Over the past few months myself, and a few members of the Labman team, have been using our lunchtimes and evenings to work on converting a Nintendo Wii controller to operate a Raspberry Pi powered track based robot.
The first challenge was to find a suitable track based chassis, so it was off to eBay for a pre built model. Once we had the kit it was time for the assembly of the track, gears and 3.3v motors.
We wanted the Robot to be used independently from laptops or computers so we built a power supply, which supplied power to the Raspberry Pi and motor controller board. We achieved this with an 11.1v battery using voltage regulators, capacitors, resistors, switches and LED’s. We supplied the pi with 5v and 3.3v for the motors.
Using the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins and the python IDE we were able to quickly setup a program to turn the outputs on and off which gave us a great starting point for the next step…. the Wii Remote!
Luckily after a few Google searches we were able to find that someone had already built a python library so most of the hard work had been done for us. We imported the library into the IDE and started working out the button commands we wanted.
After installing a Bluetooth dongle we were able to pair the Wii remote and make the robot travel forwards, backwards, turn left and right and even turn 360 on the spot.
We are currently in the process of the second revision, with an improved power supply and a more automated Wii remote connection method.
We plan in the future to mount a Raspberry Pi camera onto a stepper motor so we can stream live images back to a web browser.