February 3, 2009 The latest winner in this round of the Trossen Robotics competition combines both of man's best friends - dogs and computers. Despite its high tech capabilities, the autonomous pooch dubbed K-9 looks suitably low-budget from the exterior in-line with its namesake from the original Dr. Who television series.

Designer DJSures stated in his entry that the entire project was the result of a simple wish to “have a robot pet” that can navigate its surroundings and interact with people. The robot rolls around on treads and uses a sensor to avoid obstacles. When the sensor perceives a moving object, the robot’s programming compels it to investigate – though amusingly, like a real dog, the older K-9 gets the more sedate it becomes.

Mounted on the dog’s back is an LED screen for status updates, while two more LEDs form the robot’s eyes. The pup also includes a 20 mhz resonator and a 18F4685 8 bit microcontroller.

Trossen’s robotic competition is a chance for high-tech tinkerers to show their design skills and ingenuity – and runner-ups in this round of the comps included a robotic marionette, a Lego Wall-E, and a roving Servo bot. The win netted the designer Pleo dinosaur.

Kyle Sherer

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