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Build a Programmable (MSP430-based) Hexapod Crawler for $40+

Navigate around using SR04 and whiskers or wall following

I modified a toy hexapod crawler kit using the MSP430 LaunchPad as the controller. A SR-04 Ultrasonic distance sensor has been added to the existing whiskers for enhanced navigation. The MSP430 is programmed using the Energia IDE. As a result, one can keep adding new capabilities and behaviours to the robot easily for fun and research. At present, it can either wander around using SR-04 and whisker navigation or follow the wall.

Here is a pictorial walk-through of the project:


Project Highlights

Bill of Materials

Main Components

Energia IDE

Finished Product

Points of Interest:

  • the kit's original circuit board is kept so that the whiskers mounted on it can be reused. The traces on the circuit board connecting the whiskers and the onboard electronics have been cut to allow MSP430 to take control
  • the kit's 3 X AAA battery holder has been replaced by a 4 X AA battery holder as 5V is required for the SR-04 distance sensor
  • the MSP430 Launchpad is powered by the batteries via the connections to the TP1 and TP3 male headers I soldered onto the LaunchPad near the USB connector
  • the MSP430 Launchpad, motor driver and SR-04 are mounted using small pieces of plywood and hot glue
  • which behaviour to execute (wander or wall following) is controlled by the pushbutton on the LaunchPad
  • the yellow/red LED on the LaunchPad is lit when the left/right whiskers is in contact with something respectively

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Finally. That's (i think) the first project using the Launch Pad. Looks cool that little critter. Need to use my LP too some day ^_^

I just bought 5 Launchpads myself! Thanks for the inspiration!

Hello, Greetings from Energia Team! We would like to feature your project on our website http://www.energia.nu under “Projects using Energia” tab. Please get in touch with us at energia.nu@gmail.com. Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thanks, Energia Team