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2020, the year I built my first robotic creation while bored during lockdown. The robot seen in this video is Snapper. He has a front-mounted GoPro HERO4 Black, which captured this amazing video seen above.

If you want to see how I built Snapper, see this video which explains the entire process.

Initially, I put Snapper out there on Trick or Treat Night out of curiosity. I was feeling proud of my creation and figured this might be a fun opportunity to put it to use. (Aside from chasing away greedy pigeons in the back garden) And honestly, despite me being a little late, the reactions I got were phenomenal. Both the kids and parents seemed to dig this idea, as it was perfectly COVID-secure. Even if I had the virus (which I've somehow managed to avoid entirely), this is a contact-free way to participate. My hope is that at least one kid takes this as inspiration to build something. I absolutely love it when something I make is able to push others to do the same. And I may never know if this ever happens, but I hope it does.

I was trying out new things for Snapper. One of them was a built-in speaker. This used an Adafruit Soundboard, and 2 buttons on the inside of the machine. I have a switch on my controller that moves a motor inside, which presses these buttons. The noise you hear before a sound plays is this motor hitting a button.

I happened to have 2 sounds loaded on there from my previous test. A tornado siren which was added as a test as it was just something I found morbidly interesting, and a sound clip of "Ridin'", which is a song by Chamillionaire. My best friend suggested I add this sound as I ride Snapper down the street, and I just never bothered to remove it.

These sounds worked well until later on in the night when the Bluetooth speaker I had installed was making a strange sound. (This one was unintentional)

I only realised something was wrong when I pulled Snapper back inside and started editing the footage. Still no idea what caused it and sadly the sound effects never returned in their current form.

I also had a pair of toy walkie-talkies installed. One inside the machine, and one with me. The idea being that I could communicate through them. However I strongly overestimated how loud a pair of Argos toys from 2012 would actually be. So nobody could hear them.

The other thing to note are the 2 cameras. A GoPro HERO4 Black, as previously mentioned, and a GoPro HERO6 Black. You'll notice that the HERO4 is cleverly installed in the back on the robot, and is very well hidden. While the HERO6 is just lazily slapped on the front and is clear as day.

The reason for this was the initial planning of the robot. You'll notice that Snapper is a 3-wheeled machine. Two drive wheels, and one castor wheel. The castor wheel was designed to be at the back, with the two drive wheels towards the front. This worked, until I accidently drove the machine backwards soon after building it and realised that it's much easier to control when going backwards. So I reluctantly decided to swap it round. So the hidden camera was now up Snapper's bum. Probably not pleasant, but it's his own fault for being hard to steer. No idea how forklifts make it look so easy.

Even still, everyone had a great time and I dashed into November with plenty of plans for 2021!

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