Academy Award-winning sound effects designer Dan Piponi prepared a little hack that makes a robot toy remotely maneuverable from a Mac using a Bluetooth network. Basically, Piponi modified a simple hexapod walker from Pololu Robotics and Electronics with a Bluetooth board. Since it runs from the desktop computer, it’s capable of more complex walking algorithms than a basic robot toy would be.
Piponi built the robot according to Pololu’s specifications, and programmed the robot in Windows to walk autonomously (using the maker’s scripting language). Then comes the mod: Piponi attached his BlueSMiRF board to two pins that would normally attach a serial port to the little bot, and then connected the Bluetooth modem to the main computer.
Once he configured the Bluetooth modem and connected it to the bot, Piponi was able to move it forward, back, left, right, and read the state of two proximity sensors to avoid collisions with static objects. A very cool hack for those whose autonomous robot toys have a little too much autonomy!
Megan Geuss is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area and masquerades as @ MeganGeuss on Twitter
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