Every Littlebot Arduino Robotics Kit uses the same arduino robot control board. This is that board.
When LittleBots was first started with the LittleArm Original we used a standard Arduino Uno Board combined with a breadboard to do all of the wiring. While this was a good resource for teaching kids how to us breadboards and work with electronics it didn't make the arm easy to use. And for teachers that was a big factor. These kits had to be assembled and disassembled pretty easily in order to be useful in the classroom. So we worked on designing our new robots with an entirely new board.
We went looking for an arduino shield that could control servos and have a sensor input. There are a couple of them out there. But none are really plug-and-play. But then we ran across the Meped and SpierceTech.
They had created the Meped arduino robotics board and it was an ideal solution for arduino robotics kits. And we have used it as the brain for Littlebots ever since for its functionality and expandability.
The Meped arduino board uses an Arduino Nano as its main computing core. This allows you to control up to 8 servos with PWM signals. This means we can control complex robots like the LittleArm Big with just this board.
Power into the board is 6-9 V. And it has the amperage capabilities to power larger servos.
But you only have a robot if you have sensors. The Meped has a dedicated ultrasonic sensor port and digital IR input bus. These allow bots like the LittleBot budget to quickly be assembled with the ability to navigate via sensors.
The Meped arduino robot board also has a direct bluetooth port so the HC-05 or 06 arduino bluetooth modules can be directly plugged in with no hassle at all. This makes it possible for all of the Littlebots to be controlled by the LittleBots app or other android arduino apps.
Lastly the Meped board has several analog input pins that can be used with a breadboard to add even more sensors.
Overall the Meped arduino robotics board is a great foundation to build a robot on. Its range of servo control and sensor inputs ensures that you get going quickly. That is why we use it in all of our robots.
The LittleBot Budget is one of the simpliest and most expandable arduino robotics kits for STEM and hobbyists. With the launch and growth of this new robot we are working hard to create new content for projects and learning that can be done with the LittleBot Budget.
This post will outline the key steps, resources, and troubleshooting to get your Littlebot Budget Arduino Robot up and running.
Assembling the Littlebot Budget Arduino Robotics Kit
Assembly if of the Littlebot is very simple, practically intuitive. But you may need up on wiring, uploading the code, and connecting the app. As always there is the Tutorials page for other resources.
Here is the primary written tutorial for assembling the LittleBot Budget. Or you can simply follow the video below. Wiring diagrams are included.
Uploading code the LittleBot Budget Arduino Robot
The code for the LittleBot Budet is the same as that of the Original LittleBot. All the resources that apply to it can be used for the Budget. So in this case the primary sketch for the LittleBot is the latest version of the Walter_OS Sketch from the Downloads page
The Arduino Sketch must be uploaded to the arduino nano. Make sure that you select the correct variant of the Arduino Nano as the board in the IDE Menu when uploading. More details are in the tutorial.
Connecting the Littlebot Bluetooth App
The LittleBot Budget is a programming kit and build kit. Students are supposed to program it to perform all kinds of different functions. The app is a demonstration and not meant to be used often with the LittleBot Budget.
The App can be downloaded here. Make sure that you have uploaded the Walter_OS sketch to the Littlebots budget beforehand. Also follow the steps detailed in the video below when connecting the app. Not doing so will cause the app to fail because it is not properly connected.
Thats all. Your LittleBot is ready to use. There are all kinds of application. Sample codes are posted on this page. These include things like following the hand and fire detection. See more below.
Just some quick updates. We have been going through the site and revamping it. The tutorials pages have been updates and we are working to make it easier to find resources for each of our arduino robotics kits.
The youtube channel is also growing. We just passed 1000 subscribers. Lesson plans and tutorials are coming as we have time to film and create good content.
For all of those looking for more resources for the LittleBot Budget do check out the tutorials page. Videos and Instructables are up.
Let us know if there is any content that you need or questions that you have.
Thank you everyone.
First off, let us say thank you. We have a tremendous community of people who buy our products, offer feedback, and are patient with us when we make mistakes. You guys are what make the wheels go round. Thank you so much.
LittleBots is a project that has been going for 2 years. We have created 7 different bots in total from the LittleArm to the Waterbot. But the time has come for change. Big change.
At LittleBots our goal has been "To get kids excited about technology and what they can do with it." We first targeted this goal by making kits that simply did not exist anywhere else. Products that were unique and could hold the interest of a student. But there are two parts to a STEM education kit. The Kit, and the content around it. The instructions, applications, tutorials, and possibilities. We have made some great kits. But our content has been lacking.
