Why “Be Here Now” when you can “Be There Now”? Telepresence, allowing you to experience another place, is a fun kind of “out of body” experience that is more and more affordable these days.
This project started out building “Your Arduino Balancing Robot”, a cool little balancing robot using stepper motors described at http://www.brokking.net/yabr_main.html. It is a nice design around an Arduino Uno, with a RF remote built around a WII nunchuch controller. They built it into a wooden case, but the 3D printing addict in me cried out for a printed case so I hit Sketchup and did a case with a head, and a remote case for the controller.
It worked great - nice balance, very maneuverable and steady. The remote works fine, but is limited to just a room area. I thought it would be fun to have longer range so I hacked the code to read a RC receiver, as they have a much longer range. I set the code to read 2 channels when the RC transmitter was on and now could control it in other rooms or down the street.
But now how to see where I was in the other room? There were two more RC channels to play with, so I designed a gimbal that can yaw and pitch with a small camera, so now the RC transmitter could drive him and point his eye.
I used a little TX-03 camera from Bangood (about $20) that could transmit to box video goggles VR-007 from Bangood (about $50). It is amazing how the cheap camera and wide screen box goggles can start to become your reality. It is a lot of fun to zoom around somewhere and look anywhere you want. He can go into and under many spaces and is really easy to drive.
But now how to communicate with the people you see? My cheap and easy answer was to design a phone holder, one can put a cell phone on speaker and harass people at will. One could also run something like Facetime if there were no goggles, but would not be as much fun.
At any rate, this is a fairly straightforward project that could be built up to any level. The 3D printing is relatively simple, and moderate soldering skills can build the perfboard circuit. He can run for 2+ hours on a 2200 mah battery. Plus, he is ready for even cooler upgrades from the creative maker.”


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