Cornell ModBots

Say “Hello” to the ModBot!

Created for students by students
Sponsored by Intel; developed by Cornell Systems Engineering

The ModBot is a modular robotic system that unlike many robotic systems, its primary design purpose is to be taken apart. Each one of the ModBot’s subsystems—the power system, the communication system, the GUI system, etc.—can all be easily utilized to support and/or serve as a role model for other embedded systems’ design and hence empower other engineers to better realize their own creations.

Whether you’re looking to create a new medical apparatus, an intelligent transportation device, or an energy systems tool, the ModBot guides can offer you both direct example subsystems and more importantly walkthroughs on creating many of the core subsystems common to many embedded systems; thereby freeing you to focus on what makes your invention unique at solving the challenge you’re are after.

These guides were created for students, by students. And offer a special emphasis on robustness and holistic design; how design choices on one subsystem can affect the performance or challenge of designing another. We will also be asking for your comments on how these guides can be made better for you; what topics are great, what areas could be improved, and what new areas would you like to see added. Technology is always moving forward and we want to help you do the same. Keep an eye out for updates and new guides throughout the year and we’ll greatly look forward to seeing what amazing innovations you develop with these guides yourselves.


Motor Selection Guide
Supporting documents: None
Description: This guide walks you step by step through the process of selecting a motor. It might seem a little long, but can help you with one of the surprisingly most common areas for designers to make mistakes. The guide assumes only a basic knowledge of motors, so even if you don't have a lot of experience with mechanical systems, you can still follow it to choose the best motor for your system.


Power Board and Battery Selection Guide
Supporting documents:
PCB Artist Power Board 3.2 (zip file)
Power Board Parts List (Excel file)
Description: This guide discusses safety circuitry for your system’s power board, for both regulated and unregulated components. It also takes you through the battery selection process. It's a little long, but an ounce of prevention in this area can ensure your system will run smoothly and robustly, and ultimately save you time in the long run.


Motor Controller Guide
Supporting documents: None
Description: This very short guide gives an overview of a motor control system and discusses the important components of the system. It also details various tests you should perform on possible candidates for your motor controller before selecting the final one and offers a perspective on a variety of existing motor controller products.