How To Create A Candy Dispensing Robot

The YesYesBot is a candy dispensing robot capable of remote activation via mobile phone, that utilizes 3D printed parts and the new Galileo microprocessor board by Intel to come to life.

Making its debut at last week's Rome Maker Faire, the YesYesBot is a retro-inspired, candy dispensing robot created by interactive collective YesYesNo and brought to life with 3D printed parts, motors, LEDs, Linux software, and the new Galileo microprocessor board by Intel. In part two of our Makers series (watch Part I here), Zach LiebermanYesYesNo founder and a key mastermind behind openFrameworks, the C++ coding toolkit and creative community, and collaborator Molmol Kuo walk us through the creation of the sweet new robot and offer a step-by-step guide below for creating your own YesBot. 

1) Design a robot.

For this we looked at historical references, such as Electro, the robot from the Worlds Faire in 1939, or Japanese robots from the 80's. We wanted to make something fun and retro, and we knew we didn't have alot of time to work on locomotion, so we went with wheels for the base.

2) Model it & start building.  

Marcela and Molmol focused on the physical construction, and started that process of modeling early on. Those models help inform how much of the body needs to be cut from foam, how much is laser cut, 3D printed, and so on. Some operations like 3D printing take a while, so we started as early as we could for this. On the inside the robot is duct tape and glue, but the outside has to look nice. Also, we tried hard to find parts such as old cassette players that we could weave into the object.

3) Diagram and build the electrical circuits.
There are many parts to a robot including sensors, motors, and so on, so it's useful to come up with a good diagram about how things fit together. We were especially concerned with voltage. Since the motor control for the robot takes 12 volts, but many of the pieces require 5 volts, we thought alot about how power should be wired. 

4) Develop software. 
We wanted to make sure that users could communicate with the robot, so we designed an interface that used web sockets to quickly communicate from a phone device to the robot. The Galileo works as a server, running a Linux stack, as well as an Arduino, so it was pretty convenient. We could pretty quickly take commands from a phone app and turn them into electrical signals the robot 

5) Find candy!Our robot ejects candy -- using several servo motors, a 3D printed dispenser and an inverted/cut water bottle. Maker Faire has a lot of kids and need to keep them happy.

Below, check out our GIF to see how the exterior was built:

Watch Lyt by Second Story below:

You can also find out more about Galileo and Makers here. Be sure to check back tomorrow when we'll be unveiling the final installment of The Makers, and giving away a few Galileo microprocessors to our loyal readers.