The Trouble with Rovers
The JPL Open Source Rover is a relatively inexpensive and accessible project for high school and college classes to exercise mechanical and electronics and software engineering using parts that could be easily sourced from hobbyist stores. JPL beta-tested their build instructions at a few schools and with the SGVHAK maker group. The ultimate goal was to refine the build instructions and grow a community of experienced builders to help provide support once the rover documentation and code were open sourced. https://github.com/nasa-jpl/open-source-rover We will go over the experience of the SGVHAK maker group in building the SGVHAK rover and being inspired to build rovers of our own design. The SGVHAK maker group built the rover over the period of 3 months while giving JPL significant feedback and build photos. We diverged from the original design most significantly in the wheel design, motor selection, and software. We were able to exhibit the SGVHAK rover at SCALE, the Caltech Science for March, and the DTLA Mini Maker Faire. We were recently interviewed for the Command_Line Heroes podcast. Building rovers is a never-ending process. The SGVHAK rover itself is always under construction. We have plans to add a robot arm, pan-tilt webcam, and maybe even lidar. Our members have already started coming up with their own rover designs and builds. All the code and 3D printer files are on GitHub. Come join us in our rover-building adventures.