Inexpensive Android Arduino Truckbot

One of the main reasons for using cell phones as part of robots is to drive down costs. Today’s phones come with wi-fi, cellular connections, Bluetooth, GPS, touch sensing, accelerometers, magnetometers, displays, microphones, speakers, and cameras. They are now being powered by 1Ghz processors and come with ample amounts of storage. Everything you need in a robot except for mobility is already in your pocket. We just needed to add some inexpensive mobility to it.

You can see the cardboard Truckbot in action here:

We started work on the Android Ardunio cellbot by looking at a kit from Oomlout called SERB. At $175 it was way out of our price range unfortunately. Oomlout provides everything you need to build your own kit but we wanted to use smaller servos ($3.50 each)  and needed a place to mount a phone. So we tried designing our own layout using CAD software called Solid Works. Then we made practice cuts using the laser on cardboard, which turned out to be sturdy enough to run without needing expensive acrylic.

Here is Tim explaining the truckbot in detail.

It was just by chance that the design started to resemble a truck, and future designs might make better use of the truck bed for payloads. The design should also work for acrylic and larger servos with some slight modifications. We were going to make mounting holes for the Arduino boards but found that plastic tie straps keep things simple and flexible.

You can find the CAD drawing for the truckbot, the Arduino source, and Python scripts on our Google Code project site. Check out pictures below from the 4-weeks that we worked on the robot at the Tech Shop in Menlo Park.

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27 Responses to Inexpensive Android Arduino Truckbot

  1. JustinJames says:

    Excellent stuff – Can’t wait to see more.

  2. Pingback: Android Invasion » Android Phone Becomes Brain for Real Robot

  3. faint says:

    hi, where I can find what kind of Integrated Circuits did you use?

  4. ryan says:

    We used a 74LS04 chip to do the 3.3v to 5v conversion and an Arduino board for the main servo controlling. We have some into here on the hardware used:

  5. Gah! So angry at you guys. I thought I might be the first to do this. Got most of my coding done but I’m waiting on the extUSB breakout from Sparkfun.
    I was only about a week away from completion!

    Well now that there is no reason to hide it. Here is a couple of photos after my last rebuild. Nothing was connected at this point though.

    After I’m done, I might contribute to your project.

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  7. Matt says:

    Where are you getting the cheap servos from? Do you have a link?

  8. ryan says:

    We have a hardware list here with some links:

    Many places sell those type of servos so you should be able to find one that also has other parts you need so you can save on shipping.

  9. Mark says:

    Cool robot! Hope to see more.

    This made me wonder about something: an open device retains value better than a closed one because it can be repurposed. I wonder if this will cause a noticeable reduction in the number of phones that end up in landfills…

  10. Brennon says:

    From what I’ve seen the Android G1 is ~$400. Is there a way to get one for less, or perhaps use something similar?

  11. ryan says:

    You can find G1’s on eBay but they are still expensive. This is likely due to most people still being under contract since Android phones haven’t been on the market that long yet.

    Over time I suspect the prices for used Android phones to drop, and I hope Mark is right that some people find other cool uses for them instead of trashing or selling them.

  12. John Bäckstrand says:

    There are a lot of cheap android phones coming to market, notably from Huawei. Although HTC also has cheapers ones (Tattoo).

    But I also figure a lot of hackers already own android phones 🙂

  13. Pingback: Robots baratos con Android y Arduino [ENG]

  14. Well guys, I finally got the parts to get my verson of this up and running. Took a bit longer than expected for the parts.

    I’m hoping to join forces if you guys are interested.

  15. And here we have it guys,
    Bi-Directional Serial Communication on an Android G1

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  17. Jamaal Lopaz says:

    I am in a bit of pickle, I have had my iphone 3G for the past 2 years and it’s been pretty good. It is my understanding that Apple has a new software update coming out called OS 4 and it’s supposed to be adding some new features to the Apple iPhone. The problem is that I bought Verizon’s new HTC Incredible the HTC Incredible and it’s an incredible phone, way better than the iphone 3gs, BUT I’m hearing that Apple is going to be coming out with a brand new iphone altogether, and it’s supposed to be really nice but no one has any ideas as to when and Apple isn’t saying a thing. Should I keep my HTC Incredible, that I have a month to test and send it back if I don’t want to keep it, or should I return it, keep my current apple iphone and wait for the release for the new iPhone- tough to make up my mind.

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  20. Leikir says:

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  24. Abhas says:

    Hi friends,
    I wish to make a compact circuit (handling at least 4-5 functions) that will be controlled via android handset’s WiFi suing Arduino boards. (if there are any other methods, am open for suggestions). can you suggest which board i should use. Additionally, i will be looking for adding GPS compatibility to it. Please suggest me where should i start from. Also, i would need the programming or the android application to control the same. any suggestion would be welcome.

  25. My wife had arrived through the South, so I is at good hands.
    After shooting for about two minutes and a half, he pulled the trigger.
    On the Early days with the Peak Downs Field from “The Peak Downs Telegraph”.

  26. XRumerTest says:

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