What sort of things do you want to do with your robot?
What sort of programming do you : what languages, what type of
How much mechanical work are you willing to do?
Finally, how much are you willing to spend?
Depending on how you answer those questions, there may or may not be
path that can be recommended.
RIS 1.5 and 2.0 can be found for between $150 to $200 on eBay if you are
patient and ready to pounce on a good auction. I have bought and sold 2 sets
2 different times on eBay. It's been my experience that a lot of neat "toys"
& kits can be found on eBay just before and right after Christmas.
Also, you might want to check out the BoeBot at Parallax. From time to time,
Parallax itself also sells refurbished kits at a discount on eBay. My
dealings with them have always been top notch.
Other places to begin looking are:
The list goes on and on ... Gordon McComb's book Robot Builder's Sourcebook
is also a great place to begin looking and is just fun to flip through!
Which reminds me, sometimes you can find a robot kit at Borders or
Barnes&Noble for about $99.00 .
Hope that helps to get you started !
Your other reply mentioned Java. Well, I haven't used it myself, but
here is a Java bot that is about as cheep as you can get:
The description of the robot on the site is vague to say the least.
Contact them and ask some questions before you buy. If this is a
complete kit including motors, microcontroller, edge detectors (for
line following) and instructions on how to load your Java code, it
could be just what you are looking for.
If that comes up short, take a look at NanoVM:
It is a java virtual machine that runs on the Mega 8 AVR
I designed a beginner's robot that uses the Mega 8 for some articles I
am writing. The parts for my design cost about $50 US for the basic
bot which uses CDS light detectors. It could do simple line
following. There are only 10 solder joints that you have to make to
build the bot. Everything else just plugs into a breadboard. It
should take less than 8 hours to build using only a wire cutter and a
It will probably be a few months before the articles get accepted and
published, but I can let you beta test the assembly instructions if you
would like. One word of caution: I programed the bot using BASCOM, a
version of BASIC. I don't know Java. So I wouldn't be able to help
you with programming questions if you decide to build my bot and
program it in Java.
If you are interested, leave a note in the guest book at my website so
I have your e-mail address.
Perhaps you should have listed this requirement in advance.
If you want both cheap and Java you don't have too many
I would suggest the uVM chip from http://www.muvium.com /
This is a PIC that can be programmed in Java. Connect it
with a simple robotic base from Budget Robotics
and you have a robot.
The problem is that you also need a few fairly simple
electronic components. That is, simple if you know
Personally I'd suggest the RIS. Check on Ebay for the
next few days.
D. Jay Newman
Get a BoeBot from Parallax on eBay sometime, then get their
Javelin chip to replace the BasicStamp. ParallaxInc sells their
refurbished stuff on eBay at some pretty good prices from
time to time! I think the userid is pbasic or something like that.
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