The new Arduino robot looks a bit like a robot vacuum cleaner, but it has a lot more going for it and it certainly doesn't suck - well not unless you add an air pump to it.
Designed as a collaboration between Arduino and Complubot, the new robot can be used as an easy entry to the world of robotics, both hardware and software.
As always, the Arduino Robot is completely open source and comes as an easy to assemble kit involving no soldering, just some plugging in of components. It consists of two circular boards, 19cm in diameter, each with its own Arduino controller. They fit together to create a stack about 10cm tall.
The bottom board has two wheels and motors which allow it to move in any direction.
The top board contains lots of sensors and a central display.
It may have a lot of sensors, including an IR sensor on the lower motor board but my guess is that a lot of expansion work is going to be need to create most robots. The bottom board has four digital I/O lines spare and the top board has 6 plus 8 multiplexed analog inputs. There is also an SD Card slot underneath the display.
The two boards run independently, but communicate via a serial port. For example, the top board can tell the bottom motor board speed and direction and it is responsible for the motor control needed. There is a new library which can be downloaded to help write programs for this fairly sophisticated robot.
// import the robot library
Robot.begin(); // initialize the library
// move forward for one second
// stop moving
// move backwards for one second
// stop moving
If you would like to see the robot in rescue mode, check out the video:
There is only one big problem with the Arduino robot - you can't buy one at the moment. If you really can't wait, until early July when they should start shipping from the Arduino shop and from distributors, then you will have to get to the Maker Faire San Mateo (May 17-19) where they are being demonstrated and sold. We also don't have a price at the moment and will fill in the blank as soon as we know it.