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Build a Ball-Counting Robot Using Makeblock and Lego

The video above is a demo of the robot. After watching example videos showing a GBC (Great Ball Contraption), we really wanted to build one ourselves. Finally, we decided to build a robot which could count the number of the balls. It could be refitted to other robots which could count the number of screws or other tiny parts.

How it works
Since we don’t have an infrared sensor which could detect the object, we decided to build a smart structure which could give a response when the ball passes. As you can see in the video, we use a lever. The left side is a basket. When a ball is falling down, the limit switch is touched. It transmits a signal to a numerical display which shows the number of the balls. The electronic parts are based on Arduino.
View Project Steps:

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3&DBot: An Arduino 3D printer-robot with wheels


We know the origins of 3D printers and the robots. Someone had the great idea to combine these two concepts and build a hybrid robot that can print 3D objects on almost any print surface.

Hacking a 3D printer and a wheeled robot to build an innovative 3D printer-robot with omnidirectional wheels and independent movement is the idea of a team of engineers from NEXT and the physical computing lab LIFE from Brazil. The engineers find an elegant solution to print 3D objects on unlimited print surfaces with different materials having different properties such as ceramics, modeling clay, earthenware and other pasty mixtures that can be stored in a syringe extruder.

The innovative 3D printer was called 3&DBot and is based on the Arduino controller. The robot-printer is controlled wirelessly from a computer via Wi-Fi connection.

The movement of the robot on the XY axis is similar to the movement of a vehicle with four omnidirectional wheels. While the wheels move the platform in any direction, the 3D printer extruder melting and forming materials into a continuous profile with unlimited dimensions in the two-dimensional XY-plane.

The 3D printer is so simple that can be built at home. If you’re looking for more information, here’s a great story how the printer was built.


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One robot kit and two applications: line follower and obstacle detection


Line follower and obstacle detection are two very popular applications in robotics for both beginners and advanced users. The online stores are full of robot kits able to follow a black line, detect obstacles, or make available a wide range of components to build one of these bots. But the simplest solution remains a kit that makes all of these.

Featured with components for two applications and labeled with a cheap price, the Linksprite kit is one of the best platforms for beginners in robotics. This kit is designed for any maker who tries to learn electronics and programming quickly and without spending a fortune on components.

The wheeled platform has attached two sensor types: infrared and path sensors. In front of the robot can be seen a board with five sensors that can detect a black line. At a first glance, the path sensor board looks simple, and indeed, it is very simple. But, the path board can do more than follow a simple line. When the middle sensor of the path board detects the back line, the robot goes forward. If the sensors located on the right of the board detect the line, the robot car turns slightly to the left. By analogy, an opposite behavior is applied when the sensors located to the left of the board detect the line. This feature is very useful in robotics competitions where the speed and ability to follow a line is important. Also, the user has to work with PWM control that enables the control speed of the robot.

The robot car can also detect obstacles with three infrared sensors located in front of the platform. Having three sensors, the robot can sense the direction of the object detected and change the direction in order to avoid the obstacle.

All that being said, I should mention that the kit comes without the Arduino microcontroller. So, if you already use an Arduino board, the kit is available at a price of $59.00. If you don’t have an Arduino board, you need to add $20 more for an Arduino UNO. The code for both applications is here.