Life can be easier, cheaper.

What is ARA?

ARA is an Affordable Robot Assistant which will assist disadvantaged individuals with the everyday struggles they face in the confines of their home. Some of these struggles include navigating their home, communicating with people in different rooms and contacting emergency services.

ARA’s platform consists of a Raspberry Pi 3, HD camera, continuous track, full stainless-steel body and several different motors and sensors for traversing through different environments. ARA has its own Wi-Fi and hosts a server upon startup which we use to control it via a Python script.

In this project, we show that robots can be an affordable and reliable alternative for disadvantaged individuals if built and programmed responsibly. Further research could entail creating a mobile application that would make it easier to use the robot and adding more commands to the Python script.

Why is ARA necessary?

We decided to make ARA because we saw a need in the disadvantaged community. Swipe through the following slides to see what we mean.

12.6% of Americans are disabled.

20 million people ages 18 and older have difficulty walking.

Over 65% of disabled individuals are not employed.

Less than 1% of disadvantaged individuals are paired with service dogs.

Occupational therapy requires a long-term commitment.


We're proud of the way ARA has been designed and developed.


Full stainless steel body equipped with a continuous track for traversing through difficult environments.

Controller/keyboard operated

Easily operated by a keyboard or a PS4 controller connected via Bluetooth to a Python script.


Mounted on the base of ARA and connected to a Python script for navigational purposes.


Arm and claw that are commonly used to grab items in its environment.

How did we do it?

A lot of planning and a lot of work.



We started by doing research on the disadvantaged community to determine if we could come up with a solution that would make sense.



After researching we realized that our solution had to be simple and affordable, so we started to look for inexpensive robot models we could build on.



Once we had a working prototype we began to experiment and implement functionality we didn't see in other solutions available on the market.



After we felt comfortable with our prototype's functionality, we put it out into the field to test.

What did we use?

Raspberry Pi 3

Without our Raspberry Pi 3 we wouldn't have been able to connect to and control the sensors on ARA.


PyCharm was our IDE of choice for developing the Python script that runs ARA.


DS4Windows allowed us to connect/configure our Dualshock PS4 controller while on Windows.


Wireshark was instrumental in determining which packets we needed to send to ARA.

How does it work?

What does ARA look like in action?

Don't judge my attire in this video.

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Below are some questions you may have.

How much does ARA cost?
ARA currently costs $399.99.
Why ARA?
It starts at a cheaper price point than its competitors with no long-term commitment needed. Furthermore, it is easy to use with a simple interface.
How does ARA's communication protocol work?
A Python script is used to send commands from the controller or keyboard to ARA via a TCP connection.
Where can I purchase the platform?
ARA's platform can be purchased here.
Is the code for ARA open to the public?
Yes, yes, yes! The code is available on GitHub here.
What does the future look like for ARA?
I plan on adding more commands and functionality so ARA can be continuously controlled via a PS4 controller and/or keyboard. I'd also like to make it operable via an app and get it tested in real-world situations by loaning it to a disadvantaged individual.