The aim of this project is to create a web-controllable/autonomous tank for about 100 Euros.
A 1:24 scale, remote controlled tank being able to move, rotate the gun turret and even shoot tiny bullets up to 25m can be bought for as little as 50 Euros. (Price can even be as low as 30 Euros if one doesn't need the shooting function.) Using just a Raspberry Pi, a USB WLAN adapter, a USB webcam and some very basic soldering skills, this "dumb", remote-controlled tank could be turned into being web-controllable and/or autonomous.
Imagine the following scenario for example: The tank is standing on the floor of your room while you're out. While it seems to do nothing, it constantly monitors the image captured by the webcam that is attached to the gun turret for any changes. If anything happens (like somebody entering the room in your absence), the tank will recognize this and send a message to your mobile phone, notifying you that something's happening in your room (maybe together with a picture). You can then control the tank from anywhere in the world, all you need is to log into the tank's web interface in a web browser (or by using some specially designed smartphone app). While you see a video stream from the webcam attached to the gun turret, you have full control over the tank: You can move it around, control the gun turret and even shoot. (More expensive models can even produce smoke). Since the Raspberry Pi afaik has onboard sound, using just a few additional standard components (microphone and speakers) it would even be possible to talk and listen to the "intruder".
While in practice this scenario may be more of a gimmick, I believe there would be lots of young and grown-up males who'd love to have something like this for toying around. Not only would it be great for surprising/shocking/impressing your parents/friends/girlfriend, it can also be used as a rather simple and low-cost entry into programming autonomous robots. Programming your own robot tank probably sounds much more interesting to young people than learning to program a normal PC.
Bill of Materials:
- Raspberry Pi
- USB WLAN Adapter (about 8 Euros incl. shipping - for example http://www.amazon.de/TP-Link-1.....001WU2N1G/
- USB Webcam (about 10 Euros incl. shipping - for example http://www.amazon.de/Hercules-.....000U7JFKO/
- R/C controlled tank (about 50 Euros - http://www.torro-shop.de/produ.....-LONG.html
I have already bought one of those tanks, taken it apart and figured out how all the tank's functions can be controlled. It should be possible to control each function of the tank by simply soldering a few wires to the tank's circuit board and connecting them to a handful of GPIOs. Apart from the small task of figuring out a way to power the Raspberry Pi from the tank's 7.4V battery (simple voltage regulator?), the remaining work should mostly be software development, so I'm pretty much only desperately waiting to finally get my hands on a Raspberry Pi.