A semi-autonomous circular robot for escape rooms
January 11th, 2019—
If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you’ve undoubtedly had to deal with a wide variety of puzzles that you have to solve in order to get out of the “prison” that you’ve willingly thrown yourself into. Beyond the puzzle that you’re trying to decode, the mechanisms used can be extremely clever, and coming up with a new device to use in these scenarios was a perfect challenge for this team of Belgian college students.
Based on the project requirements, they created a Roomba-like circular robot controlled by an Arduino Uno and motor shield that drives a pair of DC motors. The idea, while not fully implemented due to time constraints, is that it can be remotely operated only after solving a riddle and within a certain time period, then drive itself back to a designated spot once the game is over.
Here is a summary of what happens in the robot:
– The non-autonomous part: a remote controller is linked to Arduino through a receiver. Players control the remote and therefore control the Arduino which controls the motors. The Arduino is turned on before the game starts, but it enters the main function when players solve a riddle on the remote controller. An IR wireless camera is already turned on (turned on at the same time as the “whole” (controlled by the Arduino) when switch on/off turned on). Players guide the car with remote controller: they control the speed and the direction. When the timer that starts when the main function is entered is equal to 30 minutes, the control from the controller is disabled.
– The autonomous part: the control is then managed by the Arduino. After 30 minutes, the IR line tracker sensor starts following a line on the ground to finish the parcours.
For inspiration on building your own, check out the team’s write-up (including code) and a clip of the prototype below.