The term robot was first used in the 1921 play R.U.R, the word itself comes from the Czech word “robota” which means servitude.

Now nearly a century later robots are commonplace and perform a wide variety of tasks, from building cars to exploring other planets and vacuuming our homes. Yet despite all of this the age of the robot is really in its infancy, and this means that it’s a great time to start experimenting and developing robots of your own.

The availability of inexpensive components and powerful microcontrollers and microcomputers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi have made it possible for anyone to design and build a robot without requiring a degree in Technology or Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Building robots requires a combination of skills from a number of different disciplines;

  • Mechanical skills to construct the mechanisms that power our robots and give them flexibility and dexterity.
  • Electronic skills to wire circuitry that control the robot.
  • Software development skills to program them
  • Interface design skills to allow them to interact with human beings.

Yet despite all of the above you don’t need to be a master of all these different trades. Robot kits and software libraries can take a lot of the challenge out of building and designing a robot, allowing you to focus on creating a device that does exactly what you want it to do.

So let’s design a robot, one that is as unique as we are. Make it wash the car, feed the dog or just follow a line. It’s your robot!


Build a Robot Car with Speed Sensors

I’m sure you have seen those inexpensive robot car chassis kits, the ones that come with two 6-volt motors. They are great fun and very useful and they even come with a couple of speed encoder disks (those little black circles full of holes). Problem is, no one tells you how to use them!

Let’s resolve that and build a robot car with speed sensors. Along the way we’ll learn how to use Interrupts, a valuable programming technique.

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Assembling the MeArm Robotic Arm

The MeArm is a small robot arm that was originally designed as a teaching device for schoolchildren. Despite its toy-like appearance it is also an excellent tool for serious robotics experimenters who would like to develop software and control systems for robotic arms without a large hardware expenditure.

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Getting Started Building Robots

Robots are the ultimate experimenters project. Nothing else lets you unleash your creativity more than designing a robot. And now with the availability of things like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi along with a wide assortment of mechanical parts and the ability to make your own with a 3D printer, robots have become a project that any dedicated experimenter can work on.

There are so many components and design considerations that must be taken into account when building a robot, This can often be overwhelming, especially when you're creating your first automated device. This article should provide a firm foundation for getting started on your first (or next) robotics project.

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