DIY Smart Vacuum Cleaning Robot using Arduino

Hi guys, are you a newbie to the world of Robotics or Electronic? OR Are you looking for a simple yet powerful project to make your friends and teachers impressed? Then this is the place.

In this project we will use the power of Embedded Systems and Electronics to make our own robot which could help us in keeping our home or work place neat and tidy. This robot is simple four wheeled Vacuum Cleaner which could smartly avoid obstacles and vacuum the floor at the same time. The idea is inspired by the famous vacuum cleaner Robot Roomba which is shown in the image below.

DIY Smart Vacuum Cleaning Robot using Arduino

Our Idea is to make a simple robot right from the scratch which can automatically avoid the obstacles while cleaning the floor. Trust me people it’s fun!!

Required Material and Components:

Okay so now we have the Idea of our Automatic Floor Cleaner Robot in mind and we know what we are up to. So let’s look where we should start our execution. In order to build a robot of our idea we would first need to decide on the following:

  • Microcontroller type
  • Sensors required 
  • Motors required
  • Robot chassis material
  • Battery capacity

Now, lets us decide on each of the above mentioned points. This way it will be helpful for you to not only build this home cleaning robot but also any other robots which strikes your imagination.

Microcontroller Type:

Selecting the Microcontroller is a very important task, as this controller will act as the brain of your robot. Most of the DIY projects are made around Arduino and Raspberry Pi, but doesn’t have to be the same. There is no specific Microcontroller that you can work on. It all depends upon the requirement and cost.
Like a Tablet cannot be designed on 8 bit Microcontroller and there is no worth of using ARM cortex m4 to design an electronic calculator.

Microcontroller selection totally depends upon the requirements of the product:

1. Firstly technical requirements are identified like number of I/O pins required, flash size, number/type of communication protocols, any special features etc.

2. Then list of controllers are selected as per the technical requirements. This list contains controllers from different manufacturers. Many application specific controllers are available.

3. Then a controller is finalized based upon cost, availability and support from manufacturer.

If you don’t want to do lot of heavy lifting and just want to learn the basics of microcontrollers and then later get deep into it, then you can choose Arduino. In this project we will be using an Arduino. We have previously created many types of Robots using Arduino:

Sensors Required:

There are a lot of sensors available in the market each having its own usage. Every robot gets input via a sensor, they act as the sensory organs for the Robot. In our case our robot should be able to detect obstacles and avoid them.

There a lot of other cool sensor which we will be using in our future projects, but now let us stay focused on IR sensor and US (Ultrasonic sensor) as these two guys will be providing the vision for our robo-car. Check out the working of IR sensor here. Below showing pictures of IR sensor Module and Ultrasonic Sensor:

Ultrasonic Sensor consists of two circular eyes out of which one is used to transmit the US signal and the other to receive the US rays. The time taken by the rays to get transmitted and received back is calculated by the microcontroller. Now, since the time and speed of sound is known we can calculate the distance by the following formulae.

  • Distance = Time x Speed of Sound divided by 2

The value is divided by two since the ray travels forward and backward covering the same distance. Detailed explanation of using Ultrasonic sensor is given here.

Motors required:

There are quite a lot a motors used in the field of robotics the most used ones are the Stepper and Servo motor. Since this project does not have any complicated actuators or rotary encoder we will be using a normal PMDC Motor. But our battery is a bit bulky and heavy hence we use four motors to drive our robot all four being the same PMDC motors. But it is advisable to set into stepper and servo motors once you get comfortable with PMDC motors.

Robot chassis material:

As a student or hobbyist the most difficult part while making a robot is to prepare the chassis of our robot.  The problem is with the availability of tools and material. The most ideal material for this project will be Acrylic, but it requires drillers and other tools to work with it. Hence wood is chosen that everyone can work on it with ease.  

This problem has totally vanished from the field after the introduction of the 3D printers. I am planning to 3D print parts someday and update you people with the same. So for now let’s use wooden sheets to build our robot.

Battery capacity:

Selecting the battery capacity should be our last part of work because it purely depends on your chassis and motors. Here our battery should drive a vacuum cleaner which draws about 3-5A and four PMDC motors. Hence we will require a heavy battery. I have chosen 12V 20Ah SLAB (Sealed lead acid battery) and its pretty bulky making our robot get four PMDC motors to pull this bulky guy.

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