CoolerBot is built as an outdoor telepresence robot that is used for nature photography and surveillance. It is both rugged and waterproof and designed to stay outdoors for long periods of time. It was built using a 48-quart Coleman cooler and sports an infrared video camera, a Nikon digital SLR camera and two solar panels used to recharge the motor and logic batteries.
CoolerBot uses a tail-dragger design with 14" wheels in front and a 10" castering wheel in the rear. The caster wheel is mounted using PVC pipe. The robot is capable of moving in either direction. CoolerBot uses two NPC-41250 motors powered by a 10 amp hour 12 volt SLA battery. The logic is powered by a separate 10 amp hour 12 volt SLA battery and both batteries are recharged by the two onboard solar panels. The motors are driven by two Parallax HB-25s are which are controlled by a Propeller. Currently the robot is remote controlled through a 912 MHz Transceiver.
Currently CoolerBot is remotely controlled telepresence robot. Basically you need to drive it somewhere and then take your pictures. The next step is to add some autonomous functions that would allow CoolerBot to navigate on its own to a location using GPS as well as sensors to avoid collisions and cliffs. This would be very much like the requirements needed for a Robomagellan competition. With this capability CoolerBot could be sent on autonomous overnight patrol and then you could download the pictures it captured the next morning.
You can read all about CoolerBot in the March/April 2010 issue of Robot Magazine.