As you can imagine, the Robot Room gets a lot of email from potential robot builders looking for advice, schematics, and answers to basic questions.So, I decided to dedicate some time and put together a great starter guide for inexperienced backyard scientists.
In Robot Building for Beginners, not only will you learn about the basic parts and tools of robotics, but also you'll actually learn how to build a fantastic line-following robot.All the information you need is included:
With this chapter, so begins the heart of the book, with the introduction of Sandwich, the line-following robot.A detailed tour is made of the features, dials, and switches on Sandwich.You, too, can build this cool and capable robot!
Nine-volt batteries are quite popular with smaller, lunchbox-size robots.A comparison of common battery chemistries is made, along with revealing the manufacturer that stuffed their battery with polystyrene foam.The shock! The horror!
A comparator is a really useful chip. Often it is a supplemental component usedto preprocess sensor data for a microcontroller on a robot. In this case, the comparatoris the brain of the line-following robot.
What robot book would be complete without a close look at DC motors This gave mean excuse to obtain and dissect a number of different motors and gearheads. (I waseven able to put most of them back together again.)
Possibly the longest chapter in the book, it lists the many characteristics of motorsand how you might go about selecting the proper motors for your robot. A table providesformulas for converting between different units of rotational force (torque). Learnabout the significance and phases of motor current usage.
From motors, we move on to wheels. The type of wheel makes a bigger difference toa robot than most people think. This chapter describes some of the factors to consider,along with my favorite wheel manufacturer.
The soldering section finishes with the complete schematic of the line-following robot.The choice of point-to-point wiring versus printed-circuit boards is covered, as well as expert tips for successful soldering.
Frame by frame analysis shows how the line-following robot is able to follow both light and dark lines.The limiting factors are revealed, as well as interesting ideas for enhancements.This is one of my favorite chapters.
When researching this guide, we interviewed three experts: Jenny Young, who owns the Brooklyn Robot Foundry makerspace; Marina Umaschi Bers, a professor of human development and computer science at Tufts University and chief scientist at KinderLab Robotics; and Andrew Terranova, a hobby roboticist who writes about robotics kits for Make magazine. During a second round of testing, we also tasked three children ages 9 to 11 with programming four robots and picking their favorite.
Robotics kits are diverse in form and function. Some include a premade robot paired with an open-ended programming platform, while others meticulously walk you through building a humanoid construction (or a car or a spider or whatever the shape is). Some focus on teaching how to program for the Arduino open-source computer platform, while others use dead-simple commands to make the robot move.
Children or adults who are already used to working with more-advanced programming software (or who want to jump directly into that) are likely to find the kits in this guide too basic and restrictive. Although graphical-based programming is friendlier to beginners, it also boxes you into a specific way of doing things.
For each kit, we began by following the included instructions to build one of the suggested models. We timed the building process, and we decided that build times from one and a half to two hours were the most enjoyable for completing a project in a single sitting. (The 18 kits we tested took anywhere from 9 minutes to 3 hours 48 minutes to assemble.) We also made note of the durability of the pieces and examined the thoroughness and clarity of the instructions. Most important, we considered how much fun we had building the kit. Some kits made creative play easy, with suggested further projects and accessories to personalize the robot. Others had flaws such as difficult-to-attach pieces or boring appearances that took away from the overall experience.
Next came the programming stage. We downloaded the required smartphone or tablet app or desktop software to program each robot and then went through the steps to build a basic program. We considered the difficulty level of each coding language and whether it could satisfy builders both young and old. While some apps seamlessly took us from the building stage to the programming stage, others were more difficult to grasp but allowed for more advanced programming.
For our initial round of testing in 2017, we tried seven robotics kits. In 2019, we tested four new kits against our top pick, the Lego Boost set. Our second round of testing included three kids ages 9 to 11. They spent 20 minutes programming, playing with, and breaking four robots that had been assembled in advance. The kids received no assistance from their parents, though they occasionally asked me for help. In 2020, we tested the new Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor set. In 2021, we tested seven additional robotics kits and gathered notes from two children, ages 6 and 9, on our favorite.
