So recently someone brought up an idea to me of getting a robot, and programming it to be able to shoot a gun. At first, the idea was kind of a joke, but then I started thinking that it would actually be a pretty awesome project. Anyway, I've been doing a little looking around and it's kind of hard to actually find something that has the requirements I'm looking for.
I want a wheeled or tracked robot, and it needs an arm. But every armed robot (pun intentional) has a damn clamp as an arm. I need something that has similar functionality to a finger, something that can "pull", not "clamp". And it would also be cool if it had a port to plug in a video camera.
I realize this may be kinda pricy, but it would be a long project to work on for awhile. If anyone has any experience here, or can point me to some links, that would be awesome!
I used to do a lot of work with robots in a robotics course I took. I'm not sure that you will be able to find a "fingered" robot unless you fork out some major $$. That being said, you could easily build your own robot. You would need a track, a car for the track, some type of structure to hold the gun on the car and keep it pointed down range and the arm that also goes on the car and pulls the trigger. To get the claw to pull the trigger like a finger would, you would just have to position the claw sideways (at a right angle with the barrel of the gun) and have one part of the claw going through the trigger guard so that it pulls the trigger when closed. If you really want to get fancy, you could even build the arm itself (it doesn't actually have to move, as the gun is mounted) and design the trigger pulling mechanism yourself. You could also add tilt/rotation abilities to the gun mount. Building everything yourself from general purpose parts will be MUCH cheaper than buying kits, and you can deign everything to fit your needs, rather than rig them to fit your needs.
I've never done anything remotely close to building a robot lol. I have pretty much no hardware experience at all, but that would mean I'd get to learn a whole new side of things. Is there somewhere you'd recommend to get started building this thing? I wouldn't even know where to look to find parts
In my school's robotics club we use the Vex design system. It's pretty expensive, but pretty cool as well. If you check it out be sure to sue EasyC and not RobotC - RobotC claims to be real C but it is actually a very modified version of the language. EasyC lets you convert the drag-drop programming to text programming.
Vex was one of the systems we used as well. You don't have to buy an entire kit from them, you could always just buy individual parts and only get what you need. Vex has all kinds of sensors, motors, servos and building hardware that can be used to create just about anything (we built things ranging from automated guided vehicles (AGV's) to mock assembly lines). I'm not sure what the pricing is like though.
As for building the robot, do it just like you would a large program. Break it down into smaller, easily definable/attainable sections or goals. Identify all the different systems you will need (track and car, weapon mount (possible movable), firing mechanism, etc), then brainstorm different ways those systems can be implemented. Draw some sketches and see if there are any existing systems that are similar that you can emulate. Once you have some designs down for each system, research what hardware will be needed, and how you will incorporate that hardware. You should also make sure you know how all the systems will come together to create the final robot. By the time you actually get around to building it physically, you should have enough detailed sketches and other documentation that you can just put stuff together based off your designs, and not have any major problems to solve on the spot.