagonal rods. Boards were connected through a flat wire where power and communication signals where shared. The upper board was called the control board, and the lower board, the motor board.

First video of the Lottie Lemon "green"
September 2011
Enhanced floor sensors Lottie Lemon "green"
September 2011

With the green Lottie Lemon we made the first programs, and the first functional tests. For that we developed the first firmware for the motor board (a command interpreter). With this first programs it was able to be aware of the state of the sensors, move, and do some harder tasks such as follow lines.

In the last trimester of 2011 the first blue version of Lottie Lemon was made. Each of the two boards of the robot still had it's own processor (an Arduino Mini), but we integrated the improvements we discovered while testing the previous prototype.

A group of friends help us mount
the first batch of robots
December 2011
The three-day work
December 2011

During the following months, we prepared the first stack of robots to test them with a group of students. That way in April 2012 we offered the first Lottie Lemon workshop in the Robotic Week of the Universidad de Alcalá


Arduino Robots ready for the
Workshop in the UAH Robotics Week
April 2012
Showing the Arduino Robot in the
iweekend Madrid 2012

In spring 2012, important changes were made to the robot, going from a functional prototype to a more destined-to-manufacture machine. We abandoned the plug-in modules (the Arduino Mini was placed in a socket) in favor of having each board with its own processor, an ATMEGA32U4, the same processor as the Arduino Leonardo, that has native USB capabilities. Also the monochromatic screen was changed to a bigger, full-color screen (the same that Arduino Explora uses). The first magnetic orientation sensors were integrated, and we started working on a power supply system that included the battery charger and the voltage regulator to guarantee constant voltage to the robot's motors.

Working in the software of the robot at Arduino factory
May 2012
First version of the Arduino Robot with LCD color
May 2012

Also we started working in the aesthetics of the machine, improving the looks of it as well as the functionality.

Bottom of Arduino Robot and
a protector.
May 2012
Tolking about the robot design
at Arduino office in Turin
May 2012

By the summer of 2012 we had a very improved version of the robot that we used to present it in our association stand in the 2012 RoboCupJunior World Championship, celebrated in Mexico City.

RoboCupJunior world championship
2012 in Mexico City
June 2012
RoboCupJunior world championship
2012 in Mexico City
June 2012

It was a good occasion to check the opinion of professional, hobbyist and general public, specially that of the numerous children that daily went to the competitions.

RoboCupJunior world championship
2012 in Mexico City
June 2012
RoboCupJunior world championship
2012 in Mexico City
June 2012

During the following months we continued showing the robot in all the forums where we were invited. We talked about our experiences and research at the same time as we improved the prototypes, solved problems and added new functionalities that drew us closer to the final product that we have at the moment.

Arduino Barcamp Zaragoza 2012
July 2012
Educational Robotics Congress in Guatemala
Septiembre de 2012

OSHWCon Madrid 2012
October 2012
European Robotics Week
GMV Robotics Day
December 2012

By the end of 2012 we had a 100% stable version, and we focused on software from then on. This work was made by David and Xun (that joined the project in that stage) with some collaboration from our association in the control algorithms (PID tuning) and the examples, as well as the functional tests on the final version of the robot.

Programming at 4 AM
April 2013
Line-follower test
April 2013

Now, more than two years later from that first meeting in Bergamo with David and Massimo, the Arduino Robot is ready for its presentation. This fills us with pride, specially as we get to share most of what we have learned over more than 10 years of dedication to educational robotics, and made it a great utility for hobbyists, teachers, students and even professionals. All this thank to the Arduino Robot.

Eduardo, Nerea and Iván
May 2013