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Whiskers on Robots Schematic Circuit Diagram

In certain situations, advanced sensors relying on technologies like video cameras, infrared, or ultrasound might not be sufficient for the task at hand. In such cases, we resort to more basic switch-type sensors. These sensors operate similarly to an animal’s whiskers or the antennae of insects, detecting nearby objects in the surroundings. When these sensors are disrupted, they send a pulse to the robot, signaling the presence of an object.

Whiskers on Robots Schematic Circuit Diagram1

Whiskers on Robots Schematic Circuit Diagram 2

Creating Sensitive and Robust Sensors

Utilizing single guitar strings offers a unique opportunity to craft sensors that are both sensitive and durable. These strings possess exceptional flexibility and conductivity, making them ideal for this purpose. The concept is elegantly simple: by passing the wire through a metal tube, when the wire comes into contact with an object in the environment, it bends, establishing electrical contact between the wire and the object.

Adjusting Responsiveness and Sensitivity

The responsiveness and sensitivity of these sensors primarily depend on the length and stiffness of the chosen guitar string segment. Constructing these sensors through DIY methods should not pose significant challenges, even for readers less familiar with mechanics. Referencing Figure 1, the construction process follows a straightforward sequence outlined in the following steps.

Whiskers on Robots Schematic Circuit Diagram 3

  1. Begin by cutting a steel guitar string to a length of 8 to 10 cm. Also, saw off a 2 cm section from a brass tube with a 4 mm diameter. Make sure to smooth out the edges both inside and out.
  2. Solder one wire to the end of the brass tube and another wire to the tip of the guitar string. Insulate the joint on the guitar string using heat shrink tubing.
  3. Insert the string into the tube, leaving the first 10 mm from the end of the tube uninsulated. Secure the string at the center of the tube using hot-melt glue. Exercise caution to prevent excess glue from seeping inside the tube. The final result should resemble Figure 2.

Feel free to experiment with different variations of this design! As described, this robot whisker essentially functions as a basic switch contact. To ensure that even the slightest collision doesn’t go unnoticed, we recommend using the whisker to trigger a flip-flop, as illustrated in Figure 3. This way, the microcontroller in the robot can read the flip-flop’s state at its convenience and reset it accordingly.


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