A Tamiya radio-controlled model tank was stripped down and converted into a mobile robotic base, powered by a common size of motorcycle battery and operated by a single-board computer with data acquisition capability. The present state of development is not quite up to Innovatia designware standards, yet the electronics is reproducible. The main drawback is that the microprocessor is a 6502 and thus somewhat dated. To change to an Atmel AVR, PIC, or Freescale 56F80xx controller will require a code port. The code is working and written in assembler and Forth-83.

If you are interested in designware for the Forager robot, please inquire. If you improve it sufficiently, you might have created your own designware - or robotic product.

Forager Robot Project

Designware for this project is in the prototype stage, undergoing design extension and refinement. Some designware, including detailed circuit diagrams and source or object code is available; contact Innovatia.

Mobile Robot

The Forager mobile robot monitors, surveys or remotely acquires data at locations within a given area. The Forager learns locations of objects in the area, associates sensory patterns with their location, and acts based on the resulting map. It can operate autonomously or be remotely controlled.

The Forager not only processes sensor readings into useable data, it learns the usual sensory patterns at each location and can respond to abnormal deviations. Mission instructions can be refined in the field while the RP1 is in service. Sensor readings are used to form a world-map of the area by which the RP1 learns to navigate and “know” its domain. Optional sensor modules configure the RP1 for required capabilities.


·         Environmental monitoring

·         Wireless data acquisition

·         Commercial automated crop tending

·         Liquid spill or gas leak surveillance

·         Object movement security monitor

·         Air quality and noise monitoring

·         Long-term or tedious area sampling

·         Remote or routine measurements

·         Data acquisition in inaccessible places

Mechanical Description

The RP1 is a dual-track vehicle 45 cm (18 inches) long by 30 cm (12 inches) wide and typically 45 cm (18 inches) high. It can traverse obstacles up to 5 cm (2 inches) high. Travel distance between charges is typically 1 km (0.6 mile) and maximum speed is 0.1 m/s (18 in/s). Movement is commanded as speed (forward or reverse) and turn radius. The RP1 can rotate on a point (0 turn radius) to maneuver in tight spaces.

Control Interface

The RP1 can be commanded at several levels of detail. High-level commands include menu-driven sensor scanning and logging, sensor-data processing, route itinerary, and reporting. Sensor-pattern learning can be activated, learning parameters selected and options chosen for response to new patterns. At a more detailed level, the automated capabilities can be turned off and the RP1 remotely controlled to acquire meter readings and environmental or probe-station data. Automated modes can be set to acquire data under specified circumstances, with subsequent actions.

Sensor Modules

Basic sensors:

·         Front and rear collision

·         Pitch and roll tilt

·         Battery energy  & charger connection

·         Track odometer & (x,y,q) location

·         Time of day & calendar

Modules required for navigation:

·         Scanning sonar

·         1D Vision

·         World mapper

Standard Subsystems

·        Power source: 30 A-h sealed lead-acid battery supplies 20 W power converter.

·        Homeostasis, communication & motion module: power supply voltages and currents monitor, battery energy manager & charger, ambient temperature sensor, roll & pitch sensors, dual track-motor drive controllers, infrared wireless serial port.



45 cm (18 in) long, 30 cm (12 in) wide and high


15 kg (33 lbf)

Ground clearance

5 cm (2 inches)

Track obstacle climbing height

5 cm (2 inches)


0.1 m/s max, horizontal plane


Infrared serial port; range: 5 m

Robot Range

0.8 km (1/2 mile) total travel  per trip

Object position precision

± 25 cm

Position accuracy

5 % of full-scale range

Sonar & 1D vision range

3 m (10 ft)

Motion system

direct-drive field-oriented step-motors

Turn radius

0 (point pivot) to ±¥ (straight motion)

Module expansion

up to at least 4 optional modules

Power supply

30 A-h SLA battery, 100 W converter

Operating temperature

20 °C ± 30 °C

A newer, more powerful robot design (Forager 2) is in development based on the Radio Shack Sand Viper four-wheel vehicle with front-wheel steering. No designware is available for it at this time.

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