Planning to Production

The journey of realising an idea...

A Faint Unrealistic Visualisation

One of my first drafts of this project. Having done quite a few projects in robotics, it was time to tackle a larger problem that robotics could solve. An application that can detect life threatening landmines emerged to be an ideal operation for a robot. Wars might be over, but their consequences are still prevalent. With constant risk of terror attacks, technologies that can help detect and defuse explosive devices would be life saving. My project is a small step towards achieving this goal.

First 3D Design

My first plan was to have a small prototype robot that would be equipped with a relatively smaller metal detection sensor. The small sensor would swivel around the front of the robot detecting the encountered metallic objects such as land mines. It would be actuated using 2 servo motor mechanisms; one for the swivel and the other for the height adjustment. The robot would be driven with a 4 wheel drive system actuated by smaller motors.

Design Version 2

The first thing I started working on was the inductive metal detector. It was the crucial part. As I started progressing with it I realised that the detector coil size was too small to detect anything beyond a certain range. As a thumb rule, I discovered that the range of the sensor was a function of the radius of the coil. Thus it was evident that I had to enlarge the coil and recreate the design. This led to the creation of version 2.

This design had a larger detection coil. The coil was to be static as there was no swivel or elevation adjustment. The drive system was upgraded to a 6 wheel drive to account for the added weight of the coil and the overall increase in the size of the robot.

Design - Current

Having a static coil would be a great disadvantage for the robot. It was important for the coil to be able to adjust. This led to my latest design for the robot. This design implemented an actuation mechanism that enabled to adjust the angle of the coil. The coil could now be retracted when not in use, thus preventing any damage to it, and not hindering the movement of the robot. The robot was now driven by a 4 wheel drive system that used high torque motors. A 3 layered chassis, meant more space for the internal electronics and wiring.

First Prototype

Finally I managed to build the first fully working prototype of the robot. The robot delivered on all the promised criteria. The chassis was developed from laser cut acrylic (plexi-glass) polymer, exactly reflecting on the planned design. The on-board systems like the detector, sensors, actuators and communication worked great! A few minor changes left, but I would say this project is a huge success!