Robot kits and controls

 Searching for robot products:

While I was searching the internet for a few robot kits I also looked at the Mindstorm  kits from Lego and stumbled across this interesting website: Mindstorm Solutions - They help companies of all kinds, shapes and sizes to creat an effective online presence.  One such 'company' being 'Pretoria Prepatory School'

Ayway! Back to the orignal topic:  There are so many products available when you want to start building any
kind of robot.  Yesterday I posted about the ARM CPU's - this is a very powerfull CPU and is something to consider.  Another popular choice is the Arduino range of products.  Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform.

Point of sale:

Arduino products are readily available in South Africa and can be purchased from Mantech in Johannesburg, Micro Robotics in Centurion and Bot Shop (delivery or pickup). RobotGrrl - a young robot builder and app developer I "met" through Twitter uses Arduino in her robots.  Click here to check out her website and learn more about building your own robot.

These above mentioned stockists also have various kits available.  Just use the sites' search facilities, but make sure to define your search properly - it may take a few tries.  Searching for 'robot' on ManTech, Micro Robotics, Bot shop and Communica (Located in Midrand), brings up a whole range of different products from 'unpopulated PCB for reflector/transducer' to 'Robot Voice Kit' to 'Robot Claw' or 'Robot Arm'.  All of these are great tools to start playing and experimenting with.

Lego and Mindstorms:
This is the reason for the distraction in the opening paragraph!  This  Lego developed kit is being used in robotics competitions all over the world and is available from Lego stores across South Africa.  The best price I have seen for a full 'Lego 8547 MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0' kit is R2800-00 but they normally range more toward about R4800-00 and well wort it! I am DEFINITELY buying myself one to play with soon!  See KiddiWinks for more information.

It contains: 
  • the NXT Lego brick - a 32-bit microprocessor with a matrix display, 4 input and 3 output ports with bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Three servo motors and four sensors (Ultrasonic sensor, 2 touch sensors and a colour sensor)
  • The colour sensor distinguishes colour and light settings and also doubles as a lamp
  • Programming software (Apple and PC) which includes instructions and some challenges
  • 612 different pieces
 There is such a wealth of possibilities, hence my repeated quote of "So many gadgets, so little time".  Happy playing/programming/learning!

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