BitlyBot - Minimal Telepresense


Pete needed a telepresense robot, but they all seemed way too expensive and complicated and hard to buy. He asked me to make one. BitlyBot is a little different than its competitors.

BitlyBot Glory Shot

What's different?

Commercial Teleprensence System BitlyBot
"underlying technology is very sophisticated" so simple, a child could build it
"is continually connected to a purpose built cloud-computing network that keeps track of its availability and initiates telepresence upon request by a remote user" uses Facetime or Skype or any other system that can transmit sounds
"Handheld Remote Control... for specialized applications... Also sometimes used to enter configuration data" uses any vintage telephone or answering machine dongle to generate touch tones
"starting at under $6,000 plus an annual service contract (about $100 a month)" buy me dinner in brooklyn sometime
"lasts more than 6 hours between charges" The motor batteries so far last more than a month of normal use. The ipod battery lasts at least a week since it is sleeping most of the time.
"an integrated solution that includes custom engendered robotics controllers paired with a network high powered embedded control systems" a handful of LEDs and a few relays. and some wire.
"Built by leading electronics manufacturer.... for highest quality and lowest cost" Um... Built here.

Notes on How BitlyBot Works

Controller Side:

Bitlybot Controller Schematic

Robot Side:


Bitlybot Reciever Schematic


The Body

Pre BitlyBot Body

Shunned by Radio Shack x-mas shoppers, I was able to pick up a few of these RC trucks for $40 each.

They turned out to be perfect for robotizing because they have 2 motors - one for each side. Skid-steering is easy in binary.

The Brain

What is brain?

BitlyBot uses a Bi-Dimensional Programmable LED Logic Matrix to map the touch tones into actual motor action. See it in Action!...


...and see the magic that goes on *behind* the board (none)...

The back of the LED matrix control board


The Remote

The Touch Tone Controller

Could be anything that can make touch tones. In this case - and old answering machine remote.


I tried some RC car wheels, but they were all either too big too small so I made my own that were perfect size. These were the first actually useful thing I've ever printed on my Makerbot. The hub fit onto the RC car axles perfectly.



Use Case

Here is a video showing that BitlyBot can be successfully used to remotely find lost children....



7/10/2012 - First published
7/30/2012 - Added schematic drawings



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