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Computer/Arduino Robotic Laborer

My goal is to make a room automation system based from my desk, with a personality and "head" to express feelings.


The general feeling will be displayed using a common anode red/green/blue led. The color code is shown below.

color coding for feelings

*P = primary, S = secondary

A peak inside:

The big box serves as a blace to put my breadboard and other electronics, as well as serve as storage area for part yet to be integrated.

This is a look into the "eye" of my robot. The peice of paper blocking the entrance to the tissue box covered in duct tape is tilted by the serve seen on the top right of the picture. This is one of the two "eyelids" of the robot, and the other eylid is on the other side, where is functions just as the top one does.

This is my basic diagram of the interior of the eye, as I am to afraid that if I open it up, I will break something. As shown, the box has the common anode RGB led in the approximate center, where it is held by hot glue and chopsticks. There are also the pair of eyelids shown earlier, which pivot on the servo and makeshift servo joints. These are designed to emulate the eyelids on a human in a similar fasion to how Wheatley for Portal does. This controled light shines onto the wax paper film, making sure that the light from the led is neatly disfused similarly to HAL 9000, while also preventing the viewer from seeing all of the ugliness on the inside.


Where I will be going with this robot:

Currently, I am working on coding C.A.R.L. While being a fun project in general, he is also my testbed for learning how to code for arduinos and will in theory use serial connection to my computer to relay commands to microsoft visual basic 2008 express edition in order to take advantege of its GUI, speech synthesis and speech recognition capabilities. In that sense, C.A.R.L. is also a test bed for VB as well. Another thing I am working to is trying to integrate him with various sensors, and hopefully begin giving him more "room control" specific actuators/sensors.

As of 10/24/2013, this is were I am at. Goodbye, good luck, don't die. ;D

Scrapbox Challenge Details:

The majority of the parts used are recycled from other projects or extracted from scrap parts. The basic list of scrap materials used to make this robot includes:

old wire

cardboard boxes


duct tape and hot glue


RGB led (from old toy)

The purcharchased/reused from old project components includes:


arduino mega 2560

some wire

resistors for led

brackets for neck


Update (11/7/13):

I have made the first A.R.M. (Actuator for Room Mechanics) for C.A.R.L. It is a robotic finger which turns my lights on and off using the light switch. The most important part of the design is that it is non-invasive to my room, meaning it neither requires that I play with the high voltages with a relay or make the switch difficult to access from the hallway. The second one deals with my use of a remote control light switch when I was younger. It covered the switch adn used a motor to control the switch, but it covered the switch. While there was a button on teh side of the device for normal control, my mother found it more convinient to tear the system of the lightswitch, making it useless. Therefore, I have designed this A.R.M. with my mother in mind this time.

Photos of the Add-On:

Explination of Design:

This can simply be seen as a 2 degree of freedom robotic arm. All it is a servo hot glued to a sho box, and the servo horn being hot glued to a pair of chopsticks, and those chopsticks being glued to the second servo horn, and the servo of that servo horn being glued to another pair of chopsticks with a classic gloved pointer  at the end. The servos are then wired through some old cat5 wire to the arduino mega and breadboard on my desk.

For the Purposes of the Scrap Box Challange:

A list of the used supplies follows:

scrap parts: shoe box, old cat5 wire, hot glue, duct tape, pointing hand pencil topper

non scrap parts: the two servos, lantern battery, 2 buttons


More Coming Soon (11/11/13


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Some examples of some of the ideas I have are:

     voice recognition enabled talking termometer/clock/funds monitor

     basic conversation 

     voice enabled lights ("Carl, turn on the lights please." "Let there be light") or door ("Carl, open the pod bay door." "I'm sorry        kidbot, I can't do that. Just kidding. Go ahead."

The possibilities are endless for were I can go with this, but in general, I just wnat to make something somewhat like siri (servent with basic conversation)  mixed with HAL 9000 (room automation, games like chess and conversation) and  mixed with Apature Labratories (multiple robotic entities intertwine, drones doing glados's bidding).

Like an automated siri, awesome!!

very nice & to some degree ambitous work. i'm thinking about building a robot for my kids (2 & 4) that interacts with them, your idea with the simple multi color led is brilliant because this is something the kids will be able to understand with complicated interactions (like language). keep up the good work!

It may sound stupid, but there is great convieneice to being able to turn my lights on and off from my desk. :D

Congrats in the challenge! Are you planning on experimenting with AI? This could be the perfect project to do so!

Your designs are very innovative. Here i can see that robotics is not rocket science....it can be done with parts out of the trash bin... very cool!!!

As this is my first project using arduino, I have plenty of room to grow. I have desided to make this a continual project, so the PWM sheild I won should do some good. And yes, I hope on integrating AI in the not so near future, as I have always been fasinated with it.