IR Controlled Robot

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This page explains how to build the IR controlled moon rover made from business cards.


Tools You May Need

Tools You May Need
Scisers-tools.png You will definitely need some scissors. You will need them to cut the paper robot base and the foam tape. They also work for cutting the solid core wire.
Salt-tools.png Salt, pepper, sand, some sort of powder, this is completely optional. I'm not going to try to explain it now.

Make Sure You Have All The Parts

Item Quantity Name Description
parts-002000.png 1 Robot Body This is the cosmetic shell of the robot. It gives the robot its humanoid appearance.
parts-002100.png 1 Robot Base This card is the support structure for the vibrating motors and the bristle base.
parts-001700.png 1 EB1 This circuit board is a computer. The is a circuit board has a micro controller unit ( MCU ). The MCU should, be loaded with the program needed for your robot to function. It is possible to reprogram the MCU through the USB plug built into the circuit board. Because the MCU is reprogrammable to do different functions it is technically classified as a computer. Because of the flexibility of computers they are not as fast at processing as an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). ASICs are designed to do one specific task and typically do it very fast or inexpensively. However computers because of their flexibility do the vast majority of processing in the world.
parts-000300.png 1 Battery This is a rechargeable lithium ion battery with an output of 3.6 volts. This batteries classified as LIR2032. The LIR represents "lithium-ion rechargeable". The first two digits of "20" signifies that the battery has a diameter of 20 mm. The last two digits "32" signifies that the battery has a thickness of 3.2 mm.

If you have the appropriate charger you can recharge this battery. However if the voltage drops to 3V or less the battery will be permanently damaged. So make sure to charge it regularly.

It is possible to use a standard lithium battery CR2032. However it's voltage is only 3V. The vibrating motors will not works well at this voltage. It is also possible to use a CR2025. This battery is only 2.5 mm thick. You may need to bend the tabs in on the EB1 circuit board to make proper contact with the battery. Because the CR2025 has less volume it will also have less capacity.

parts-001800.png 2 Vibrating motor These are the same kind of motors used in the cell phones. These motors are not designed to run at 3.6 holes for extended periods of time. So if they seem to get hot you may want to give your robot a rest.
parts-000800.png 1 Double-sided adhesive tape This piece was cut by a laser from a larger sheet of double-sided adhesive material.
parts-000600.png 1 Bristle Tabs This piece of plastic used to form the plastic tabs that will allow your robot to scoot across surfaces.

This piece of plastic was also cut by laser.

parts-000700.png 1 Double-sided foam tape circle These double-sided foam tape circles will be used to mount the motors hold together other parts of the robot.
parts-002200.png 4 Adhesive sticker These adhesive stickers are standard 50 x 16 mm office labels. However they make more convenient adhesive strips to hold our robot together.
parts-001400.png 1 IR Receiver Module This module can receive infrared light (IR). IR light is light that is at a frequency that is lower than what we can see with our human eyes. Our bodies give off infrared light in the form of heat. Some animals such as snakes and bats can see this light.

You can learn more about this module from its datasheet at this link: TSOP38238

parts-001100.png 1 Piezo Beeper This beeper uses a crystal that changes size with voltage. This phenomenon was first researched during World War I to make sonar to searching for enemy submarines.

You can learn more about the Piezoelectric effect at
Manufactures part number TDK PS1240

parts-001200.png 1 IR remote control This I remote control transmitter, transmits infrared signals at high-speed by flashing on and off. When each button is pressed it will transmit a signal unique to that button.

Start Building

First cut off the part of the business card that has the robot arms on it.

Cut along the four short gray lines near the corners of the card.

Remove one side of the protective material on the double-sided tape.

Tear the tape into two pieces and place it on the card as shown in the picture above.

Now remove the remaining protective material.

Find the laser cut piece of plastic and cut or tear it into two pieces as shown in the picture above.

Bend the plastic along the dotted lines, make sure each piece is symmetrical to the other as shown in the next picture.


Now place the bent plastic onto the double-sided tape. Make sure you get them both in the same direction as shown in the picture above.

If the plastic tabs are pushed against the double-sided tape there is some risk that they will stick.

You can sprinkle some salt, flour or some other kind of powder on the double-sided tape to prevent it from sticking to the tabs.

The end result will look something like this.

For cosmetic effect you can curl the corners of the card to make it look more like tank treads.

The finished result should look something like this.

Now find one of the double-sided foam tape circles and cut it in half.

Remove the top protective layer.

Cut one end of it at a right angle.

Now place the vibrating motor on the double-sided tape. Make sure that the weight hangs off the edge of the tape and can spin freely.

Cut off the excess double-sided foam tape.

Remove the remaining protective material

Place the vibrating motor with the spinning weight hanging off of the edge of the card ( as shown in the picture above ). Again make sure that weight can spin freely.

Now do it for both sides.

For extra cosmetic effect you can bend the small corners

It should look like this.

Now locate the other card and fold the sides as shown in in the picture above.

You can also fold the tabs on the front.

Place the battery into the circuit board with the plus side facing out.

Switch on the circuit board. You'll be able to tell it's on by the power LED. You may need to rotate the battery to scratch and clean any oxidation on the battery holder.

Place the circuit board in the cut out of the top card.

Secure it with two of the white stickers.

Place a third sticker along the side as shown in the picture above.

Folded the sticker along the edge of the card.

Now line up the top and bottom and stick them together.

Now do the same thing on the other side.

Fold it.

Push the two cards together to make the sticker stick.

It should look something like this.

Place the IR sensor exactly as it appears in the picture above.

Now plug in the motors.

Now it's time to give it a try and start the tweaking.

It seems that the propulsion through vibration works best when the motors spin in the direction of travel on the top side of the rotation. Much like the doggie paddle stroke.

To change the direction of the motors, swap the plus (+) and minus (-) wires.
To change which motor is powered for a given input swap the A and B minus (-) wires.

Once you get it working, it's time to accessorize your creation.
Fold the rollbar

Place it in the precut slots.

For the final touch you can cut out the arms and add them to the front.

Unnamed QQ Screenshot20150704184632.png
If you have a beeper, you can add it in this location. It should come preprogrammed with some extra sounds to accompany some of the button presses.

Congratulations! Now you're ready to show off.

Additional Information

IR Controlled Robot Advanced

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