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Truckbot: The Android-controlled robot

Not content with being carried around in the pockets of their human hosts, Android phones have now demanded that we make them chariots so that they can get around without our help. Tim Heath and Ryan Hickman from have been busy working on the Truckbot, a wheeled chassis powered by a 9V battery and controlled by a T-Mobile G1.

Turning the concept of using a phone as a remote control on its head, the G1 here is used as Truckbot’s brain. Using the GPS sensor, Truckbot ‘knows’ where it is. In the video above we see Ryan controlling Truckbot from his laptop via Wi-Fi using simple commands (turn right, stop, etc).

The total cost of Truckbot’s components totals $30 (about £20). It is based on the slightly more expensive SERB kit ($175/£115) from Oomlout which features an ‘Arduino Brain’, a programmable open source brain. The ingredients list below was originally published on

  • $16 Bare bones Arduino
  • $3 Micro servo
  • $0.25 Hex inverter (handled 3.3v to 5v conversion)
  • $4 HTC USB breakout board
  • $3 Mini breadboard
  • $4 miscellaneous cardboard, strap ties, wires, rear wheel

For more information and tips on how to build your own Truckbot, head over to the Cellbots blog. In order to turn your Android phone into a wheeled automaton you’ll need some experience with modding as it requires you to have CyanogenMod installed. Currently Cyanogen is only available for the G1, HTC Magic and Nexus One.


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