If you're looking for an easy way to add DC motor control to your next Arduino project, look no further than the Orangutan LV-168 Robot Controller by Pololu. Equipped with two bidirectional, low-voltage, H-bridge motor controls, this ATmega168 board can handle many of the tasks that are typically sought by Arduino DIYers. Plus you won't have to monkey around with lots of complex programming, either. Pololu offers a complete suite of Arduino libraries that provide easy-to-use high-level commands for tweaking every nook and cranny of the LV-168 board.In addition to the two motor control outputs, the LV-168 features eight plug-and-use I/O ports, two LEDs (red and green), an 8x2 LCD, a programmable buzzer, three user-definable push-buttons, an analog potentiometer, and an onboard temperature sensor. Supporting these impressive hardware features are six Orangutan-specific Arduino libraries. Just import the appropriate library include link into your project and you can play Bach on the buzzer, display a room's ambient temperature on the LCD, or drive the motor outputs forward and reverse.
As a demonstration of the simplicity of use and the powerful command structure exhibited by the Orangutan LV-168, we modified an inexpensive RC truck into a self-contained, "smart" robot cruiser capable of driving around a room, avoiding obstacles, playing a tune, flashing its lights, and displaying the room temperature.
Want to try your own Orangutan? Just download our Arduino sketch, load it on an Orangutan, wire up the truck, and away you go.
TIME: 1 HOUR
NOTE: In order to program your Orangutan, you will need an AVR ISP programmer (e.g., Atmel AVRISP MkII).
This tricked-out ride will play a tune, display a splash screen, flash its lights, then dart around the room. Both the room temperature and the distance measured with the Sharp sensor are displayed on the LCD. When an object closer than 30cm is detected by the sensor, the motor speed is reduced and the Hummer is driven in reverse. This "backing up" action will continue until the path in front of the truck is clear of obstacles. Happy trails.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.