A little while ago we attended the Cambridge Raspberry Pi Jam and it was a great chance to put some faces to names and meet some of the great and good of the Raspberry Pi scene. One of these great and good was Timothy Freeburn of PiBorg. It was easy to tell Tim was great as he happened to be displaying his latest creation (dun dun dun) the DoodleBorg.
The DoodleBorg is a beast of a robot, powered by six 350W high torque motors running off a couple of 10Ah 12V car batteries. That's not the normal set up for a Raspberry Pi robot is it? The frame is constructed from 6mm laser cut steel and a bit later down the road it acquired a full set of Acrylic side plates to run between the steel uprights. It's thought that it has a power of about 3hp. When we think about hp we tend to think of cars and that might seem small in comparison to a new golf GTI but compare that for example to the power of a horse! Horses are strong animals and this thing is as powerful as three of them. Now I know what you're thinking, horses carry people. Well it seems this can do that too! Bare in mind it weighs around 65kgs on its own!
It's impressive isn't it? What's doing the driving though? In very literal terms, it's a person with a PS3 controller, in broad terms it's a Raspberry Pi and electronically speaking its six PicoBorg Rev control boards. Now we can see all of those parts in the next image. (bar the person for the pedants reading...)
On the left we have the batteries, just above the Pi logo is the Pi and sat above that the six PicoBorg control boards with beefy connections to the motors, nestled at the bottom is the PS3 controller. With the real magic of this thing being the motor control board.
Just added this image as it was a little phenoptix flourish when cutting the acrylic, couldn't resist putting that PiBorg logo into Poly(methyl methacrylate). Resistance is futile after all.
We hope to build something similar to the Doodleborg ourselves for around the office, we'll definitely be using the PicoBorg Reverse boards as they seem pretty unbreakable and I'm assured by Tim that they are at least idiot resistant, if not completely idiot proof. At the start I mentioned why Tim was great, but the good part only became apparent after a conversation on all things Pi. We'll definitely be working with PiBorg in the future and hope to update you with our own Doodleborg inspired build soon!X