Students of Civil Engineering in Electronics from the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM), developed a robot capable of capturing audiovisual information from the environment that can be transmitted wirelessly.
This initiative is supported by the Program of Academic Student Initiatives of the university and began to develop as a system of mobile telepresence. It later morphed into an exploratory vehicle that can move thanks to small motors connected to wheels.
The robot has a camera to capture images and can move in two different manners depending on the user’s requirements: by radio control, where the operator determines its movements; or autonomously, where the robot advances on the basis of the captured data.
To fulfill these functions the device is equipped with an Arduino microcontroller that handles the actuators and sensors. These respond to distance, touch, light and temperature, among other factors. Communication with the robot takes place via traditional Wi-Fi, thus achieving distance control through the use of already existing networks.
The platform also uses as a central control device a Fit-PC mini-computer, which makes it possible to work with different tools to process, store and communicate information in a simple manner.
The robot can be used for multiple functions. First, it can be used to monitor private facilities by night, together with a person who is in a control room. This makes it possible to increase security in a condominium, making the robot perform surveillance rounds and send the information it picks up to one central recipient.
It can also be very practical at the time of going on vacation, because the mobile platform can be left at home and send information from time to time regarding the status of the house. For best performance, the user can program it to be still and only begin image and audio detection when any strange movement occurs. It is also possible to program it to perform surveillance rounds every so often.
Finally, it can access places considered to be dangerous for human beings, such as, for example, minefields and sectors where there are gas leaks. Because of its capacity to capture audio and video, it can be used to seek explosives in the event of a bomb threat.