Do you “hate that your robot runs into everything?” This is a problem that creators have been trying to solve from, likely, the beginning of robotics, but this particular technique presents an interesting option. It uses an array of eight ultrasonic sensors arranged in an arc to survey an area in front of the setup.
This device — which was, in fact, constructed with the help of a coffee container to properly arrange the sensors — features a custom two-sided PCB, and a 595 shift register for each sensor. LEDs are added for visual feedback pertaining to the sensors’ inner and outer ranges.
The write-up notes that each sensor must be triggered in sequence, not all at once in order to avoid echo interactions. In order to simplify the project’s design, sensor input is fed into an Arduino Pro Mini, which acts as a sort of combined sensor module. Data from this combo-sensor is then fed to a second Arduino, which is used to control the overall robotics project.
Code, along with PCB design files, are available on the project’s write-up. It’s not so much a plug-and-play how-to, but more of a method that you can take and use for your own purposes.