The military has been using robots for bomb disposals for many years now. Most of them are remote controlled.
However, lately there has been development of more specialised and autonomous EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) robots that do risky operations that human beings don’t need to risk their lives for. I always wanted to design a robot that did something that is too risky for humans – and thus potentially save lives.
So early this month when we had Guy Fawkes night, I decided to use a robot based on my MINDSTORMS NXT to light our fireworks. There has been a lot of concern lately about fireworks maiming and injuring the person igniting it and a few cases of fatalities. So I thought it would be a good idea.
This autonomous NXT robot will light multiple fireworks in a sequence - while the family sits back and watch the display! The robot is incredibly simple - It uses a MINDSTORMS NXT, two light sensors (one for navigation and other to detect a lighted fuse) and an Ultrasonic detector (to detect the top of the fireworks (and hence the height of the fireworks fuse wire) so it can adjust the torch arm height depending on the position of the fuse. It uses three motors - two for motion and the third for the torch arm elevator. For the wheel base we used a simple motor driven wheels + casters based on JennToo designed by fellow NXT Step contributor, Brian Davis, but with a few modifications.
Warning: Working with fireworks is dangerous. Please exercise extreme caution.