by Amit Gangwar
A rover controller built using ESP8266 IoT chip. The project is to productize the circuit to interface with Snap circuits rover
About this project
I was introduced to ESP8266 chip at 2015 Java one conference. The cost of this chip and the amount of information that was available online inspired me. I had recently purchased snap circuits rover for my kids. It got me thinking if the rover could be controlled from anywhere in the world using ESP8266. I did some research on programming ESP8266 and finally created a program it to control snap circuits rover. Snap Circuits rover is a educational toy car made by a company named Elenco.
The prototype in current shape is not easy for kids to use and learn. The funding it to assemble the circuit inside a small plastic box similar to snap circuit component packaging.This would allow kids to learn and understand IoT and control various devices over internet.
How it works.
The program that I have created for ESP8266 acts a Hotspot when it gets powered. Any phone or wifi capable device is connected to this hotspot. Once connected the device is used to browse to a url that allows entering credentials for home wifi. Once this is done the chip reboots and connects to the home network. After this any phone or computer on the home network can point to the provided url and control the rover.
In later phases of the project I would create many more projects for the kids to learn IoT using Snap circuits. This kickstarter campaign is more for finding if there are people out there who think this would be good concept and method to teach kids about IoT. Please support with minimum contribution so we know this is worth moving forward.
- For electronic enthusiast who do not want to get into programming the IoT chips this would provide a blackbox approach to create various projects that need controlling over internet.
- Fun way to learn Internet of Things technology and understand how Amazon Echo, Nest thermostat and various other IoT devices work.
- Integrate LCD display on the component to show the connected ip address.
- Multi touch mobile application to control the rover. (Currently internet browser is used to control the rover)
- Connect camera to the rover and stream First person in view(FPIV) video to the mobile app.
- Expose all i/o ports and enable multiple projects with humidity and thermometer control
- integrate switching relays into the packaging to allow for internet controlled switches.
- Build a website to register these devices and control using mobile applications
- Expose the same controller to control model airplane or drone models with FPIV
- Introduce the board for connections to be magnetic and components to be connected using magnetic connectors
- Introduce generic connector interface with pre connected endpoints to breadboard.
What does this component teach
1. Internet of Things basics
4. Controlling devices to internet.
Risks and challenges
Once ESP8266 connects the wifi network the end user has to find the ip address that was given by the DHCP on router. Ability of the end user to look into there routers user interface and find the ip address assigned to the IoT chip is one of the challenges with current implementation. This ip address is used from the browser to view the rover control page that was hosted by the web server programmed into ESP8266
To address this issue, I am planning to update the program to send email with the ip address that it obtains from the router.