Before the opportunity passes, I wanted to provide an update on the $50 robot project and remind students that they could be paid to work on the project this summer.
First, the money part. I am referring to the Stetson SURE grants. One of these grants provides $2000 for eight weeks of work this summer. There is also travel money available for presenting a project. Eligible students must have at least sophomore standing as of the spring 2015 semester and attend Stetson at least through fall 2015. I think the $50 Robot would be an excellent project to base a SURE grant application on. It could either focus on developing the software libraries (for a computer science student, or at least one with programming experience) or the project development and marketing (for someone in entrepreneurship/marketing). The deadline for applying for a SURE grant is March 11, so please contact me immediately if you are interested in pursuing this opportunity to work on the little money-maker over the summer.
Even if you are not in a position to pursue a SURE grant there are other ways to get involved, from assembly to design to programming and testing. Ultimately it will need a better name than the “$50 robot,” so I am looking for ideas on that as well.
At this point the physical layout is pretty well defined, as is the electronics main board. I am fiddling around with sensors and the basic software to go with them. It kind of works but needs a bit more refinement before setting the basic overall design and components.
The main components of the bot include an Arduino to control it, two geared DC motors running from a motor controller, a piezo speaker, and a suite of obstacle avoidance sensors. At present I have an ultrasonic sensor and two bump switches mounted. But there will be variants.
The goal is to have a set of these bots ready for MakerCon in April. I plan to recruit builders at that event, with some partial kit give-aways as inducements.
Short term tasks include (I could use help on any of these):
- Building more electronics boards. I have some kits ready to assembly by someone who has done some soldering in the past.
- Building more bodies & drive assemblies. I am ordering parts for some kits at present.
- Trying different sensors and add-ons. In particular I want to arrive at MakerCon with a line follower version, a bluetooth enabled version, and a lithium rechargeable version.
- Developing documentation and thinking through the marketing aspects.
Looking past MarkerCon, I’d really like to get this project to the point where a successful Kickstarter could fund some full kits for people. So there is ample opportunity to be involved on the marketing side.
Finally, I have put up a basic blog at robot50.org to post the details of the development process for now. Eventually, it will host full documentation, bill of materials, build instructions, 3D and CNC files, example programs, and everything else.