Arte - An iOS controlled Arduino robot

By Erin Grooms



Main Components

  • MAX 99 base bundle w/double speed motor upgrade
  • Arduino Duemilanove (ATmega328)
  • ArduMoto motor controller
  • 4 MaxSonar-EZ1 sensors
  • Power Distribution Board w/DC batteries
  • 2 QRB1134 optical sensors
  • Arduino Protoshield
  • Podgizmo PodBreakout connector
  • 1st Gen iPhone jailbroken with Cydia

     This is my first effort at building a robot, and he's coming along pretty well
so far for someone without much hardware experience in recent years.  When
looking for a way to get good remote control, I was pricing all sorts of
micro/mini/etc motherboards, power supplies, and generally giving myself a
huge headache when I remembered that my old 1st generation iPhone was sitting
unused on a shelf somewhere.  I'd never jailbroken the phone before, but it
was a snap to do, and runs fairly well on version 3.1.3 and Cydia - as long as
you don't go hog wild and install a bunch of stuff on it.  The best thing is
that I saved having to get a WiFi shield, and as a bonus there's a bluetooth
modem inside as well (and a cmos camera, unless yours is like mine and is
completely useless)

      The Arduino controls the motors, reads sensor data, and interfaces with the
iPhone through a PodBreakout plug that I got from Sparkfun.
Digital pins 1 and 2 are connected to the PodBreakout via pins 12 and 13, and
serve as serial TX/RX.  Fair warning - the TX from the Arduino to the iPhone's
RX must be dropped down a few volts, more than 3.3 v can damage the phone. 
Right now, it's just dropped with a resistor, but a level shifter is on the
way for a more permanent solution.  Other than that, the only other thing that
comes out of the iPhone is a ground wire, and two wires I have dangling out
for when I eventually put an amp and some speakers inside.  The sonars are
daisy chained and output is from PW to digital in, as I found the analog
wasn't giving a very accurate reading.

     Arte has a very limited autonomous navigation system, the arduino is set to
look for a new route when either of the two front sonars (up and down, for
seeing furniture with a high lip like a recliner), and bases his route on data
from the two oblique sensors.  The QRB1134 optics are currently under-
utilized, the plan is to first use them to determine eventually use those
along with the sonar and a compass module to map out its surroundings.  The
real (fun) way to control him is remotely.
Right now, the iPhone is operating as a dumb terminal, all I need to do is SSH
to it from any system on my LAN and start up MiniCom.  The Arduino sketch I'm
writing for the bot has basic navigation for forward, back, left and right,
plus some creative variables that calculate heading and throttle (including
what the bot *should* use).  It's a lot of fun to SSH from my ipad and follow
the robot around the house, terrorizing my cats. 

     Eventually, I will be adding more sensors and generally improving navigation
until he can navigate through the whole house with little to no assistance.  I
plan on offloading most of that from the Arduino and onto the iPhone, and
adding more components to the robot until he can tell me he's done.  I think
that's a ways off. 

Parts for all of your Electronics and Robotic projects

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