We’ve been working on the Rover Challenge robot for the New York Hall of Science. Its purpose is to give Science Center visitors a chance to drive a robot through an obstacle course, use ultrasonic and color sensors, record video, take snapshots, play music and sound effects, understand different types of steering, and learn about the various elements of a robot. Having completed the machining of the Main Plate, we are now assembling the various mechanical and electrical components onto it. The wiring isn’t done yet and some of the components are not yet installed. This is just a preliminary look at the direction we’re heading. The folks at NYSci asked us to make a compact six-wheeled robot that had a “homemade” or “science project” feel to it, so we’ve left all the electronic components exposed. This provides a good teaching platform with the various elements of the rover clearly visible, such as the Arduino, the motor controller, the servo controller, and so on. We will also be providing an optional clear acrylic top plate in case they wish to cover the components. This robot will have many features and options, including easily interchangeable wheels–either the knobby tires shown here or the gnarly metal wheels you might have seen in previous posts. Because each wheel is mounted on a servo, this rover will provide several different types of steering, including the rotational servo-steering we used on the Mars Rover and 90-degree strafing. It should be fun to see in action.