Build your own mini Mars Rover to explore here on Earth
Given how popular NASA's Curiosity rover is right now—what with its big secrret and all—you might want your own version of the iconic machine. You could wait until the Lego Rover kit is available, or with a bit of know-how, you could actually build your own Rover, like one hobbyist named Jason did.
Jason’s robot, named the jRover, may look pretty weird, but is actually an impressive build. It uses a VexPro controller as the brains of the project, and it allows Jason to control each of the 12 motors onboard. Six of the motors drive jRover around, and the other six steer the bot. The controller also keeps tabs on the three ultrasonic sensors, which guide the robot around.
In addition to its sensors, jRover has a webcam that lets it relay what it sees back to Jason. If it comes across an obstacle, it doesn’t have to avoid it—the robot's independent suspension allows the whole thing to climb right over it, with little risk of it toppling over.
This all sounds pretty cool, but what if it aims to take over the world as it gets more advanced? Worry not, it’s equipped with an RC override, so if need be, a human can take the wheel from the VexPro and associated software directing it.
Jason’s robot is a work in progress, so there’s still more to come. At present, he’s coding it up to drive more independently, and he hopes to get it ready to run in a DPRG Outdoor Robotics Contest next month. Hopefully, this means more videos of it moving and climbing the stairs soon. And even if his idea doesn’t win, perhaps Jason’s robot could make some interesting discoveries in the soil in his own yard.