Friends, Programmers, Battlebots

Usually we make projects that help us in our daily lives. A motion sensor device, voice recognition or a touch screen door lock. But sometimes we make projects for fun. Take for instance the project I saw online and am showing you guys in a while. There are times we unleash the kid within us especially when we enjoy our hobby too much. So what do we create when we become boys or girls again? That answer is so easy for us. Robots!!! Not just any kind of robot, a battle bot!!!

Yes we nerds are immature at heart, we imagine our creations to fight the battles we cannot and could not fight (yeah tough times during school days). Although you guys would imagine putting chainsaws, flamethrowers or blades on a battle bot, this one might disappoint you. SNAK, or silent ninja android killer only weighs 1.5lbs and the battles they fight for end after breaking your opponent’s toothpick that is attached to his/her bot.

So what can you put on a minuscule bot like this? I myself wouldn’t be able to think of a weapon that is small enough. So let us see what these guys did for their project.

Planning & Design:

SNAK took 6 months for their creators to finish. But from the early planning, they decided that as cool as robots are, so are ninjas! So they took it to the next level and combined both. They used Bluetooth to control the bot using an android device using IOIO! The robot is run by 4 large servos but to keep with the ninja theme, they attached 2 servos to control the spinning ninja stars. In addition, the bot houses a fast opening Carbon Dioxide valve, usually used to quickly inflate bike tires with compressed CO2. It also fit the ninja theme (ninjas use smoke bombs made of iron and pottery and the CO2 helps with the haze). However to activate the valve, they had to attach another servo which also taxed the battery of SNAK.

Here is the parts list:

  • IOIO
  • 5 large servos
  • 2 medium servos
  • 16g CO2 cartridge
  • Bike valve
  • Transformer Prime running ICS
  • 7.4v Lithium Polymer battery
  • Polymorph for mounting the CO2 valve
  • 1-2″ nylon screws

The creator really put a lot of effort into his bot. Acrylic with matte black finish, mirror finish for the ninja stars. He uses Inkscape to make the bot more detailed. Although it looked really cool, it seems the weight is too much. This is where the nylon screws helped not to mention taking out the casing protecting the wires. Ninjas don’t wear a lot of armor do they?


Coding the IOIO isn’t as hard as it looks. The installation guide is a big help. Rather than using the standard Eclipse v3.6.2, the v3.7.2 is used instead and never had any complications. In the end the creator used an Android 2.3.3 SDK so that it is compatible with all sorts of android phones. The GUI is very basic, containing a toggle button, 2 seekbars and 2 joysticks from an open source library with some modifications for multi touch capabilities. Here is the creator’s references for the coding:

  • IOIO Wiki.
  • IOIOLib Basics
  • PWM Outputs for the IOIO.
  • Making Sense of MultiTouch
  • Android Reference

Check out the IOIO discussion group for additional information on the IOIO

The code for the Bluetooth communication is unchanged. Just attach the Bluetooth dongle which comes with the IOIO lbrary and pair it with the android device and everything works nice and easy. With the coding integrated into the bot, SNAK is ready for battle and the smokescreen works nicely too!

Although this battle bot is the basic of all basics, it is still a fun concept. From bot ideas to my oppressed childhood, I hope you learned a lot and maybe one day, make a battle bot worthy of the word.

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