Saturday, July 11, 2020


A Dream of Totally-Not-Evil-Robot-Army Minions!!

Minions - and not the D'zney ones!  Every Mad Scientist needs them.  Especially if you are going to build a robot army. Minions can be the foundation for any robot army, the very lowest of the 'foot soldiers'. What would be the robot equivalent?  Perhaps the most simplest robot configuration. In 'Agile' speak: the Minimal Viable Robot?

Robotic Minion with a Manipulator Arm

The Minimal Viable Robot, would have the minimal number of parts, and be the easiest to replicate. It could be small, one would say Miniature. A minimal, miniature robot - the first one in the Robot Army.  It will be a Min-i-on, and mini-one, a Mini1!

Lets build it!!  Because this Robot Army needs many many more robots!  It needs Mini1s!!

Mini1 sketches


What is the bare-bones, minimalist robot, that still has some kick?  I would propose:

  • 2 Wheels
  • 2 Small Motors
  • a Motor Controller
  • Microcontroller
  • and a Battery

That sounds really basic. but, if it is going to do something - like to serve butter - in needs at least a sensor and a manipulator.

Here are some parts I have laying around the Totally Not Evil Robot Army Lab. This is a really cheap build with these parts. The Wheels are from an old printer. The motors came off of a chotsky fan I collected from a trade fair. The motor driver is a little overkill L298N but will do the job. The microcontroller is a Arduino Pro Mini (clone) about $5. and for power perhaps this battery bank battery 5V.  For a sensor, I have a common ultrasonic ranger HC-SR04.  And if I go for an arm, I will use simple micro-servos. In the bottom corner is a ESP32, which would be more powerful, and provide wifi/bluetooth - perhaps for future versions.

Potential Parts for a Mini1 - Robot Minion

Alright!  Let's get started:

Mini1 - first CAD sketch - OpenSCAD

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