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.
Here is the wiring diagram for setting up line following on the LittleBot (Walter). All the code can be found on the Downloads page (littlebot_line_follow)
There are a lot of walking robot kits out there. But most of them are complicated and challenging to beginners. We decided to create a walking robot that was good for beginners. Something that people could experiment with and learn from without worrying about endangering the robot.
So we created the Critter Crawling robot kit. The Critter is entirely 3D printed and based on the Arduino, so anyone, anywhere can find the resources to create him.
The Critter is currently taking preorders on Kickstarter and will begin deliveries in November of 2017.
Robot kits are a great way for kids to be exposed to all aspects of engineering and STEM in general. Programming, mechanics, even biology, they are can be present in a robot kit as a child build it. And with STEM related jobs growing at 17% per year it is a great field for for eventualy job-holders to be exposed to.
A robot is also a great thing to build because it gives a child a true sense of accomplishment as they see their create move around or grab something for the first time. This drive to create something will help them as they move ahead in any career in the future.
1. LittleArm 2C Arduino Robot Kit
The LittleArm 2C is the second generation of 3D printed LittleArm Robot kits. The design of the arm makes it simple to assemble using only a screwdriver. The electronics are clear and easy to plug together and they few screws there are are simple to put in. Kids as young as 8 can assemble the kit with some adult help.
Once assembled the arm can be controlled and trained with either the free bluetooth app or Windows software. Using these tools kids get train the kit to perform different tasks just like real industrial robot arms.
The Littlearm robot kit is also based entirely on arduino and the code is all available so that it can be reprogrammed from scratch by using the www.arduino.cc/en/Main/SoftwareArduino IDE or tools such as Blockly.
The mBot is another Arduino Robot Kit. It can be controlled with an app and reprogrammed with the mBot scratch interface.
While the kit has a lot of fasteners it is fairly esay to build and contains many sensors for kits to work with and learn from. Overall it is a good beginner to mid-level robot kit.
If you have legos laying around, this is the robot kit for you. It includes multiple sensor, motor, and microprocessor bricks that allow you to bring old legos to life. The only problem with the kit is that is can be difficult to keep kids directed since there are so many directions they can go with the kit. But if they can stay focused it is a fun robot kit.
The LittleBot is an extremely simple robot kit for young kids. With only 3 screws in the entire kit it can be built by anyone in about 20 minutes. Once built it can be controlled with the Android App. When kids want to dig deeper they can reprogram the LittleBot using Arduino. Since the LittleBot is a simple demonstration of nearly every component of robotics, it is ideal for beginner builders.
The LittleBot is a simple beginner arduino robotics kit. This robot kit is fully 3D printed and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. It can be played with quickly by using the LittleBot Android app. But it can also be reprogrammed with Scratch, Blockly, or using the normal Arduino IDE. We also have many sample programs that can be uploaded or built upon to control the LittleBot
Below are multiple resources to help with the assembly and use of the LittleBot robotics kit.
Arduino Code for the LittleBot Arduino Robotics Kit