Pricing a Mining Robot: Communications

So I want to build a teleoperated mining robot to operate over the internet. I provided a graphical overview of the system here. Today my nephew and I priced the communications-link components.

Supposing for the moment that I actually know what I’m talking about, here’s what I figure we need:

Let’s start from left and go right. First, at the entrance to the cave, you have a router that connects to the internet. That’s fifty bucks.

The router connects to an ethernet shield. The ethernet shield enables the router to communicate with an Arduino.

The Arduino in turn connects to an Xbee, which is an Arduino shield that enables the Arduino to send and receive point-to-point radio communications.

On the robot itself is another Xbee shield, which receives and transmits radio signals on behalf of an onboard Arduino. The onboard Arduino in turn interfaces with the wheel motor(s) and manipulators and other systems and sensors of the mining bot.

Altogether you need 1 ethernet shield ($55), 2 Arduinos ($70), and 2 Xbees ($50), for a total cost of $175. Oh, and I forgot that router, didn’t I? Well, that’s $225 then. Tax and shipping and handling not included. (Groan.)

Then there’s the camera, but that turned out to be the easiest and cheapest of all my communications problems. I checked Amazon and found a home security camera that connects over the internet for just $70. I would mention the brand and provide a link, but hey, I’m not getting paid for product endorsements here.

Anyhow, I bought the camera and it’s coming via Super Saver shipping, so it’ll be here next week or so.

In the meantime, it’s back to the neph’s computer. You know, I’m going to have to buy a marker board to keep track of all these projects.

About engineerzero

Once and future engineer.
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