Throwback Thursday – The Life and Times of the Zybot


For those of you that follow the blog, social media, or our appearances at trade-shows and conferences you’ve seen the Zybot. An embedded Linux based robot featuring the Zybo as his brain. Recently I’ve been working on yet another face-lift of the Zybot for our upcoming trade shows. I always want the Zybot to put his best wheel forward. In honor of this new look, I decided I would go back through the history of the Zybot’s looks and appearances.

The Zybot’s predecessor was the the Zedbot. Like the Zybot, it was FPGA-based, but it used the Zedboard for a brain. Originally created by Sam Bobrowicz, it sat on his desk, sorely unappreciated until it was handed off to Josh and me.

The Zedbot, the Zybot's predecessor.

The Zedbot, the Zybot’s predecessor. An embedded Linux based robot using the Zedboard.

Josh and I were then tasked, with much help from Sam B, with using the base and idea of the Zedbot to create the Zybot.


Josh, Sam B, and I working hard to get the Zybot up and running.

In March of 2015 the Zybot was born, the process having been documented in an entire collection of Instructables.


Josh working on getting the server that posts the video feed working.


Troubleshooting. We eventually found out it was a problem with Ubuntu.


One of the first test runs of the Zybot.


At some point during the process, the spare parts fairy started taking stuff off the table. No matter, angry Turbo stood guard, and fixed the issue.

First the Zybot headed off to ECEDHA.

The Zybot

Setting up the Zybot station at ECEDHA.

Then I attempted to give the Zybot a Turbo-like makeover.


Turbo Zybot taking shape.

He looked pretty awesome.


Looking more and more like Turbo.

But unfortunately he proved to be pretty unstable.

So he was put back to his original self for ASEE.


Had to rebuild the Zybot for ASEE.

The Zybot proved to be pretty popular at ASEE. He even had an encounter with Dave Wilson!


The Zybot checking out Dave Wilson, he decided he was safe.

Polite as always, announcing his presence.


The Zybot station at ASEE with additional signs.

In preparation for this year, he’s had a taller, more compact look. I used the oval base-plates with added supports that can be found here.

The new and improved Zybot.

The new and improved Zybot.

You can view the instructables on the new Zybot here.

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About Author

When I started school I wasn’t interested in any of things I’m passionate about now. In fact originally I started out wanting to study art. But then I decided I didn’t want to have people telling me what to create, so I changed to music. Then I decided I didn’t want to ruin a hobby by making it my career. At the same time my Physics class was teaching a unit on the physics of music, and I thought that was way interesting, so I changed to physics. Then by the time physics was over I decided that the coolest part of physics was electricity and magnetism, and I may as well get a degree that transfers directly into a career. So while all this was happening, I was attending Shoreline Community College, and during that time I found my passion, or rather presented itself repeatedly, until I realized, maybe I should take a hint from the universe. While at community college, I was asked to help at the high school by tutoring chemistry students. Then I was asked to help at the elementary school by being a math Olympiad coach. I continued both because I found I really enjoyed it. I also had an opportunity, and was hired to be a tutor in the Math Learning Center at the Community College, a job I really loved. At the same time I was working as a Nanny, which I had been doing for several years, the main reason because I could and would answer the hard questions the kids asked honestly (i.e. why is the sky blue). I then was recommended by the patrons of the MLC to the transfer tutoring center (private tutoring,) and developed a wait list of students. Through all these opportunities at some point I realized that I loved watching people go from totally lost, to masters of a subject. I was also forced to admit that having all these opportunities continually renewed, I must have been somewhat good at it. So I decided I wanted to teach, which fits with my mission oriented personality. I saw a serious lack of passionate ECE professors in the institutions I attended. At WSU I continued this trend by being ask to TA for computer science and electrical engineering, being a TA for a total of 4 semesters. This continued by getting an amazing opportunity in my first semester at Washington State University to work at Digilent, an educational company. So even if I didn’t want to teach, turns out I can’t avoid it. Luckily it is my main passion.

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