Build a Programmable Hexapod for Around 40 Dollars

Front View of the Hexpod
Front View of the Hexpod

I modified a toy hexapod crawler kit using the Texas Instruments MSP430 LaunchPad as the microcontroller for fun. A SR-04 Ultrasonic distance sensor has been added to the existing whiskers for enhanced navigation. The MSP430 is programmed using the Energia IDE, like the Arduino, based on the Wiring Framework. As a result, one can easily migrate existing Arduino sketches to run on the MSP430 or add new capabilities and behaviours to the robot using the familiar Arduino-like development environment. At present, the hexapod can either wander around using SR-04 and whisker navigation or follow the wall.


Here is a pictorial walk-through of the project:



Points of Interest:

  • The kit’s original circuit board is kept so that the whiskers mounted in the front of the hexapod can be reused. The traces on the circuit board connecting the whiskers and the onboard electronics have been cut to allow MSP430 to take control
  • he kit’s 3 X AAA battery holder has been replaced by a 4 X AA battery holder as 5V is required for the SR-04 distance sensor
  • the MSP430 Launchpad is powered by the batteries via the connections to the TP1 and TP3 male headers I soldered onto the LaunchPad near the USB connector
  • the MSP430 Launchpad, motor driver and SR-04 are mounted using small pieces of plywood and hot glue
  • the behaviour to execute (wander or wall following) is controlled by the push button on the LaunchPad
  • the yellow/red LED on the LaunchPad is lit when the left/right whiskers is in contact with something respectively

2 thoughts on “Build a Programmable Hexapod for Around 40 Dollars”

  1. Am aflat aceasta pagina, dupa ce am cautat despre Build
    a Programmable Hexapod for Around 40 Dollars pe Google.
    Se pare ca informatia dvs e foarte valoroasa, mai ales ca
    am mai gasit aici si despre ora, ora exacta,
    lucruri interesante si folositoare. Mult succes in continuare!

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