Robotics is an extremely fascinating subject, as a child, I grew up around the Si Fi television series and movies and always wanted a talking robot that I could befriend. I remember that once asked my parents to get me a robotic sister like the one I saw in the television series Small Wonder. Even though all this happened a long time ago I still have the want for a robotic companion.I haven’t lost home, and with the rapid development of 3d printing and Robotics I now believe that I may be able to get one in my lifetime.
The open source electronics community has done a fantastic job of making people aware about its possibilities,what was once an object of science fiction for us is now being made by kids at the age of 10 and 12. The cheap availability and fast reach of 3d printing technology has further helped the advancement in this sector.
Off late we have seen a boom in projects where 3d printing and electronics has been used in tandem, once such project is posted by a user “hobbyman” on the project sharing site Instructables. While explaining the project he wrote “This is a bulldozer, tank, robot, digger toy or a serious robot platform and maybe some other things. I mean it is a bit modular. The electronics and code I've provided makes it run, remote-controlled by pc via a Bluetooth link and yes; it talks.”
The beauty of his project is that one can add many Add ons to the base and give it a personal touch. The base resembles the continuous track used in a tank; however the top can be designed to make it look like a bulldozer, tank, or a digger toy. The Wheels are custom designed to make it easy for fabrication and the toy moves using DC mini motor. The Wheels can be connected using a bicycle chain to give it the look of a real tank. The electronic board which controls the toy fits on top of the chassis just like we see in real cars and also houses the battery that gives power to the toy.
Hobbyman has also released codes to makes the top body of the toy move like a Digger or a Bulldozer on his Instructablespage. The STL Files required to make the 3d printable part are shared on Thingiverse.
If these capabilities were not enough for you to make this modular toy, Hobbyman has also made the HEX file with the voices downloaded online from the popular Warcraft video game. This gives the toy the unique capability of having custom speech, and follow commands sent through Bluestick Control app. The Bluestick Control app that can control the toys movement is now available on the Google play store. The Toy can also be controlled using a serial terminal program via PC.
Making an open source Customizable Voice command operated toy can sound very intimidating for someone who is new to the maker community, but projects like these are perfect examples of what can be achieved with a little knowledge of Coding and the power of 3d printing.