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PiRex - remote controlled Raspberry Pi based robot

The article describes the PiRex robot controllable from either a web browser or a dedicate client application by using REST API.

Last year I did publish the cam2web open source project, which is aimed for streaming cameras over HTTP as MJPEG streams. Although being developed to support number of platforms, the very original target was to stream camera from Raspbery Pi, so it could be watched remotely. That project by itself can be used for a number of things like home security, IoT devices, etc. However, originally it was started as the first step for another project - building a remote controlled robot.

I did some hobby robotics projects in the past. However, those were based on some specialized controllers, which was making them a bit costly. This time the plan was to use more or less conventional components, which could be reused from other electronics/robotics/IoT projects and to keep the total price down.

The idea I had in mind was simple enough - to build a remote controlled robot, which has a camera on board and so allows seeing from the “robot’s eyes” remotely. Obviously it was supposed to be able to move around, so wheels and motors is a must. Additionally some sensors could be of use, like ultra sonic distance sensor, for example.

Another idea was to develop some reusable software, which could be of use to control robots built to the similar spec. It should allow either some simple robot control directly from a web browser or development of specialized client applications to provide more advanced control and adding extra features, like computer vision, for example.

And so it was decided to build the robot based on a Raspberry Pi board. It comes for a relatively small price and provides enough power and connectivity to handle all the other electronics required for turning the idea into action.

As for the name, it was called PiRex. This was a result of brief brain storming with kids over a walk. Why PiRex? Well, as my youngest said - it is a Rex based on Pi. No, it does not look anyway scary as Tyrannosaurus Rex. But the name just got stuck.”

Link to article