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Development of a low-cost robotic squirrel for the study of small animal behavior

Brahmandam, Lakshmi Divija Sarupya

This project focuses on building a low-cost remote controlled Robot Squirrel to support the study of small animal behavior. It can also be implemented as an educational tool for all the stages of the educational systems, from elementary to university level. It is a ground-based motion robot, which is driven at variable speeds utilizing slip steering (a method similar to the motion of a tank) which can be moved in any desired direction. It supports an on-board video system to record, and monitor various behavioral patterns of animals, primarily squirrels in this project even from a distance. It also comprises of an audio system which can record and playback sounds to the animals and a simple robot arm-like structure with two degree of freedom controlled by servos, which acts as a nut delivery system to the animals. An Android smart phone application was developed to control the motion and speed of the robot and other operational controls in the system, like record and playback control and also the movement of the robot arm. Arduino Uno, an ATmega328 based microcontroller board acts as the major control unit of the entire system. A Bluetooth module acts as an interface between the Arduino and the smart phone supporting the control and operation of the Robotic Squirrel.