I started teaching young adults and children programming a few years back. I discovered that a typical "programming" class become more involved and fun when teaching people with things they can physically interact with. (For example, using blinking lights to teach loops.) So I created the SumoShield. This is the only robotic shield (that I know of) that will work on both Arduino and Netduino.
The SumoShield will make robotics and programming more fun for the younger learners and it's still fun for me to play with. I have created a small scale run to test out all the kinks. I went thru about 3 sets of prototypes so far to make sure everything is right for expansion positions. I am requesting additional funding for the first batch of these shields to be made.
Yes. the video you see above and the pictures you see are of the actual functional prototypes. All shields are made by my custom design at a local PCB shop in Illinois. So the PCBs are/and will be made in the USA. The design will also be publicly available once the project is finished.
What I created so far:
So far, I have created the 2 piece double stack SumoShield and Battery Shield. Both can be used independently. SumoShield uses a tamiya twin gear motors to power the rover shield. A ball caster is attached at the end making the rover roll along almost any surface -- Yes I have tested it on carpets as well). The shield has a H-Bridge setup that uses PWM signals for motor control. I am using PWM 9 and 10 (both usable on arduino and netduino) and pins 11 and 12 for directional control. The Shield also has built in pins for a ping)) sensor as well as Sparkfun Bluetooth Mate Silver. Pin 2 is used for Ping sensor and Pin 0/1 is used for bluetooth. A small breadboard can also be placed in the center of the Shield to create and test additional circuits.
Why bluetooth? I wrote a software to control the SumoShield rover using Android phone. On Windows Phone, I am currently using wifi module to control it. Both software will be released once the project is funded. I am trying to polish the software so that SumoShield rovers can be used as desk pets. :)
What about the battery shield? I understand that to make the SumoShield mobile, it has to be self powered. So I created a simple battery shield. It uses AAA batteries and pumps out 6V. Rechargeable and lithium batteries can also be used. The unique thing about the battery shield is that it starts off as a round piece and sides can be snapped off to make it same shape as a typical arduino/netduino micro controller.
What about the future:
In the very close future, I will be making lithium power shield (both charger and power in one unit) as well as a IR shield with 6 IR distance sensor for the SumoShield rover. 3 IR distance sensors at the front and three at the back will make the Sumo rover more aware of its surroundings.
It is my goal to make reasonably cheap teaching aids for robotics for introductory classes.
What about software:
I will include assembly instructions as well as code samples for the shield to work with both Arduino and Netduino using the SumoShield and Ping)) sensor.
Once the project kicks off, I will also release the bluetooth / LAN / Wifi control for Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms.
Once the project is approved, I will start ordering motors/gearboxes and all the necessary parts from a few sources that I have already have prior business relationships with. I will also give a go ahead to the people who created the prototype shields. They'll take about 2-3 weeks to get a bigger order done. Once it is all done, I'll start packaging items and ship them out. If everything goes right, We should see the items towards end of November. Worst case, we'll have them in everyone's hand just before Christmas time.
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.