Skip main navigation

Anatomy of ERIC

Watch this video to see the anatomy of ERIC, the robot specifically designed for the University of Reading's free, online course, Begin Robotics.
This is ERIC, which is a small, mobile robot we’ve designed for the course, ERIC standing for Electronics Robotics Intelligence and Cybernetics.
In order for the robot to move, obviously it needs wheels, and what we can see here are two wheels that we have especially 3D printed for the purpose. And as you can see, different versions have existed. To put them all together, what you’ve also got are two other pieces of 3D printing, which allow us to connect the other components to them. And they just clip together nice and easily. To make the robot move, you need to have motors, and we have two standard motors with associated gear boxes. And these will need to be powered, and we have a battery pack for that purpose.
And then overall, we have the main circuit board, which has on it the computer, plus all the sensors that are needed to detect the environment, and so forth. So let’s have a look in a bit more detail at the actual circuit board. First of all, it needs to be able to detect obstacles. So we’ve got two infrared emitters, here and here, which will emit the infrared, which will then be reflected off some objects that there are, and we’ll come back and be detected by two receivers, there and there.
ERIC has got a microphone. And one of the uses of that is for it to detect a signal to say start and another one to say stop. And all I have to do is to whistle at the right frequency, and it’ll start. [WHISTLE] Off we go, and then to stop. [WHISTLE] Start again. [WHISTLE] And stop. [WHISTLE] We also have a light detector so it can detect how light or dark it is, which we use on certain occasions. In order to detect whether the robot is going on the flat or going up a hill, we need to be able to measure the force of gravity, for which we use accelerometers.
And in fact, we’ve got a 3D accelerometer so we can measure the forces in three different directions. In order that the robot can travel at the correct speed, we need to be measuring what the speed it, and if it’s not right, do something about it. So built in, we have two motor controllers there and there, associated with which are the electronics, which detect what the speed is. So those are the sensors of the ERIC. We also have infrared emitters, which allow ERIC to talk to other ERICs, and so they can communicate what their behaviour is, something that we shall meet in week four. We also have two lights.
Two LEDs, red and a green, because it’s always useful to know that the robot is doing something, so they can flash at us for that purpose. Optionally, you can add a loudspeaker. And here we’ve got a loudspeaker that we can just connect on to it. And those are all the components of the robots, which you can assemble from all of those to end up with something looking like the final ERICs here.

Let’s now take a closer look at the different parts which make up our ERIC robot. In this video Richard reveals ERIC’s anatomy and why each component is so important.

In the next video, you will be able to see the ERICs navigating around an arena.

This article is from the free online

Begin Robotics

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education