Technology now makes it relatively easy to build simple robots that can be controlled remotely or can control themselves autonomously using built-in sensors and software.
This engaging how-to guide focuses on how to build and program a small robot that can roam around, sense its environment, and perform a variety of tasks, using either type of control.
Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot is an excellent book for teachers, hobbyists and experimenters who like working with software and hardware. The book’s simple robot moves about on a chassis that has two-wheel or four-wheel drive. And its heart is an Arduino Uno or Arduino Leonardo microcontroller running programs (“sketches”) provided in the book and available at a link for download.
Some basic assembly is required, including gathering parts and circuit boards and doing some soldering and mechanical assembly, following the book’s instructions. The robot can be built on small platforms from DFRobot or platforms of your own creation. And devices can be added, including distance sensors, infrared reflectance sensors, and remote control receivers.
The book is “not an introduction to programming,” however. If you have no experience with programming or programming Arduino microcontrollers, the author recommends two books: Getting Started with Arduino, 2nd Edition, and Arduino Cookbook, 2nd Edition.
Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot has 11 chapters and six appendices. The chapters are:
- Introduction to Robot Building
- Building the Electronics
- Building the Two-Wheeled Mobile Platform
- Building the Four-Wheeled Mobile Platform
- Tutorial: Getting Started with Arduino
- Testing the Robot’s Basic Functions
- Controlling Speed and Direction
- Tutorial: Introduction to Sensors
- Modifying the Robot to React to Edges and Lines
- Autonomous Movement
- Remote Control
The appendices are:
- Appendix A: Enhancing Your Robot
- Appendix B: Using Other Hardware with Your Robot
- Appendix C: Debugging Your Robot
- Appendix D: Power Sources
- Appendix E: Programming Constructs
- Appendix F: Arduino Pin and Timer Usage
Whether you love serious experimentation and invention or just tinkering for fun and mental challenge, Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot opens up many possibilities for individual, family, and classroom activities and learning.
– Si Dunn