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Introducing Piro: My Raspberry Pi robot project

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:54 pm
by Pate
Hi all!

Introducing my Piro robot, using a Raspberry Pi 2 as its CPU.

I have always been interested in robotics, but only recently when I got a Raspberry Pi 2 (originally for testing my rpix86 on it) I finally decided to actually build a robot myself. I am more interested in the software side of robotics, but did not want to build a simple robot-controlled car, so I decided that a two-wheel balancing robot might be achievable with my limited building skills. Last Sunday I finally managed to get my robot to balance for the first time!

Since I am more of a programmer than a hardware guy, working on a robot has been very educational. I made some mistakes along the way, and as with my rpix86 project, I have documented my mistakes as well as my achievements on my blog posts on the new pages.

My plans include adding speech recognition, face recognition, environment mapping, deep learning, and so on into my robot. Basically I am just interested in learning the algorithms used in the field of robotics, and instead of simply looking at the algorithms on the computer screen, I wanted to see the algorithms in action, thus I created Piro. It is still very much a work in progress, I will post here (and obviously on my blog) whenever I get something interesting done with it. Assuming there is any interest, of course.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and best of luck with your own projects! After building my own robot I can appreciate how difficult it sometimes is to make hardware working. Programming is easy compared to that! :)


Re: Introducing Piro: My Raspberry Pi robot project

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:38 am
by mwilliams03
Great work! I built one about 2 years ago and it is a great learning process.

Are you using encoders on your motors? With encoders I was able to get my balancing bot to balance on the spot.

Re: Introducing Piro: My Raspberry Pi robot project

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:18 am
by Pate
Hi Mark!

Your PiBBOT ( ... pberry-pi/) page has been pretty much my best reference when working on my Piro, thanks for your good description about filters and step by step guide about the PID algorithm! Those have been a great help to me. I plan to add your page as one of the most important reference to my Piro references page as soon as I get around to collecting my URL references. :)

I don't have encoders in my motors, but I have been starting to think that that might have been the wrong place to save money on. The main reason I did not get motors with encoders was that I was not sure of the needed speed of the motors (this being my first ever robot), and thought that it might be smarter to start with something cheap, until i know what is actually required.

I'll see how far I can get without wheel encoders (as I plan to eventually incorporate a SLAM system into my robot, and encoders would make that much easier), but I will perhaps purchase new motors with encoders at some point.

Thanks again for your interest, by the way, have you been working on your PiBBOT any further since you originally made it?


Re: Introducing Piro: My Raspberry Pi robot project

Posted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:04 am
by Pate
In case you are interested in following my Piro project, here is the latest video I just uploaded:

I have still mainly been working on the balancing routine, but I was asked the demonstrate my robot project at work a week and a half ago, so I spent some time adding some rudimentary versions of most of the additional features I plan to have in Piro. In this video you can see Piro balancing, talking, detecting faces and also attempting speech recognition (the last one with a lot of failures, as I did not speak at all during the video but Piro kept hearing me giving it commands).

As always, the latest information is available on my blog at

Thanks for your interest!