The Robotis Ollobot Play 700, a previous budget pick, now costs nearly as much as a Jimu robot kit. Though the Ollobot Play 700 set offers one of the widest ranges of programming options, allowing you to progress through multiple levels of difficulty, we still think the Jimu robots are more fun to build and program.
The Thames & Cosmos Smart Machines Super Sphere came with pieces that were often difficult to snap together, as well as a confusing app. It also produces a less-interesting robot design than our recommended kits.
Robot Building for Beginners, Third Edition provides basic, practical knowledge on getting started in amateur robotics. There is a mix of content: from serious reference tables and descriptions to personal stories and humorous bits.
The characteristics and purposes of each major component (resistor, transistor, wire, and motor) are described, followed by a hands-on experiment to demonstrate. Not only does this help the reader to understand a particular piece, but it also prepares them with processes to learn new parts on their own. An appendix offers an introduction to 3D printing and parts of the robot can, as an alternative, be \"printed\" using a 3D printer.
Although not a book heavy on BEAM content, we still heartily recommend it as an excellent resource to add to your book collection. This raw PCB is for the same circuit that David uses to teach robot essentials, with the final result being a line-following robot using LED illuminators.
Ready to enter theworldof robotics Then this book isforyou!If you don't know much aboutelectronics, high-tech tools, or computer programming, that's okay. Ifyou can work with some basic tools(such as pliers, a screwdriver, and a cutting knife), have a computer and know your way aroundit, and want to make a robot, you're in the right place.Robot BuildingForDummieswalks you through building your very own little metal assistant from a kit, dressing it up, giving it a brain, programming it to do things, andeven making it talk.
In thishands-on guide that'sillustrated with step-by-step instructionsand writtenin plain English, you get an overview of robotics and the tools, technology, and skills youneed to become a robot builder. You'lldiscover
For teens who are interested in STEM, robotics is a fun way for them to learn about multiple aspects of STEM. Not only do they get to experience aspects of engineering and technology, they get to create something tangible. Robotics kits for teens make it easy to get started with building lots of different robots all from the comfort of home.
There are basically two parts to every robot: the code and the mechanics. Coding is what allows robots to be programmed to do particular tasks. While the mechanics of a robot actually perform the tasks, coding is what programs the robot to do all the individual functions in order to perform a task. Think of coding as the brains, and the robot itself as the body. Just like a computer, a robot will only do what it is programmed to do.
Every robotics kit for teens requires the robot to be assembled, including installing sensors and motors. This is a great introduction to engineering as mechanical engineers can work to design the mechanics of robots and robotic equipment.
Every robot also requires programming to allow it to do the tasks it was designed to do. Learning how to code is both beneficial for robotics and for a wide range of future careers, from developers to IT professionals to entrepreneurs.
Dozens of books are available specifically for teaching teens about robotics. Some focus on the coding aspect of robotics, others are solely about the building process. There are even books about using the popular Raspberry Pi for building robots. Books can be a great starting point for learning about robotics before getting into actual building.
In-person classes let teens learn robotics with the help of an expert, these can be mechanical engineering classes or coding classes. There are national organizations that offer robotics classes for kids, many using LEGO bricks for construction. Classes are usually organized by age and experience level so you can choose the class that is best for your student.
Many districts offer after school robotics clubs where students work together to build a robot. Often these clubs are tied to competitions in the area. In these cases, students build robots to run a course as quickly as possible, do particular tasks, or both. Robotics clubs offer a great social outlet in addition to giving teens experience with building and coding robots.
Robotics kits for 13 year olds focus on pieces that are easy to assemble and are often pre-programmed. Those that include coding instructions often use block-based programming languages that are easy for beginners. 59ce067264