Imp spider!

So after doing a couple tests from the devwiki, we decided to take our imp for a ride...

Behold the imp spider!

That's a HexBug Spider with an Imp riding on top, taking steering from a web page.


Team ProtoTank

Too cool!  My son wants one!


This is pretty awesome! It looks like you’re using a LiPo battery to power the imp?

Hey! Yes we’re running the April off of a 3.7v LiPo from Sparkfun. 

Also, just uploaded a new video with some pizzazz:

Wow!  Fun demo!  I somehow missed this thread while on holidays!

Hi Prototank! I’m running a robotics/hacking class at a girls club and I’m working through the Imp exercises. This would be great to work on in class. Do you have any wiring tips? Code? Thanks!

I bought a HexBug when I bought my first Electric Imp last November, intending to do what ProtoTank did, and am finally getting around to it. I’m going to write up the details in case anyone else wants to try it. Also, I am going to attempt to create an iOS control interface that hopefully works fairly smoothly and perhaps put it into IoT Buddy.

My plan is to install one of the imp002’s on the Amber boards I have on order, and get a reasonably sized LiPo and run that through a Sparkfun LiPo charging board. The Amber and imp002 will allow me to add some additional sensors after I get movement control sorted out.

Here is what I have so far for the spider:

  1. Take the top cap of the of spider, (1 screw), and then the round cap. (3 screws).
  2. Snip, or desolder the wires going to the coin cells.
  3. Carefully remove the circuit board.
  4. There are two chips on either side of the board. We need to keep the motor driver chip and remove the other chip.
  1. Remove the chip on the side of the board with the switch. You can use ChipQuick or something similar if you have it. I used my soldering iron with a very fine tip. I carefully put the tip of the iron under the side of each pin and bent it up and away from the board.
  2. Now make connections to pins 2,6,9, and 13.
  • Here is how I did it: Cut two 3 pin strips of 0.1" male header, and remove the center pin from each. Put a little bit of solder on the end of each header pin and then solder one piece of header to pins 2 and 6, and the other to pins 9 and 13. The 0.1" header lines up nicely with these pins. Solder carefully and you can make nice connections. As I am looking at it right now, using sets of right angle header from Adafruit might work nicely as well, and leave all of the wires going in one direction. Alternatively, just solder very small gauge wire to each pin.

The motor driver chip works as follows: We have wired to two enable pins, and two input pins. The input pins determine the direction of the motor rotation, depending on whether they are set HIGH or LOW. The enable pins make the motor turn. 3.3v from the Imp seems to power the board and the spider nicely. You’ll need 4 pins on the Electric Imp configured to (DIGITAL_OUT) to control the enable and input pins. I have mine wired to a boardboard and am successfully controlling it using the Control Panel on my Pitchfork iOS application, but a proper directional control interface would make it quite nice, so I am going to start working on one, and attempt to make a smooth HTTP control interface with a D-Pad style control.

Hi jwehr,

I cheated a little bit … i imped the remote control instead of the Hexbug :slight_smile:

In this video I used the accelerometer on a Nora v2 board (inside the project box) to control my spider. Since then I have replaced it with the accelerometer on my iPhone using a simple webapp.

Thanks heaps for sharing your details!!


Nice! I’ve been wanting to put an imp and an accelerometer on a glove and be able to control things by just rotating your hand. Still working on this guy. I cut out the battery holder out and tucked the motor controller back inside. Now I have a 2200mAh LiPo, the sparkfun charging circuit and an April mounted on the top, so it is now wire free. Time to see if it still works. :slight_smile:

Well, that LiPo is a wee bit heavy, but it works. Its also a little off balance. Time to tweak.

My HexBug has a funny hat. I was able to get everything working well, including an iOS control interface. For now, left and right turn controls are just flipping the rotational motor on for 0.25 sec in either direction. I am going to include this interface in the next update of IoT Buddy for 'bot control. Also going to try to hide the boards and battery a little better after I get a smaller LiPo.

Started playing around with Sugru last night, after tucking my imp-tronics in a little more nicely.

I hacked up the SnackBot HTML code and made HexBug control.

More Hexbug Spider fun. C3V0 just fits inside the top if you round off the back corners at tiny bit, and then you have an easily rechargeable bot!

Hey Aron, I’d love to see the code you used to control your motor through the accelerometer! I am working on a similar project to control two motors to replicate the movement by using an accelerometer

@sarahheimeier If you want to use the accelerometer on an iPhone, just download the Pitchfork app. You can turn on the accelerometer in the Control Panel and it will send the movements to the URL you specify.