DJ’s test platform (k8)

DJ Sures


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This is my robot I rebuilt to use as a test platform for ARC. When developing skills and ARC features, this is one of the robots I use for testing with.

HardwareDevastator Tank ChassisDF Robot wheel encoder DC motors

  • Dimension Engineering Sabertooth 2x12 w/ Kangaroo x2 (configured for independent speed control with encoders)
  • 7.4v Lipo powers sabertooth/kangaroo/dc motors
  • Rock Pi/x SBC with Windows 10 and ARC Early Access
  • 5v 20 amp lipo battery pack powers Rock Pi/x via USB-C
  • 5v audio amplifier and 1.5" speaker connected to line-out of Rock Pi/x
  • Arduino Pro Micro (USB connected to Rock Pi/x, UART connected to Kangaroo) mounted on a breadboard for rapid prototyping
  • Intel Realsense Depth Camera D435i (sends laser scan depth data to NMS for navigation)
  • Intel Realsense Tracking Camera T265 (sends telemetry pose data to NMS for navigation)
  • 110-degree FOV USB camera for object/color/face tracking and Exosphere usage


History There's a bit of history behind this robot. It was originally owned by a customer who had passed away in the New Year of 2021. I was given a few of his robot parts, including this robot that he named K8. The original robot had a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino, a homemade l298n motor controller without speed control, and ultrasonic distance sensors. I wanted this robot to perform functions that the original owner aspired to achieve, so I replaced all of the components. To achieve autonomous navigation, the Intel Realsense suite of Depth and Tracking cameras were added. To improve processing capability, the Raspberry Pi was replaced with a more powerful Rock Pi/X SBC. Even though the Intel Realsense cameras can provide a video feed, a USB camera was also added for additional testing.

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Very inspirational robot platform, I have the Vex Kit that looks similar, This will inspire me to start building it.:)


It was a fun show. Thanks for doing the live hack!


This looks like it has everything in it including the kitchen sink.

Thanks for the list of parts and software.

It's good to see you back to building and improving little robots and toys. Your sense of wonder and fun is what inspired me to try your robot platforms. Thanks!


Thanks, Dave, this is a great platform to work with. It took some time to figure out how to make it drive straight because their gearboxes are kind of cheap. But the sabertooth combined with kangaroo does help a great deal. I use this robot for testing and it works wonderfully!


Ha ha , Hey DJ I was looking at some guys built a robot like this one and it did very little,nothing impressive so when I ask them how long it took to program it,they mention days or weeks, I say with Synthiam ARC I could do more than what they (Coding for Arduino) did in 1 hour,LOL! Then they always get really mad at me and I just laugh at them back for wasting so many hours,just happened again!


I’m not sure why people prioritize ego over function. Guess that’s why robots are still a hobby vs industry


Ya so true and all I am trying to do is help a few people be more productive by giving info on how they can work far more easy and quicker for the Goal they are trying to accomplish the hard way. Sad.

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People don't like to be told they're wrong by someone that they have never met or don't respect.


I don’t think that trying to build something yourself is wrong. It’s just not efficient. I wanted to build something myself, but I also wanted to share my achievements with others. The robot industry is in its infancy and there will always be people wanting to build something from scratch, even if it’s less performing than what’s available using ARC. Just like there will always be people building garage cars from scratch when someone else could buy a car that wins every time. You may not win, but you can say you built it.

so the question comes down to why you’re building something. Are you building it for personal satisfaction to say you did, even if it’s less performing.... or are you building something to achieve a desired outcome that helps others.

I started this to help people achieve large goals with low effort. So that one day there will be robots everywhere doing useful things.


Would like to see this in action


What no robot arm:)

Nice Build!


I’d love an arm. The trouble is arms are all using servos. And I haven’t seen a good servo design that makes sense yet. Even if I programmed an arm to pick up something, it wouldn’t be practical to scale to pick up anything useful in a different application.

The industry needs stronger pnp actuators


@DJ, Certainly  you could find a decent arm to built using Servocity Parts:) I used Actobotics part for the arm and Vex for the gripper on Hemi. Been Happy how they came out. Check them out, might be a good start.

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