Keep Close to Me, A Max32 Robot

One of the teams in the Digilent Design Contest 2015 designed the “Keep Close to Me” robot. It was created to make life easier for seniors and other mobility-limited groups. It can fetch pills or carry a glass of water by moving within a specified environment. This innovative project is in its first iteration but shows a good deal of promise.


This project uses a chipKIT Max32, a Roomba iRobot, a PmodCMPS, a PmodWiFi, four PmodMAXSONARs, four N-channel MOSFETs, eight 200Ω resistors, a breadboard, wires, and a plastic box constructed to hold most of the components. The plastic box is placed on top of the Roomba.

Look at all the lovely components!
Look at all the lovely components!

The robot operates within the context of a Cartesian plane, using coordinates to frame grid nodes. After seeing whether a node is “free,” or unobstructed, it can decide to move there. As it goes along, it maps its environment, eventually constructing a database of those nodes. The chipKIT Max32 is the powerhouse responsible for doing this mapping and database-building. The sensors work together — but not simultaneously — to give accurate location readings. The Max32 and Roomba use serial communication to exchange information and power up. It’s quite impressive once it’s up and running!

The fully constructed "Keep Close to Me" robot.
The fully constructed “Keep Close to Me” robot.

Check out the Instructable for this project here.

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About Amber Mear

I was the Digilent blog editor, and now I'm a contributor. I love learning about wearables and writing about social issues in STEM. Outside of work, I can be found watching Netflix with my cat, working on an art project, or trying to find new, delicious local foods.

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