I hacked a Hexbug Inchworm

With my increasing interest in robotics I figured why not take a robot toy I already own and make it smarter? With this in mind I disassembled a Hexbug Inchworm, which you can see below.

Hexbug Inchworm Image

After I opened it up…

… I found a set of delicate gears. I removed the original “brain” (a chip responsible for reading the RF Signals and moving the Inchworm accordingly) and redid the flimsy wiring.

But I knew then and there reassembly wouldn’t be fun with those gears going everywhere.

After reassembly I got to work connecting an Arduino Nano. I gave the tiny dc motors a short burst of the full 5V just to see if they could handle it. And boy, could they. Even though they were previously only rated for 3.3V they handled the increased voltage flawlessly without unncessarily heating up, though I can’t speak for how well the internal gears would hold up long term to this dramatic voltage increase.

But 5V supplied much more torque than needed for this project, so I used PWM to dial it down a little.

After adjusting the legs properly (they tend to lock up when not aligned perfectly) I could make it walk as I wished.

Next up I’d like to mount the arduino on top of the Inchworm and include a range sensor and a battery to make it truly autonomous. I’ll just have to be careful as it’s already top heavy and a little wonky as a result.

I’ll post an update to the finished project once I manage to finish it.

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