This low-cost hack ($44.30 including the cost of the Hexbug spider) converts the remote control toy into a C programmable autonomous robot with a IR range sensor "eye" and a TI MSP430G2231 16bit brain. After this hack the robot will be able to turn left or right and walk forward or backwards under the control of the EMGRobotics Low-Cost Robot Controller.
The Hexbug(tm) Spider is a remote control walking toy you can buy at your local RadioShack, Target, Walmart, or ToysRus for about $25.00. From the store, the spider is controlled by a IR remote and can walk forwards, backwards, and turn left or right. The walking gate of the spider is creepily realistic and fun to watch.
$15.00 EMGRobotics Spider Hack Kit - Controller board, IR range sensor, battery holder
This hack replaces the remote control receiver board in the spider toy with a fully programmable robot controller (pictured above) making the toy a fully autonomous robot. The hack uses the EMGRobotics Spider Hack Kit available at www.buildsmartrobots.com and the TI Launchpad available here: http://e2e.ti.com/group/msp430launchpad/w/contents/ordering-launchp....
The EMGRobotics Spider Hack kit includes a robot controller, AAA battery holder, and a InfraRed(IR) range sensor. The robot controller is about the size of a quarter and provides bidirectional control of the two DC motors in the spider. The controller has a 9 pin connector for plugging in the TI Launchpad programmer/debugger and connecting up to six digital sensors or two digital sensors and four analog sensors.
You can download the motor controller datasheet here: EMGRoboticsLowCostRobotController.pdf
The controller drives 2 DC motors, and support 6 digital sensors or 2 digital and 4 analog sensors
The IR range sensor connects to one of the controllers digital outputs and analog inputs. Under software control the IR sensor can detect object up to approximately 1 foot away and provides a estimated range to the object. Using the provided software the IR sensor provides a range of 0 to 100 for a object distance of 1 to 12 inches respectively.
You can order the TI Launchpad for $4.30 from: http://e2e.ti.com/group/msp430launchpad/w/contents/ordering-launchp...
The TI Launchpad is used to program the EMGRobotics LowCost Robot Controller used in the spider hack kit. The Launchpad connects to the robot controller using 3 wires, and can fully debug and program the robot controller. The TI Launchpad comes with the FREE Code Composer Studio professional C compiler and debugger. Using these tools you can create your program, flash it to the robot controller, and debug your program using breakpoints and stepping as expected from a professional tool. Time spent learning how to use the TI Launchpad and Code Composer Studio can be referenced on your resume. These are professional tools used by electronic manufactures around the world.
Steps for Hacking the Spider
You will also need some double sided tape, and some hookup wire. Of-course you also need the EMGrobotics spider hack kit and the TI Launchpad (see above).
The Hexbug(tm) Spider direct from Radio Shack
After opening the package, flip the spider over and find that battery cover screw
Remove the battery cover
Remove the three screws shown above
Remove the "head"
Remove the batteries and cut the black and red wires
Remove the piece of plastic shown above from the head using the pliers
Solder the motor wired to the EMGRobotics Low-Cost robot Controller
Screw the head back on the spider with the motor wires going through the slit
Apply double sided tape to spider as shown above
Stick robot controller to spider, add double sided tape to spider head for battery holder
Stick AAA battery holder on head
The IR range sensor that comes with the EMGRobotics Spider Hack Kit
Add double sided tape to back of IR range sensor
Stick IR range sensor to front of AAA battery holder as shown above
Wire IR sensor to Robot Controller as shown
The completed autonomous robot ready for programming using the TI Launchpad
For more information check out the Autonomous Spider group on www.buildsmartrobots.com
Source code MSP430G2452: MSP430G2452_Autonomous_Hexbug_Spider.zip
Source code MSP430G2553: Autonomous_Hexbug_Spider_MSP430G2553_V1.zip