Recommended Parts

Hi,
I work for a school and am going to try and build a robot for them. It will be a small, cheap line follower robot that pupils (around 12 years old) will
assemble with instructions. Can anyone please recommend parts for this sort of idea? At the moment i'm in the design stage. The school does have access to soldering irons and a number of components.
Thanks Michael
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Himszy wrote:

While your school does have soldering irons, will they let 12-year olds use them?
A couple of different systems spring to mind:
1. Lego Mindstorms. This is about as easy as you're gonig to get. 2. Some systems based around RoboBRiX (http://www.robobrix.com /). These are small modules that allow use to create robots. 3. Me, I'd put together a few bases from Budget Robotics and get some preprogrammed PICs Kronos Robotics (http://www.kronosrobotics.com/) makes several very nice controllers (Athena, Dios, etc...) that run a Basic varient. uVM chips run compiled Java. I once put together a simple robot that just used a very few parts: the base, the uVM chip, a resonator and a couple of sensors and batteries. Poof. Instant robot.
Good luck! -- D. Jay Newman http://enerd.ws/robots /
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Hello Michael I'm on pretty much the same track as you. I'm also working towards developing a few robots for my school with the idea being that students can use the robots to explore rudimentary programming (via a set of directions entered into a keypad) as well as investigations in mathematics.
This, I hope, will lead onto programming using LOGO,and then C# (joking).
If you haven't got a well tooled up workshop, then I'd go for kits. There are any number of cheap line following robots available, more toys than robots exactly.
If you're able to produce your own robots, well that's different. I am literally in the process of putting together the main circuit board for my robot. It's made of perspex with a couple of stepper motors salvaged from old printers driving a pair of Du-Bro model aircraft wheels. If you have access to a metal lathe that makes machining the extra mechanical bits you need a lot easier.
For the main board you could go with a preassembled board, maybe something with a BASIC STAMP or there are other alternatives. I have designed my own circuit based around 2 UCN5804B stepper motor controller chips, driven by a PIC 16F84A. With the right equipment these boards are easy enough to make at home.
It also has a 7805 voltage regulator for the 5V logic and I/O connectors, including 4 bump switch inputs and a keypad connector.
For the keypad I am using old AT keyboards chopped in half and turned into handheld controllers. They also use a PIC 16F84A chip to scan the keys and send the data back to the robot.
For programming I am using Pic Basic Pro, since I couldn't figure out serial comms in assembly language.
As for the sensors - I need to get hold of some IR leds and photodiodes, but the signal from the photodiodes will be sent through an LM339 quad comparator to yet another PIC. This circuitry is actually on a separate board housing speech synthesis and amplification. The PICs utilise serial communication to share information.
My initial design is a bit processor heavy, because I want it to do a few other things, but a line following robot could be built on one board with a single PIC. Actually I haven't tested the board yet (still needs some resistors on it etc) so I don't know how everything will come together but who knows, it might even work.
Tim Polmear
On Fri, 04 Mar 2005 21:05:08 GMT, "Himszy"

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Just wanted to mention, we will shortly be in production on an ARM based micro, which will be _considerably_ more powerful than a stamp, and in our TiniXXX format, with a 16/32 bit processor running at 60MHz, and priced retail at $29.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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