Autonomous Barbie Rover (Pre-Building)

We’re one week in to our M-term course here at Ross School’s Innovation Lab.
This year’s course title: “PROGRAMMER’S WORKSHOP: Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence“.

Barbie Power Wheels hack

The students have been doing some beginner to intermediate Arduino Programming and explored some of the basic electronic systems and hardware available, but in preparation for ordering parts and building something much bigger we unboxed the Barbie branded Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX with Monster Traction! …. and boy is it pink.
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The hope is to make this into a completely autonomous GPS enabled rover that can navigate from one end of campus to the another without human interaction. Mechanically it will be an interesting hack and programming it to avoid obstacles by steering around hazards will be the biggest challenge for the students.


Feeling a bit of little inspiration from this idea for a battery

“Harvard University researchers say they’ve developed a new type of battery that could make it economical to store a couple of days of electricity from wind farms and other sources of power. The new battery, which is described in the journal Nature, is based on an organic molecule—called a quinone—that’s found in plants such as rhubarb and can be cheaply synthesized from crude oil. The molecules could reduce, by two-thirds, the cost of energy storage materials in a type of battery called a flow battery, which is particularly well suited to storing large amounts of energy.”


Scallop 3D Cut Out of Clay – CNC Router

So… I finally got around to trying it out. The scallop that I scanned some time ago and have 3D printed in ABS plastic and CNC carved in wood now has been done in clay. I used a chunk of “bone” dry clay and a two stage router bit series. I’m pretty happy with it for a first go round and still have to trim and fire it.


CNC routed Scallop with a ShopBot

Trimmed the excess before firing.

Trimmed the excess before firing.

This video shows the router on it’s second finishing pass with a finer bit:

This video gives you an idea of how thick the block is/was: