Roboni-i by Robonica:

There are many reviews of this clever little robot (the Roboni-i), this post is more about the insides and how the robot is put together.  For example, the main processor is an Atmel ATxMEGA chip (available from RS-online ZA).

The two ‘over sized’ wheels are independently driven by DC motors and the design makes Roboni-i very agile.  It can turn around on the spot or spin by turning the wheels in opposite directions.  It can even flip upside down when rocked forward and backward.

Sensors and accessories

Here is a picture showing all the sensors and accessories it has on-board:

The box kit includes the robot, the controller, a home base, three colour coded disks (RFID game accessories), the SFX hub, the energy pod and a USB cable for connecting to a computer.  A total of twelve AA batteries are needed (not included – get some rechargeables):

  • 4x for the robot,
  • 4x for the controller and
  • 2x for the base station.

The Roboni-i is pre-programmed which means you can insert the batteries and start playing right away.  Leave it standing for 20 seconds and it will start exploring by itself.

The radio sensors incorporates ZigBee RF technology to read the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) cards used to layout real world playing fields for games like ‘Colours’.  Here the robot basically ‘pick up’ colours from each RFID and take it to the SFX RF ID-card to drop them off an earn points.

Bonus points get awarded for shooting the base station when it opens and energy must be topped up at the energy pod.  There are a total of 7 different games, of which the ‘rules’ can be changed by programming the robot via the Command Center software.

The insides:

As mentioned before, the main processors is the ATMEL ATxMEGA128A1 (click on the link for more info), but there are also three smaller processors on the main board for this clever little ‘toy’.  The two DC motors that drive the wheels are Mabuchi FF-130SH, with a nominal voltage of 7.0V and about 0.08 – 3.3 W power output.
The RF antenna (for interacting with the RFID tags) are neatly wrapped in a coil around the battery casing, and there are two infra-red transmitters on the front of the main body for detecting objects in the way of the robot.  There are also two touch sensors/bumpers (one front and one rear) to stop the robot when something does slip between the wheels or the infra-red transmitters are not activated.
The robot will also stop when the motors stall against bigger objects that were to high or to low for the infra-red to detect.

The basics covered

I think that about covers the basic ins and outs of the Roboni-i, and I for one, look forward to learning more from it.  Last note:  you need to unlock programming levels on the robot and you do this by spending more time with it.  If someone has a crack for this, please let me know.

New post added: Hacking the Roboni-i (Part 1)

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4 thoughts on “Robonica Roboni-i: inside out

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