For those who love Arduino autonomous mobile robots here is a piece of functional and innovative project that would be perfect for maker culture. Challenging the common norms of robotic competitions, the Flipper won the 2014 Robot Tank Battle.
Reaching a design focused on new and innovative thoughts concerning navigation, stealthy and ball launching mechanism, the robot is based on a modular platform where the sensors can be moved in the best places for them. With its entire team of sensors the robot can navigate through obstacle-filled arena autonomously and without collision, while using the “arsenal” it can shoot the opposing robots with ping-pong balls.
The Flipper features ultrasonic range-finder to avoid obstacles, while for target localization it uses infrared sensors. The robot body is homemade including the ABS plastic chassis, the sensor mounts from acrylic material, and the ping-pong ball flippers from machined aluminum.
Obviously the most interesting feature is the IR halo “heat signature” located at the top of the platform. The system should keep stealthy the robot so that the opponent robots can’t find Flipper.
Its “gun” is a ping-pong ball launching mechanism with a push-button switch to keep the ball from rolling out. The whole mechanism uses a stepper motor to push the trigger.
Wishing to create an all-terrain wheeled platform, the designers convert the ball casters into a relaxed suspension system for driving over small obstacles.