Beach Bot v 0.0.1 The Alpha Build

I am a tinkerer by genetics.  My Grandpa owns a TV and Radio repair shop and he still works 3 days a week at 95 years old.  I have been tinkering my whole life, with computers at first, then cars as a hobby, and my career moved to Information Security.  I have always been interested in robotics, so Now I have a purpose, and maybe I could combine my love of all three at one time!  Being that it's the middle of winter, all I can think of is the Beach, so I guess it's time to start the BeachBot build out.

Some Years ago we moved to a home with a lake in our subdivision.  I soon found out that lugging all of our gear to the beach was an exercise in futility.  There is always too much, and the kids barely help out.  So I got stuck loaded the Jeep, Unloading the Jeep, carrying the gear down the hill to the beach, back up the hill and back to the house to unload and put all of it up.  It's a pain in the butt, and the trip home is always worse after a few adult beverages.

So what does a guy like me think of while drinking on the beach?  Why am I lugging all this crap around?  How can I be more Lazy?  Let's build a robot to do it for me!  Yes... then I can just walk instead of taking my cranky old Jeep down to the beach, no more loading and unloading the jeep, walking up and down the hill.  Heck I even be able to have it take my cooler too.  The kids just need to pile their stuff in the robot bin and everyone can go at there own pace, Just meet the robot down at the beach.

Fast forward to Christmas 2013, I ordered the "Family" it's first robot kit so I can start testing out the logic and learning the programming to get the project off the ground.  For the Alpha build I settled on an Arduino, DF Robot Cherokey 4wd skid steer chassis, and an Arduinoblock set of sensors and LEDs.  I am starting using the Ardunioblock programming to help me learn some without extensive book reading and searching (don't get me wrong there is still lots of searching).

My first sketch:

I build out the Robot from the kit:

It looks pretty cool.  I just need to get the UltraSonic Sensor I got hooked up and on a servo mount to figure out how far to turn the bot before it continues forward motion.

When it is closer to Summertime I will be experimenting with GPS too.
Here are some of the books I am looking at buying:
Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot (Make: Books)
Arduino and Kinect Projects
Arduino Robot Bonanza
Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot
Programming Arduino Getting Started with Sketches
Arduino Robotics


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