Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on October 7, 2012.
About this project
For the Love of
One of the best ways to get into robotics is to jump right in head first. There is a ton of great hardware and components available today, but that is also the problem. Newcomers to robotics are often challenged with decisions of what hardware to use, where to get them, and often discouraged by the cost to get started. We recommend starting out with the ©Arduino microcontroller. From there, most newcomers start with the “Blink” example program and quickly learn they require more hardware. Various parts are starting to become available from specialized local stores; there are also several popular online retailers. A lot of these parts can be purchased from outside of the US, but in most cases it can take up to a month or even longer to receive. Simply put, this task can seem overwhelming for some and out of price ranges for beginners. To solve this problem we thought of a single device that provides the common robotic hardware used by new robot builders to get them started. This turned out to be a great tool that promotes robotics learning in a simple and easy to use format that could easily be shared with others. We see this device being used in the home, classrooms, at afterschool workshops, during club meetings, used for building online tutorials, and anywhere people are interested in learning about robotics and other electronic projects. In addition, the device provided a means of keeping track of bits and pieces in a single portable location.
Our goal for this project is to design and build a low cost Robotics Learning Laboratory that is made up of common robotics parts and hardware, roll them all up in an easy to use package for people to experiment, learn, and share with others.
We have had this version in use by students, robotics club members, and first time robot builders for almost a year now and we have learned a lot and made several changes based on their feedback. For example, the placement of the ©Arduino itself was of great debate. We considered the far left side to easily manage cables for USB or power supply connections. Unfortunately, this allowed for the need of longer jumper wires to be able to reach all of the sensors or components. If we placed the ©Arduino in the center of the Robotics Learning Laboratory then the same cables restricted access to other hardware and components. To resolve this issue, we made the ©Arduino removable from its main location to make it conveniently located for specific users or project needs. Another change we made was more specific to the hardware that we included in the Robotics Learning Laboratory itself. There are a lot of great sketches made available in the Examples section of the Arduino IDE software that require specific hardware. We added specific hardware to support common robots as well as support the majority of these examples sketches. For some, this may seem like an updated version of the old electronic kits some of us had growing up. In some ways they are, but we think these are so much better and we think you will too. From our prototype we also learned one of the best things about those old kits was the use of the springs to hold the jumper wires in place to make the connections. We have decided to continue to use them in this project as it allows the best way to keep the connections as you run down the hall to showoff your latest project to your friends and family.
The final device will look a bit different from than the prototype as it will be a bit more compact in size and be made from two pieces of laser cut plastic. We are also planning on a printed vinyl cover with some graphics to enhance the learning experience and encourage the right and safe connections. Our first run will be designed around using the ©Arduino microcontroller. The hardware provided in the Robotics Learning Laboratory will be complete with the proper resistors already in place for each component to promote years of learning.
1 ©Arduino UNO or ©Arduino Leonardo microcontroller
1 Potentiometer with knob
1 Basic 16x2 Character LCD (HD447880)
2 Large Push Buttons
1 Micro Servo
1 DC Motor
1 IR Receiver
1 Piezo or buzzer
1 Motion Sensor
1 Ping Sensor
1 IR Sensor
1 Photoresistor and a separate LED combo to be used for color detection
1 Jumper wire set
1 small hardware kit that includes an H Bridge, a few LEDS, and resistors
We have been in contact with several parts suppliers to gather availability and pricing of all the components that will be used. We hope to use some of the funds to purchase a medium size laser cutter to build the cases ourselves. The graphics, printing and cutting of the vinyl cover will be awarded to a graphics design company that we have done business with in the past. The assembly of the kits will be completed ourselves. The hardware provided in the Robotics Learning Laboratory will be complete with the proper resistors already in place for each component to promote years of learning.
In a word, awesome. We feel this is the best open-source microcontrollers on the planet. Current versions can be purchased pre-assembled or other methods for those who would like to assemble an ©Arduino themselves. The Robotics Learning Laboratory will also be available in a kit or fully assembled. For those who do not share our love for ©Arduino microcontrollers, don’t worry all of the hardware and components can be used in a similar manor. Please note, this project is in no way endorsed or supported by ©Arduino.
Shipping out of
We have estimated the cost of International shipping for a single unit to be $20.00. Please contact us for the larger quantity awards. Thank you for your support.
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- (29 days)