Bay Area Maker Faire 2015 Web Badge
Robots Built by Bill and Mark Sherman
My latest projects are featured at my Botsmaker blog site.

Wind Harp
  Live windharp broadcasting is currently down.
Download my Windsonics Album and hear some windharp.
How to broadcast live on the Internet with SHOUTcast.

PIC-KEY Build a simple programmer for the PIC.

Updated 2-12-12 -  Bill's Art Bots

Use a solar garden light for other things. Best viewed with Firefox.   Garden Light Autopsy
PDF of Garden Light Autopsy

Crutch Pod, a tripod for your telescope made with recycled crutches.
Elixirator, a drink serving machine and other Steampunk projects.
Percussus, a drum machine using midi controlled relays as percussive musical instruments.

My Youtube Videos
Joule Thief Artbots that I have Made

Picaxe your I-dog !  Use a Picaxe to control your Sega I-dog!
Mood Beam Autopsy  Make an artbot out of a Mood Beam toy.
FireFly Project  Make a "Jar of Fireflies" using a Picaxe Microcontroller.
Welded Art Sculpture  Welding junk into art with the MIG welder.

Rollie    A two wheeled robot using foam and CDs for the wheels.

Rollie, a two wheeled robot with CD's for wheels

Overall View of Rollie

Rollie front view showing heat sensor

Front View showing  Heat Sensor, IR avoidance module and Beeper 

Rollie's top view showing power disconnect circuitry.

Top View showing servo disconnect circuit to save power

Specifications for 'ROLLIE"

ROLLIE has only two wheels to roll on; each wheel is a pair of CD discs with a foam center.  The foam center conforms to the surface and helps provide traction with the floor.  The robot's battery pack is toward the bottom and lowers its center of balance.  Rollie can move forward, backward, stop and turn upon its center.

A 16F84 PIC microcontroller from Microchip, running at 20 Mhz is the brain for the robot.  Programming can be downloaded "in circuit" using a serial link with a PC.  Rollie is
programmed in Basic using Pic Basic Pro(c) from MicroEngineering Labs.

Each wheel is driven by a servo modified for continuous rotation.  The servos can be completely powered down using a Mosfet as a switch under software control.  This conserves considerable power.

IR emitting LEDs are pulsed at 38kc and integrated circuit receiver modules tuned to this frequency, are used to detect and avoid obstacles with very little interference from other light sources.

A separate 38kc receiver is used to receive command instructions and detect an IR beacon for location purposes.  To prevent interference from the IR emitting LEDs, the 38kc receiver is read between avoidance routines.  A heat sensing PIR (Passive InfraRed) motion sensor is used to detect people or hot objects.

Four "AA" alkaline Rayovac(tm) rechargeable cells provide power for about 2 hours before recharging is necessary.

Rollie's autonomous behavior can be interrupted using a specially made IR remote control to help guide the robot out of dangerous situations.  An on-board mode switch can cycle the robot through different behaviors.

Rollie's primary mission is to move forward and avoid obstacles, find people and move toward them.  A blue LED flashes and a beeper sounds at different times to alert people of its presence.  If Rollie cannot find obstacles, people or the IR beacon, the robot will power down to "watch dog mode" and wait for stimulus.  Future additions: replace foam wheels with conductive foam to allow charging through the wheels in contact with a "charging pad".  An IR beacon at the pad will guide Rollie when charging is required.

Paper about Rollie (PDF)


CCMS Botball Team
Rollie, along with some members of the Botball Team representing Cesar Chavez Middle School at the 2003 Kaiser Hospital Earth Day.

Program Files for Rollie

rolly4.bas         Program written in Pic Pro Basic

rolly4.hex         Hex file for rollie4.hex for use with a Pic 16F84A 20 MHz

blink.bas          Test program that blinks rollie's red LED

blink.hex          Hex file for blink.bas

Whiskers    A robot built using a Parallax Boebot as a base.

Whiskers built on a boebot base

MPG Movie of Whiskers

Slither   a robot that uses the sine wave for snake-like motions to move.

Slither the snake-like robot


Slither Website

   Paper about Slither (PDF)
             MPG Movie of Slither

Make Magazine:
Make Podcast about Mark Sherman and Slither

Mark Sherman and Slither at NASA booth at RSASlither at 2002 Botball Conference in Oklahoma
Slither at the 2002 RSA Winter Games at Fort Mason. Link              Slither at the 1st National Botball Robotics Conference  Link

Complete Report of the 2001 Robot Games at the San Francisco Exploratorium Link

Shortcut to photos and movies (from the above link)

Whiskers        Rollie        Whiskers and Rollie          Slither(.mov)

Photos of the RSA Summer Expo 2003

Mark Sherman talks about his robotic snake

Children really like robotsWhiskers and Cambot

Links to My Robot Related Projects 

Got robots?Photos of ROBOlympics 2004, Fort Mason, San Francisco

Welcome to Botball !Botball 2003 Norman, Oklahoma

RobolaserRobolaser      Adding a laser to your robot

Cambot         Interfacing the CMUcam to a Boebot

BaliBot       An Inverted Pedulium Robot

The Fingerboard IIFingerboard Runs Interactive C
Get yourself a EAS Fingerboard, run IC4 (a free C compiler) and you have a "Mini Handy Board".
Project shows how to build a robot that uses the 68HC11 MCU and runs programs written  in C.

Bill's Bot      Our local high school robotics club entered RSA's mini sumo robot contest
Mini Sumo Robot.and needed someone to compete with.  So I built "Bill's Bot".


Mark Sherman's Projects

Virtual State Machine     An attempt to create a complete virtual machine interpreter.

Electronic Projects 

Go to the Curve Tracer pageCurve Tracer     To investigate the I-V charteristics of iron pyrites a PC controlled curve tracer was built.

Go the PIC-KEY Pic Programmer pagePIC-KEY         Updated 10-31-04  A simple to make In-Circuit Programming Tool for PIC's


Go my Hale-Bopp pageComet Hale-Bopp         Remember Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997?    Here are some photos I made while in Michigan.

Eclipse of 2002         Taking photos of the Sunset Eclipse.


What a big spark!Lightning        Almost foolproof method to get the shot.

Becky's Webpage        LadyBot's own projects and stuff.

You are free to use any of the circuits on my webpages for personal or educational use and not for commercial use.
These designs are experimental and may not fully work for you.  I will not be responsible for any damages to any computer, equipment, mental or bodily injury, or for lost revenue due to the use of these designs.

  Email me (Bill Sherman) If you have any questions at:

This Site is Permanently Under Construction
Last update Dec 28, 2013

Clipart from
 © 1999-2003