Beach crawling Horseshoe crab

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Idea: make a robot which uses one or more metal search-coils to look for metallic objects in beach sand. Make it look like something that has crawled out of the water! The idea was sparked from a project seen on the web where a person made a metal detector with five tiny coils that would light an LED above the coil when it detected a metal object in its field. The coils were arranged in a horseshoe shape on the end of a mop handle.

In the spirit of using multiple coils; an idea of arranging the coils in an overlapping pattern and placing them on an autonomous robot frame came about. The purpose was to free up the user and effectively cover large areas of terrain by following preset patterns while searching for metal objects. When it detects something, a marker (clay poker chip) would be dispensed and the user could then follow the machine and pinpoint the object more effectively than covering the same area on foot.


The frame is made from a golf caddy with one drive motor per front wheel for propulsion and a third free-rotating trailing rear wheel. This creates a tricycle configuration with the coil setup across the front two wheels and the back wheel protruding like the tail of a horseshoe crab. Hence the name.

It will be controlled using a simple arduino setup and a motor shield to drive the front wheels. The poker chips will also be dispensed based on when an object is detected by the coils and arduino driven as well. The board will also have control over object detection to stop the device if someone walks in its path.

Other potential options can include WiFi or Bluetooth control with a tablet, solar panels for power, a fanciful light weight carapace to match the crab motif, and even flashing lights to warn pedestrians of it's approach.

At present, the frame and most of the project parts are ready to go together and the required programming is the next big hurdle. If you have arduino program skills and would like to participate in this project please find me at the space and we can make this happen.