I just finished putting together my first Arduino robot: PiBot . The PiBot is a fun kit for learning about Arduino robotics. Using the kit, student inventors and tinkerers learn the mechanical aspects of building a basic robot and learn how to program it using C. From a brief review, my kids and I have had a lot fun putting it together.
At this point in learning electronics, I have done many simple experiments with Arduino using tutorials from Arduino.cc . While building circuits with blinking lights was cool, I wanted to start playing with sensors and motors. The PiBot Kickstarter project was exactly what I was looking for! Since everything is Arduino Uno compatible, all of my lessons from the Arduino world immediately applied to my new robot. Having lots of pictures and brief instructions, I found the print documentation for the PiBot pretty clear. The team at STEM Center USA is improving their teaching materials related to PiBot with videos. Their PiBot kit comes with line tracking sensors, distance tracking sensors, and extra LED’s .
My kids and I enjoyed building the gear box together. This activity helped my kids feel a connection to making the robot. I found that you need to be careful about getting the “spacers” positioned correctly. In our excitement, we were probably rushing through the construction of the gear box. I did have to re-build the gearbox several times. The process of making corrections to the gear box involves taking apart a good part of the robot. This process of re-work was fruitful though. It gave me an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and gain a deeper understanding of the construction of the bot.
I found the experience of putting together the bot engaging and fun. I’m still trying to solve an issue of the robot drifting to the right a bit. I am, however, very pleased with the quality of the kit. If you’re looking for a fun and well-documented robotics kit for your students or family, I believe the PiBot is a very solid option. I think the team at STEM Center USA should be very proud of their STEM education outreach and product. They have been VERY professional in their communication and construction of this robotics kit.
It should be noted that SparkFun has a similar robotics kit at a $75.00 price point. While this kit is also Arduino compatible, it does not include the sonic distance sensor. In a future post, I might try to review this kit.
So… what’s next? I would love to mount an Android cell phone on the robot. It would be cool to have a Google Hangout hosted on the robot. I would like to get “upgrade boards” so that I can control the robot by remote control. (i.e. bluetooth, http, wifi) . It would be fun to remotely drive the robot from a completely different room or city.
Do you have any favorite Arduino projects or kits? Share a link below!
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