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GaryJCarter
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A great platform for Arduino-based Robotics
GaryJCarter   10/16/2013 7:44:04 PM
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Having "discovered" the Arduino platform, I too looked around for a good starting point to immerse my 12-year old daughter into the world of electronics and robotics. Having grown up building many Heathkit projects I yearned to find a similar product. I found this in Parallax Inc.

Parallax has a number of successful products on the market. They sell what is referred to as a Robitcs Shield Kit for Arduino:

http://www.parallax.com/product/130-35000

This product was built upon their successful Boe-Bot concept; a robot chassis based upon the BASIC Stamp microcontroller that has been very popular in educational settings and with hobbyists. Parallax Inc. provides a complete set of documentation available as a free, online set of tutorials at:

http://learn.parallax.com/ShieldRobot

These lessons are reminiscent of the Heathkit style of teaching the theory while having fun building a kit.

Parallax built the Shield-Bot using their "Board of Education" concept which essentially provides a prototyping platform for the Arduino on top of the Robot chassis allowing an infinite number of sensors and communications devices to be integrated into the mobile platform. The tutorials leverage this BOE platform extensively to constructively "build-up" one's knowledge as each new electronic device is introduced and incorporated into the robot.

In addition to the basic Shield-Bot kit there are options including a gripper, wheel encoders, line followers, tank-track, sonar and infrared sensor options to extend the capabilities of the robot. It is a rich set of features and functions packed into a small yet capable product.

I highly recommend this kit to those looking for an inexpensive start into Arduino based robotics ($159 including an Arduino, $129 if you already own the Arduino).

Regards,

Gary C. in Texas

Max The Magnificent
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Blogger
Re: The Turtle looks good
Max The Magnificent   10/14/2013 4:47:56 PM
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@Willb6: I am eagerly looking forward to that post!

Me too LOL. The three motors are on back-order for a week or so, but when I ordered the AdaFruid motor controller I also ordered three really cheap small DC motors to play with (~1.50 each).

I tell you, I could get so much done in the day if I didn;t have to work :-)

willb6
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Re: The Turtle looks good
willb6   10/14/2013 4:41:02 PM
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I am eagerly looking forward to that post! -- Will

Max The Magnificent
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Re: The Turtle looks good
Max The Magnificent   10/14/2013 10:15:26 AM
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@willb6: I like the look of the two-wheeled Turtle from DFRobot, along with their 2A dual motor controller.

Thanks for the feedback, but I've sort of gone a different way -- I found an interesting base with three wheels (those strange wheels that have sub wheels on the main wheels) -- then I found a motor controller from AdaFruit that control four motors -- I'll be writing all of this up in a future blog.

Garcia-Lasheras
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Re: diy
Garcia-Lasheras   10/12/2013 9:49:55 AM
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@Max: If you are ready to build your own robot from the ground up, let me offer my own approach.

I'm a LEGO fan since I was little child, and when I need to prototype something similar to a robot, I use to attach some bricks to the MCU boards until I get a nice Frankenstein-like thingy.

The last time I used LEGO plus electronics, I was trying to build a helicopter form factor drone: I bought a simple and big RC helicopter, a wifi enabled webcam and some LEGO Technics boxes to update my collection -- of course, the helicopter was destroyed in the first test flight ;-)

NOTE: In addition to LEGO Technics, now there are available kits for robotics such Mindstorm and NXT.

willb6
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Rookie
The Turtle looks good
willb6   10/12/2013 1:10:40 AM
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I like the look of the two-wheeled Turtle from DFRobot, along with their 2A dual motor controller.

The MAKE Rovera, which got one negative review, is actually a bigger, more expensive kit that appears to include the Turtle along with some other stuff, so I wouldn't let that one negative review cloud the DFRobot offering.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: diy
Max The Magnificent   10/10/2013 5:17:01 PM
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@rcurl: If you're willing to build it from the ground up...

That's pretty much what I've decided to do -- these are GREAT links -- thanks for sharing -- Max

Max The Magnificent
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Re: diy
Max The Magnificent   10/10/2013 5:10:46 PM
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@elizabethsimon: ...I like the flat plate with holes to mount things to...

Who wouldn't? LOL

I'm thinking of using something similar -- thank sfor sharing th eDigilnet link -- I hadn't thought of them

elizabethsimon
User Rank
CEO
Re: diy
elizabethsimon   10/10/2013 5:06:48 PM
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Digilent has some interesting parts...

http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Catalog.cfm?NavPath=2,403&Cat=11

I like the flat plate with holes to mount things to...

 

Rcurl
User Rank
Rookie
Re: diy
Rcurl   10/10/2013 4:55:18 PM
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If you're willing to build it from the ground up, look here:

http://www.servocity.com/ They've got an excellent collection of motors, brackets, gears, etc.

For kits and mechanical parts I've had good luck with these folks:

http://www.lynxmotion.com/

http://www.pololu.com/

...and of course there are the old standbys:

https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/31

http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/robot/robotstore.html

http://parallax.com/catalog/robotics

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