IT & Systems Management

Arduino's first robotics kit is here, and it's a seriously mean open-source machine

A few weeks back, Arduino announced its first-ever robotics kit. We're glad to say you can finally buy your very own open source machination online through the Maker Shed for $275.

The Arduino robotics platform comes fully assembled, and it doesn't require any soldering. In fact, setting up for the first time should be a simple matter of popping in the included color LCD screen, loading up the Arduino IDE, plugging in the USB cable, and loading any one of the included example programs.

The completely open-source robot is the result of a collaboration between Arduino and Complubot, the four-time world champions in the Robocup Junior robot soccer tournament. Physically, the robot measures about 7.5 inches in diameter and is roughly 4 inches tall. It's comprised of two stacked Arduino boards on wheels. Each of the boards comes equipped with a 16MHz processor as well as 32KB of flash memory.

The lower board, called the motor board, controls the movement of the machine; meanwhile, the upper control board reads sensors and basically acts as the brains of the operation.

The open-source robot comes preloaded with a set of sensors, including two potentiometers, five buttons, a digital compass, and five floor sensors (to let it know it it's knocked into something). In terms of hardware, it also comes equipped with a speaker, two motors, an SD card reader, and four rechargeable AA batteries.

Otherwise, the Arduino Robotics Kit is something of a hodgepodge of open-source Arduino boards on wheels with plenty of prototyping space and TinkerKit connectors for expansions. If your little bot requires more flair, MakerBot has also rolled out a new expansion pack for the Arduino kit, which lets you add an IR sensor, an ultrasonic sensor (which sounds like just about the coolest thing ever), and a bunch of LEDs.

You can order you Arduino robot kit right now from the Maker Shed for $275. The expansion kit is sold separately for $100.

[Maker Shed via Make]

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