As you can see from Simplexity’s Halloween Mechatronics Contest, the Covie Covid Disinfecting Robot now leads a double life. Normally, it wakes up early in the morning to disinfect all the surfaces in the Simplexity Bay Area office, then calmly goes to sleep before the first employee arrives. But all of that changed one day when The BATs affixed a very suspicious Amulet to Covie as part of a Halloween decorating; the provenance of said Amulet seems to be Shakey (at best)
What Covie would have looked like with a schedule and budget
Apparently, said Amulet was not part of the original design, and so, Covie seems to have a nasty malfunction…. (You better watch the video before the Amulet comes for you too!).
So, how does little Covie do his Magic? Well, besides the tricks of Movieland, he actually did zoom around the office, moving close to those surfaces needing disinfection. His head does in fact spin around, showing his Other Side. And he does raise his arm to attack a poor, unsuspecting Simplexity employee working quietly in a socially-distanced office.
Covie on his side, with Michael Herron controlling via RF
A better view of the base tracks and remote control provided by Dave Hough
The Tank Tracks were driven by a Raspberry Pi and a Motor and I/O “HAT” (Hardware Attached on Top). Dave Hough wrote the code so that various button presses caused forward, backward, and some other functions to occur.
Head almost fully rotated to “Evil Covie”
Here’s a movie segment where Covie’s head rotates into position:
Now watch out! Here we have Covie’s arm ready for the attack; the arm was an aluminum piece rotated by a servo controlled by an Arduino (Mike Cheponis). Dave H’s RPi via the remote control told the arm to go up or down.
Miki, Will, Gabriel, Mike H and our beloved Covie getting ready for the next shot.
The Actors Behind Covie the Disinfecting Robot
As for acting credits and storyline, Miki, Will, and Michael take major credit. Miki’s “Amulet Lady” continues to be a big hit, and the Darth Vaderish “Bwahaha” has just the right tenor.
Also, maybe unnoticed, but Miki was the Cinematographer! Using a trusty iPhone with a tripod (visible above), she set up and captured all the video.
Will graciously allowed his family to be part of our production; and Will was, truly, the spark plug pulling the project forward. And he also sprung for some decent amount of decorations!
But it was Will’s acting that had us all laughing out loud. Will, after accepting the Amulet from ‘some lady’ mentions “Sounds legit!” — and we wonder if he were really convinced…
And of course, the (late, great) Michael Herron was willing to be stabbed by the Evil Covie ‘bot, with great amounts of (fake) blood and artifacts strewn around his work desk. Miki took a lot of video of Michael typing furiously away, back to Covie, for the ‘establishing’ shots. Michael reports that he did more typing during the filming that he’d done in a week at work! (He might be kidding…. I think…)
Covie, blood-spattered face, after doing the Evil Deed (but back to his normal Sprayer on his arm)
All in all, Covie’s mechanical wonderment was team imagination, work, and dedication to making a fun Halloween video for you to enjoy!
Aside from the fun, Covie sure KILLED the competition this year and The BATs took home the winning prize!
Bwahaha, says Covie…
Check out the runner-up winners in our Halloween Mechatronics Contest
 NOTE: This is a Reference to the famous SHAKEY robot of SRI that pretty much ‘started’ mobile robotics:
Shakey, a mobile robot, was developed (1966–72) at the Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California (just a stone’s throw from the Simplexity Bay Area Sunnyvale Office). The robot is equipped with a television camera, a range finder, and collision sensors that enable a minicomputer to control its actions remotely. Shakey can perform a few basic actions, such as go forward, turn, and push, albeit at a very slow pace. Contrasting colors, particularly the dark baseboard on each wall, help the robot to distinguish separate surfaces.