“Teleferra” – The Wireless Laptop Controllable Ferrari

First, look out at this video!

What do you say? Yes, the video should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise to make it more appropriate. But, no! It’s not the line following robot who moves along the black line or radio controller car usually found in the market. It is “radio controller” car but it’s not the usual one. You need no remote to control it. Just push the button of your Laptop’s keyboard and it’ll move!


i don’t really like the game actually, but it’s awesome

Have you ever played “Need for Speed”? How do you move your car? By pressing “w”, “a”, “s”, and “d” if I’m not mistaken, right? It’s exactly the same way to move the “Teleferra”. You can now play the real “NFS”!

By the way, how does it work?

It’s not that complicated, believe me! It’s like the concept used in the mobile phone or television transmission technology, the concept which was firstly developed theoretically by Maxwell and developed tremendously after the invention of radio by Marconi: Electromagnetic waves. The computer and the “Teleferra” communicates through the electromagnetic waves in the radio frequency band to be precised.


this is the secret behind the car

What we need to make one?

  • Microcontroller –> This is a chip which control the “Teleferra”. It works like a “brain” for human. You have to write command by program this device. In this picture, we use ATMega8 produced by Atmel.
  • Radio Frequency Transceiver (a.k.a. Transmitter and Receiver) –> the transmitter acts like a “mouth” so you can shout and order the car to move while the receiver acts like the “ears” so the car can hear your order. So you need 2 of this things.
  • Laptop or PC –> so you can order the “Teleferra” just by pushing the button, just like in NFS. You need to have HyperTerminal or something similar in order to send the character through the serial port.
  • DC Motor –> so the “Teleferra” can move along the road smoothly.
  • The USB to RS-232 Cable –> as a bridge between the laptop and the RF Transmitter.
  • Other small electronics such as resistor, LED, transistor, cable, housing so the microcontroller can work and drive the motor to be rotated.
  • The body of the car which in this case has a form of a ferrari.

When you press the button on your keyboard, the character encoded in ASCII will be sent through serial communication to the Radio Frequency (RF) Transmitter. The RF Transmitter then transmits the information in the range of radio frequency band, propagated through the air. Then, the information is received by the RF Receiver plugged in the car and then moved to the microcontroller. Before, we have programmed the microcontroller to response when it receives some certain character. For example, if it receives the character “w”, then, it has to send the signal to move the left motor as well as the right motor with the same voltage average level, so both motors can rotate together with the same angular velocity, resulting in the moving forward cars.

2012-07-18 21.05.23

this is the more aesthetic version of “Teleferra”

Why we choose to control the “Teleferra” by laptop? Isn’t it easier and cheaper to use remote control just like the usual radio control?

Our target is not simply this humble toy. We want this car to be used in many application such as to explore and monitor  the condition of the dangerous or hazardous area, for example in the broken nuclear reactor which is too dangerous for human. For that purpose, we need control station not only to send the moving command but also to receives valuable information such as the video, picture, pressure or temperature data and we can’t receive those information by using the usual remote control. That’s why we need laptop or PC.

My friends and I now are trying to plug the digital camera as well as other sensor and develop the software to display all the data. So, keep stay tune and wait for our next result.

Because technology is for nothing but humanity!


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