The Telebot

On March 12, 2005 I successfully performed a trial-run of the Telebot. With a video feed of one frame every three seconds, the bot made its first tenuous exploration. The terrain: the upstairs of the house. To mark this momentous occasion, I've taken some low-quality pictures of the Telebot with my backup-webcam and posted them here.

A picture of the telebot on the floor. You can make out its flash-drive in the lower left corner:

Another somewhat blurry image:

The Telebot on top of the freezer

The Telebot atop its usual perch. This is where it sits while I work on it. Note that it's resting on two novels, so that if the wheels engage it won't won't make a suicidal leap onto the floor.


The Telebot was built out of an RC Jeep from Radio Shack. The body of the jeep was removed, and I installed a home-made plastic body to house the motherboard.

The board is a VIA-Eden 533 mhz fanless. It has 64 megs of RAM, and a 1-gig flashdrive. The power supply is a 60 watt DC-DC converter, also fanless. The power comes from a 12-volt cordless drill battery, which gave about 20 minutes of power before dying. (Needs to be upgraded!)

The camera is a VR Viewcam, with a maximum of 320x240 resolution. There's a Linksys USB Wireless-B adapter on top of the body, whose maximum range has yet to be tested. Seems to work anywhere in the house though.

The Telebot runs Debian Sarge with a 2.6 kernel. The software to control the bot and display the video feed was implemented using the Allegro graphics library. At this time it consists of two programs with a combined length of 9093 lines, and written entirely in C++.

To Do:

Use compression to increase the frame-rate to several frames per second.

Look into ways to increase the range of the wireless connection.

Get a stronger battery to increase the run-time of the bot. Right now we get 20 minutes of use after nine hours of charging.

Get a real camera so that I can take nice, sharp pictures of the Telebot the next time I accomplish something of interest with it.

And, in the distant future, I hope to begin development of an outdoor model of the Telebot.