Project Information

Telepresence / Social Robot

A Telepresence based social robot. It is designed to wander around indoors and interact with the environment and the people in it. It is equipped with a Kinect sensor for vision and hearing and a monitor and speakers for interaction.
Created by jdolecki
On going for about a year now
50+ pounds
24x24x 5 feet tall
2-5 hours
C+ and Robotics Studio VPL
X-box controller, Autonomous and Desktop remote connection.
Powersource: Lead Acid

(2) 17 Ah 12v Sealed batteries connected to a car computer power supply. M4-ATX for the regulated voltages for the mother board. This is a DC to DC convertor providing the necessary voltages for the computer, +12, -12, +5, -5 etc.

Locomotion: Wheel Driven

Wheel chair motors and wheels from a power chair. Electric brake removed and armature shaft shortened. Custom made 6061 aluminum brackets tig welded to frame. Wheel chair motors are great for robotics as the provide gobs of torque at 24v and run smoothly at 12 volts.

Controller/CPU: Zotac Mini ITX motorboard Core 2 duo processor

Zoatac Mini ITX mother board running Windows 7 and Microsoft Robotics Studio.
Connected to a Parallax Eddie control board which acts as the interface for the motors and sensors.


Kinect camera, Ping ultrasonics, IR distance , Wheel encoders and Microphone.


There is a liner actuator inside to raise and lower the mast. That is controlled by a Dimensional Engineering controller.

The stock Wheelchair gearboxes are more than enough. The only modification I do to them is remove the freewheel handle and cover and that shortens the height by .75 inches.


This project started from a trip to my local electronics recycles, wandering around these carts caught my eye. I thought that would be a good base for a robot. I knew i was going to use Wheel chair motors on it but at the time i didn't have the design for it. After the base sat for a while I took it apart to see what was salvageable. It turned out that the monitor, batteries were no good. The electronics were all still intact but i need a schematic to see what was going on. Turns out the company that made them was no longer in business. So I ended up gutting everything. I wanted to keep the case cause it look so cool and the challenge would be to get everything to fit inside.

At this time everything sat on the welding table until I could figure out the motor mounts.

I also started collecting components for the build. The Mini ITX mother board is the smallest on they make with built in WiFi at the time. I experiment with motor controllers even burning up a few till I settled On the Parallax Eddie controller.
The Monitor came from Craigslist I had to find one that used a 12v dc power supply.
The e stop button was laying around the garage and brackets had to be made for that.

Here are the pictures of the Aluminum box that mounts the motherboard and computer power supply.

These picture show the Parallax Eddie board mounted along with the master on, the computer on and motors enable switch along with the rear facing ping mount. Decided on the mounting for the 2 front Ping senors. Once I finish the 3 IR senors mounts they will all be flush mounted.

10 bit Magnetic Encoder boards that i built. I soldered all those surface mounts chips under a Microscope.
MAchined a aluminum slug to center the board on the output shaft home. Mounted the magnet to the end of the shaft. Mountesd the board to the gearbox housing.

New Video for Christmas. Robots First Christmas

Took my Robot to school. I'm A EE student at College of Dupage.

First movement under RC control.