This post is for people especially beginners and kids who are getting started with robotics. In this post we will guide you through the basic of Robotics for Kids and will learn how to build a robot easily.
Getting Started with Robotics for Kids and Beginners
We will explain how to make a plan, what are the things to be taken care of to get the best robot kit, choosing the best battery for robot, choosing the best microcontroller for the robot and everything to be taken care to build a robot. Lets get started.
How to Build a Robot?
Before answering ‘how to build a robot?’, There is another thing you should know; another question you should answer first – ‘What is a robot?’ A robot is simply an electromechanical device which will sense its environment, process it, takes decision by itself and reacts to its environment without manual intervention.
What are the Parts of a Robot?
Well to make it more understandable, imagine a robot is like any other organism; like a human being.
We have sense organs. We see things with our eyes. We hear things with our ears, feel things with our skin, taste with our tongue and smell with our nose. Our neurons transmit the signals from our sensors to our brain where we process them. Our brain process those signals, takes decision and send signal to our muscles to move your hands, legs or do whatever you want. Then we have a heart that circulates blood, supply oxygen, provides energy for the working of your entire system. Then we have a body, where the sensors, muscles, heart, veins and all other parts are neatly ‘assembled’.
This is same as in the case of a robot.
The Robot Chassis – The Body of the Robot
A robot have a chassis/ robot frame; which is similar to our body. A frame that will support the whole robot. A system which is having enough space and capable of handling the weight of all the sensors, power source and all the cables used in the robot.
Sensors – The Sense Organs
A robot have sensors; sensors such as IR sensors, which will sense infrared rays, ultrasonic sensors to sense ultrasonic waves, heat sensor to sense temperature, pressure sensor to sense touch/pressure and much much more.
So we now have all the data from the sensor. What to do with this sensor data? We need to process it. For that, we will have a processing unit. Normally, we will use a logic circuit.
This can be a simple circuit consisting of resistors, capacitors, transistors to perform simple logical decisions or a microcontroller such as an Arduino or PIC that can perform complex calculations. That depends up on the complexity of your robot.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi are the most commonly used controllers in the field of Rabotics.
Arduino is simply an open source base employing an easy to use and a micro controller boards with simple programming technique. Combining the power of strong micro controllers and user friendly IDEs which can be used to write and upload programmes, which runs on your computers. Due to its less price and less power consumption, it is effectively used in various industries, robotics and home automation projects.
Raspberry Pi is small credit card sized, light weight and compact computer available which is used by both professions and hobbyist alike. This mini computer can do (almost) any thing a normal linux machine can do. It is widely used in various industries, robotics, home automation projects.
Muscles – The Actuators (Motors and other moving parts)
Once the signals are being processed, the result/reaction will be sent to the actuators. Actuators can be any electro mechanical device such as motors that will move the motor, or servo motors that will will lift the hand; or anything.
Heart – The Battery
So we have everything we need now. All we need is a power source. A power source that can provide enough energy to power up all the sensors, motors and the micro controller. For that we will use a current source such as a battery or a power adapter.
A Small Example of a Robot
Consider this line follower robot using Arduino. This robot uses IR sensors to detect the track and use motors to move around depending up on the colour of the track. Here,
IR sensor is the Sensor
Arduino is the Brain
LiPo Battery is the Heart
Robot Chassis the Body
Using all these parts, the robot senses the path, takes a decision by its own and react to its environment by moving only through the black path.
Ok, Now How to Build a Robot?
So once again we are back with the same question. How to build a robot?
Now you know what all things we need to make make a robot. But there are different types of sensors, motors, batteries and microcontrollers available in the market. But all of them cannot be used to build something you want. For that you will need a plan.
Steps to Build a Robot
Step 1 – Plan Your Robot
First decide what you want to build; a line follower, a pick and place robot or whatever you want. Decide what you want your robot to do.
For example – A Line follower that will follow a path without human intervention.
Step 2 – Know the Inputs
Understand what all are the inputs and outputs. For the robot to do whatever you want it to do, it should get maximum data from the environment, in order to process it. So find out what all things it need to know to perform that particular action.
In the case of our line follower, we need something that can sense the color of the path in front of it. For that you can use an IR sensor or a color sensor.
Step 3 – Processing the Inputs and Decision Making
Once we have collected all the input parameters, we will have to feed it to the Brain for processing. We have to process the inputs and make the robot to make a right decision in various conditions.
In our line follower, we have an arduino micro controller board which will act as its brain. The Arduino will read all the inputs from the IR sensors, process it and send the decisions/outputs to the motor driver board which will drive the motor.
Step 4 – The Output
Now the robot know what to do. Now all we need is to execute that action. For that we will want use an actuator. An actuator can be any electromechanical device.
In the case of our line follower, when the black line is curved towards left, it should go left.
When the black line turns right, the robot should go right. We have 2 DC motor which will drive the bot.
Step 5 – Power Up the Robot
Our robot is almost ready. All you need is a power source to power everything up. Remember, you have to power all the devices including the sensors, micro controller board, the motor drivers. the motors and all other actuators.
You have to choose the right power source for your robot. Different components have different voltage range for its working; below which it wont work or above which, it will burn off the component. So choosing the right power source can be a crucial task.
Chassis is a frame where you mount all the parts of a robot together. You can either build one yourself or get one online.
Qualities of a Good Robot Chassis
- Have enough space for all the components
- Provide good mechanical support for all the components
- Have mounting/screw holes where you can fix all the components in place
- Have enough strength to hold the entire weight of the components
Here are some of the best robot chassis which are available online to make your own robot.
Robot kits are packages that contains all the components (and sometime tools) that you need to build your own robot from the scratch. Robot kits can be really useful for kids and beginners who are getting started with robotics because they don’t have to worry about what all things to buy and how to assemble.
Qualities of a Good Robot Kit
- It should have all the components you need to build your robots
- It should have all the tools you need to assemble them together.
- Robot Kit should include a Chassis to mount all the components.
Best Robot Kits Online
Here we are presenting you with some cool robot kits which are available online and can be used by beginners, kids as well as experts to build their own robots easily. Links are also provided with the product description which will be redirected to trusted product pages from where you can buy your own robots.
Robotics for Kids and Beginners – Get the Best Robot Kit Online
Want to Build a Robot on Your Own?
Why not build a robot yourself? We will help whichever way possible. We have a collection of Arduino and Raspberry Pi Robotics Projects in our Project vault. We have a lot of tutorials and an active community to help you build your own robot.
We have now started a Whatsapp Group which we will use for discussing and sharing ideas and of course, for helping fellow members with their projects. We will be having hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals around the globe who are willing to teach others and share their ideas and experience.
Arduino Robotics Projects – Click Here
Raspberry Pi Robotics Projects – Click Here