We have fought with this problem for a long time and have been searching for a solution to fix it. And that solution is video. It has to be video. Robots are changing all the time and they are fundamentally machines that can be so complex that a paragraph cannot describe what a 3 second video can. So we are going to start pushing harder to build online content in video format.
This new content push will include news, demonstrations, and full classes on components of robotics and engineering. And we will be using the LittleBots as the platform for this new content.
With this new direction, our product methodology will change. We will be eliminating some products and bringing on new ones. The LittleArm and the LittleBot Budget will be core of the curriculum to begin with. But as we grow we are going to display the creation of products as it occurs. Kickstarter will still be a big part of what we do. But the Kickstarters will change from a launch to a single flashsale. Bots that appear there may never appear again.
Now what bots are we thinking of? Well one big part of it will be revamping parts of the old bots. The LittleArm is due for an upgrade in software and design. And the Budget is going to be tweaked to be ideal for Classrooms. But we are also working on some ideas for all-terrain and some personal desktop bots. But all of this will begin to drop on youtube.
We want to be sure that our bots are not just toys. They were never meant to be toys. They are tools for teaching engineering and to get kids excited about it. If we stray from that mission then we are not adding anything to the world.
Thanks again everyone. Please subscribe on Youtube and let us know what you think.
-The Team at Slant
Boston Dynamics is one of the most influential robotics companies in operation today. They have created robots such as the Atlas Bipedal Robot, that can perform all kind of flips and tricks, to the Big Dog quadruped robot, that is know for being kicked a lot. But how long has Boston Dynamics existed? Who started it? And what else have the worked on?
In this Video we go over the history of Boston Dynamics and every robot that they have worked on. From the humble beginnings at the MIT Leg Lab up through RHex and, of course, Atlas and Spot.
With the Holidays just around the corner its time to find the perfect gift for the STEM builder in your home. These 3D printed arduino robotics kits teach programming, problem-solving, and are just fun to build and expand.
The LittleBot Budget is a simple and affordable introductory arduino robotics kit. It has 2 versions, the Basic and Plus. The basic is a simple arduino programming platform. The Plus includes a gripper and bluetooth so that it can be controlled with Android apps.
The Budget is also a great kit to expand using your 3D printer. Many expansions can be downloaded for free from Thingiverse.
The top-selling robotics kit in the Littlebots family, the 2C has 4 actuated joints. Using the bluetooth app or by programming it from scratch the LittleArm can be trained to pick up pens, draw, or put a marshmallow in your hot chocolate. This arduino robotics kit is also very simple to build for beginners but still interesting and capable enough for more advanced users.
A Large 6DOF robotic arm Kit. The LittleArm Big is an advanced robotics kit. It is designed for high-schoolers and college students. The arm can be used to make functional assembly-lines and do real work. It can be programmed from scratch using Arduino Tools or it can be trained using the Android or Windows software.
This robotics kit is for the builder that wants to try something different. Designed after the first creatures to crawl out of the ocean, this arduino robotics kit is a great introduction to walking robots without being too intimidating.
This simple robotic boat is a great addition to any robot hobbyists collection. Fully programmable with arduino tools or controllable with the Bluetooth app. Simple and quick to build and easy to disassemble makes this arduino kit ideal for the classroom as well.
For the last 2 years the Team at Slant Concepts has been creating arduino robotics kits to get kids excited about robotics. The project which began as a garage prototype is now launching its 7th robot, the LittleBot Budget, which is now live on Kickstarter.
Robotics is one of the best methods of teaching STEM topics to kids. It integrates disciplines such as programming, electronics, mathematics, mechanics, and in the case of the LittleBot, 3D printing into a single package. But robotics is generally an expensive hob by. It is difficult for beginners and school teachers to justify the cost of robotics kits. So Slant used their expertise from the last 6 robots they successfully launched to create one of the most affordable robotics kits in the world.
But the Littlebot is not a bare bones toy. It is a robotics platform that can accommodate any number of expansions and skill levels. Users are expected to design new hardware attachments, which can be 3D printed, and add sensors and code so the robot can perform more tasks.
Slant has already created nearly a dozen expansions for the Littlebot that accommodate everything from simple buzzer demonstrations to advanced robotics navigation. They even designed a Jousting attachment just so two can battle. The Arduino code and 3D printing files for each expansion have already been released and Slant will continue to release tutorials and new demos as time passes. The goal is to have the Littlebot budget become more advanced as the user’s skills grow.
