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tortoise feeding robot 
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:15 pm
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Post tortoise feeding robot
So I finally finished my first NXT based robot... not very impressive programming i have to say as there does seem to be a high percentage of people on here with software development backgrounds- but I don't think I've seen an nxt robot that interacts with an animal yet? Almost gave up on the damn thing until I tried RobotC, which was intimidating at first because I've never tried writing anything in a language that has to be compiled but it was super easy-

Here's a vid of the finished robot:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... w5QZiguVc#!

Anyway looking forward to playing around further and possibly improving the mechanical design, theres some flaws and I think my line following is pretty primitive. havent decided to work it up more or take it apart and build something else yet. Hope you guys like it!


Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:44 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
awesome! You should submit this to the cool projects thread and you could get it featured on the RobotC homepage! Looks great :D

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Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:57 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
Very nice! A real innovative way to integrate technology and animals :-)


Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:20 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
Great robot, well done!

- Xander

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:50 am
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
That's awesome! I'll definitely add this to the blog. Can you answer some questions about it?

1) What inspired you to build this robot?
2) How long did it take you to make this?
3) What are your future plans with the robot?

And if you could put together just a short description about it that would help out too. Thanks so much for showing it to us!

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:35 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
Thanks guys! Glad you got a kick out of it

Description:;
Based off a modified version of the NXT shoot bot, the automatic tortoise feeder has three main components: a top feeding food hopper with a motor operated paddle that dispenses food, a color sensor for line following, and a reverse mounted touch sensor which acts as like a pull trigger. The touch sensor has a colored ball mounted in it which entices the tortoises to bite at it. Once that happens the robot dispenses the food, and then executes the line following program for several seconds and stops. At first the tortoises would just bite at it because it was brightly colored but I believe after only a few gos they've figured out now that pulling out it gives food which is a pretty impressive feat of reptile elligence as far as I can tell.

1) What inspired you to build this robot?
I found out about NXT after watching a video sent around at work of the cubestormer robot and thought immediately it would be fun to do a robot that could interact with our two pet redfoot tortoises. Reptiles aren't particulary trainable animals though ours are very food motivated so a robotic feeder seemed like a fun project to try. Fortunately tortoises are relatively slow moving and benign so building something to interact with them wasn't that difficult. I also hadn't seen any examples of NXT robots interacting with animals (though I think a friend of mine used the remote control shootbot to terrorize his cats?)

2) How long did it take you to make this?
Hard to say as I started and stopped several times? The programming took about a day once I went through the robotC tutorials from carnegie mellon. I almost gave up initially trying to program it with the included NXT-G software and left the project alone until I found out about RobotC The construction maybe a week or two? I tried a few different designs before the current one that all had various problems. It took a while to figure out a way to mount the touch sensor in a way that would allow a tortoise to trigger it.

3) What are your future plans with the robot?
I'd like to try a modified mechanism for dispensing the food. The vertical mounted hopper and the irregular size of tortoise pellets makes the amount dispensed each time really difficult to control. My current idea is to try mounting the dispenser horizontally and use either one of the rubber treads or maybe a track from a lego technic set to dispense the foot more like a conveyor belt. Also might try a different way to move the robot around than using a line follow, possibly the distance sensor and some simple wall avoidance?


Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:40 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
It's up on our front page, and blog now :) Thanks for submitting it!

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Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:18 pm
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Post Re: tortoise feeding robot
We used to own a Testudo Hermanni Hermanni (Greek Tortoise) called Sherman, I wish I had thought of this! Don't worry, Sherman is still very much alive but we had to re-home him due to circumstances. He now lives very happily with good friends of ours.

- Xander

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Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:50 am
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