The MICROBOT is a mini low cost surveillance robot developed in 2005 as an undergraduate final year project. The main purpose of the robot is for surveillance in unknown territories and besieged compounds. MICROBOT consisting of a micro-controller, 4 direct current (DC) motors, infra-red (IR) sensor and a communication module is capable of navigating through constraint space and obstacle avoidance. MICROBOT also provide the flexibility to add more sensors such as camera, thermal sensors to obtain more information during surveillance. In addition, MICROBOT is also a light weight, simple and low cost structure for cooperative robotics research. Using multiple MICROBOTs, an objective can be accomplished in a short time by either distributing the task or assigning specific task to each robot in a coordinated fashion. Although each MICROBOT have the same mobility, different sensors can be added onboard for a specific task and purpose. Each robot is homogenous in its movement capabilities and communication yet heterogeneous in terms of their individual onboard sensors.
MICROBOT is a simple and inexpensive 4 wheeler platform used to carry out surveillance and cooperative robotics research. Employing 4 hack servos (high torque) to be use DC motors to drive the wheel locomotion, MICROBOT have the strength to drive itself up and down steep slopes. MICROBOT can do obstacle avoidance and navigate itself through small and narrow pathway by means of an IR rangefinder sensor mounted in the front. Once an obstacle is detected in it motion path, the robot makes the decision to avoid left or right on a random basis. The use of the random basis of avoidance is to ensure that the MICROBOT do not end up in a singularity situation where it traps itself in a corner (moving alternately left and right all the time or get stuck at a particular spot). A PIC micro-controller onboard handles the various sensor, computation and communication. The PIC micro-controller also provides several I/O pins which gives it flexibility to add more sensors. MICROBOT has a radio frequency (RF) communication module onboard which allows information and command to be send or received. The RF communication module can be interchange with other communication module such as Wi-FI.
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