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Project Magellan

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Side View

Top View

Top View

Project Magellan

The Vision:  To create a robot that can be controlled over the internet.

Such robot can be controlled from anywhere in the world with internet connection.  The laptop offers not only the wireless capability but also a live video feed via webcam.

Magellan I, featured above, serves as a proof-of-concept.  I bought a cheap $5 dollar RC Car body from a pawn shop and installed a Arduino microcontroller along with a netbook.  The netbook provided network capability as well as live video feed.  The Arduino microcontroller converted instructions from the netbook to simple ON (5v) and OFF (0V) signals.  Finally, onboard electronics from the RC car converted on/off signals to the motors.   served as a network interface Magellan I roamed the floors of my house.  The robot has several significant flaws that will be fixed in the next version

1. The motors did not have enough torque.  The robot would be unable to clear the tiniest obstacle on the ground.

2.  Live video feed was slow.  Took several seconds before update.

3.  Normal RC Car steering ability (4 wheels, front wheels turn left/right) unable to navigate tight corners.  Requires a large turning radius

Magellan II will feature high torque motors from cordless drills.  It will also include a 3 wheel system with independent motor control between the right and left wheel.  This will eliminate the turning radius.   The wheels will enlarge from 3 inches to 6 inches in diameter to clear obstacles.


1. To traverse the sidewalks of Boston.  Experiment with the helpfulness of strangers.  I want to have the robot sit beside a door with “Will you open the door for me please”  flashing on the LCD screen and observe  if people will help the robot.  I have to be careful that the robot will not be stolen though.   Also I have to make sure people will not think the robot as a bomb.   With my home-built cantenna capable of .5 mile range, the robot will always be in wireless internet zone.

2. Potential viability as a virtual house tour interface.  For perspective home buyers wishing to view a house, a live view can supplement pictures on a website.

Interested? Email us and we can create a step by step guide!

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