The Littlebot is based on the Arduino. This allows it to be reprogrammed using any arduino tool. These include graphical systems such as Scratch and Blockly and the normal IDE. Slant’s custom board also makes adding more servos and sensors very easy.
Robotics has always been an expensive and complicated topic to get hands-on with. But the Littlebot Budget is a big step toward making educational robotics more accessible to anyone getting started. The Littlebot is currently taking preorders on Kickstarter. Kits start at $28 and deliveries are scheduled for December 2018.
We are very happy to announce that the Waterbot has launched on Kickstarter. This will be our 6th robotic kit in the LittleBots family.
When we started the project to create another arduino kit, we wanted to be sure to continue to keep to our standards of simplicity and originality. As we research potential options for kits, we found that there were no water arduino robotics kits available. So we fixed that.
The Waterbot is a simple and reliable kit. It is designed to be quick to build, so it can be used in classes and at groups. But it is still built on the same arduino boards and code used in all of our other Littlebots so that you can expend it easily and the resources to learn.
The Waterbot has just been launched on Kickstarter. Let us know what you think of the new design and please support the campaign. At the very least please share this post. Everything helps.
-The Team at Slant
We are doing the Black Friday Sale again this year. With Coupon code blackfriday17 all robot kits and parts in the LittleBots store are 15% off.
This will only last Black Friday Weekend. Nov 24- Nov 26.
The LittleArm Educational Robot Kit and the Mearm Robot kits have a lot of similarities. The they are both small robot arms designed to be programmable and help kids learn about STEM. They are both arduino robot kits. But beyond that these robotics kits are very different.
The first LittleArm was created in the fall of 2016. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter soon after. The second arm, which is now the standard was created in the Spring of 2017.
The LittleArm 2C has only 31 parts in the entire kit. This was intentional as it was meant to the be simplest robot arm kit for beginners out there. This was possible because all of the primary parts for the 2C are 3D printed. 3D printing allows parts to snap together and have geometries that eliminate screws.
In addition to a very good mechanical design the 2C ha great electronics that also ease the introduction to robotics. The primary board is an Arduino nano that is seated in the custom circuit board that allows easy connection to servos, Bluetooth, and other sensors. Since each lead is labeled with its function kids can see where they can add expansions without being distracted by minutiae like the difference between an analog and digital pin. The kit also is entirely plug and play. There is no soldering or other specific skills needed to put it together.
Once built the arm can be trained, just like industrial robot arms, to perform repetitive tasks by using the Android phone app for the Windows Desktop app. This really helps to detail how real-world arms operate. Out side of the normal training code there are tutorials and code examples that hobbyists can expand on.
One disadvantage of the LittleArm is that sometimes the pieces can be difficult for younger ages to press together. Think of two Legos stuck together. They might need a little adult help to do it.
But overall the LittleArm was designed to eliminate complexity in getting started with and building robots. It is a clean sleek kit that eliminates many stumbling blocks in understanding the main concepts of robot arms.
The MeArm was created by Benjamin Gray and was launched on Kickstarter in December 2014. It was funded successfully and has been the lone DIY robot arm in the world until the Littlearm was made.
The MeArm is made from lasercut components that are screwed together to create the small robot arm. Laser-cut components allowed the MeArm to be manufactured very affordably, so it could grow and gain audience organically. But Lasercut components result in many pieces to have to assemble. A MeArm kit has near 100 pieces.
The MeArm has the same basic structure at the LittleArm. It has four joints that are controlled by an arduino board. But the MeArm uses a parallel arm design, which ensures that the gripper is always horizontal.
The electronics of the MeArm vary from one kit to the next. The 100 dollar kit includes all of the components necessary to make a MeArm work. The most common package is an Arduino Nano and some button-based control board (buttons or joystick variations). These must be assembled with jumper wires based on included wiring diagrams. Some kits to need a little soldering, but this is not common. Newer MeArms have improved labeling of leads but they are not quite as good as the LittleArm labeling.
Since is has existed for longer the MeArm does have a wide support base. There are many tutorials and resources and code examples. But these can be disjointed. Beginners can have trouble getting started. The MeArm is also not always compatible with the apps that exist for it.
Overall the MeArm, is a good kit for experienced hobbyists. But is can be intimidating to very young builders who are not familiar with all of the electronics and hardware. But it's greater software base does help with expansion.
Price-wise the two kits are the same. Either one, with all of the control boards and components needed to make a working arm, are around 100 dollars.
It is hard to find educational robotics kits for kids. But if you are looking for an robot arm kit for your child or your student the Littlearm and the MeArm are the best choices out there. It is your choice which you think would be more appropriate.