Robotics is a growing field, and robots are already working in factories across the world. More consumer models are coming on the market every day. The robotic vacuum cleaner and lawn mower are already common household items. These use technologies like Arduino and Raspberry PI, and you can actually use these to hack Roomba machines. With this outlook, choosing to learn some robotics can even be useful if you never get into the field professionally. To get started, figure out a project you may want to try your hand at, start simple with tasks that do not require any reasoning.
What Are Your Project Needs?
Before you start a robotics project, imagine what the needs are for the robot. If the robot needs to move around in your house, you will need avoidance detection, which is included in most kits. AI is sparse at this point, but it is coming along quickly. You should remember that recognizing a face, or anything else, requires the use of AI.
Most kits support Arduino and are built around that platform, as well as Raspberry Pi.
The designers of the Spirit Rover robot were inspired by the NASA rovers. This kit is built with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and a microchip controller. With this robot, you can learn all the basics of robotics. With the Raspberry Pi at the center, you can learn and install many functions. AI is not included, though the camera has computer vision enabled out-of-the-box.
You should choose this model if you want to program, though the physical design is available and you are able to perform hardware changes.
The Elegoo robot kit has all the items you need to get started with basic robotics techniques. This robot is designed as a car with ultrasound sensors as “eyes” for collision avoidance. The package comes with all the components ready to assemble. There are many experiments and source codes available for Elegoo to learn more about robotics. This kit also comes with a remote control, though you can also use your smartphone as a remote. The quality of the kit is good but not fabulous, and some users have reported small problems.
3. Freenove Quadruped Robot Kit
The Freenove Quadraped robot kit is unusual due to the four legs it uses for motion (there is also a six-leg version). You have many more options for moving about, though races will not be won against robots that have wheels. In this kit, you have several remote options, and you can program the robot with Arduino IDE. You can also get libraries that can make the robot crawl, tilt, and do other things from the webpage.
The whole project is based on free and open-source software AND hardware. All mechanical parts come from a flat surface, and you can cut them out yourself. The required documents are all on GitHub. Since this kit is all open source, you can change the design according to your preferences. This kit is cut from flat acrylic. If you want to use other materials, you can, just consider the weight adjustments when you do.
4. SparkFun JetBot AI Robot Kit
When you start getting more advanced in robotics, you should consider the effects of Artificial Intelligence. To do this, you can use the Jetson Nano computer from Nvidia. They have built a developer kit for their Nano Jetson. With this kit, you can use neural networks for image classification, object detection, and even speech processing.
The robot comes with a MicroSD card, including the Qwiic Python library, the Jetbot ROS (Robot Operating System), and more. The mechanical part of this kit includes the standard two drive wheels and a controlling wheel. The true power of this kit is the processor, not the movement capabilities.
This kit is available on the SparkFun web page, on Amazon, and many other places on the web.
5. SparkFun Inventors Kit
This kit is a bit smaller than most but has components for five Arduino-based projects. This kit lets you start from simple Arduino kits, all the way to running a robot around the room. You can choose this kit to get started and expand it as you get better. You will not have many options in the package, but it comes with the Qwiic board for many other methods of reaching external devices.
The SparkFun Inventors kit has fewer components than other kits, and it is reflected in the price. You can use this kit as a base for larger projects, making this package great for a longer-term plan of learning or expanding your ideas.
Search the SparkFun website for the Inventors Kit. This kit is not a pure robotics kit but is worth mentioning in this list due to the vast possibility of expansion.
Looking for a robotics kit for adults can prove difficult, as most manufacturers aim for the educational and children’s markets. Do not let the beginners’ tag stop you, though, because you can combine several packages to make a serious project using beginner kits. As you progress in your knowledge, you can start designing your own features, and you will be happy that you learned how the pieces work together. You can also benefit from learning programming and AI, as they can seriously impact the viability of any project’s potential autonomy. Hopefully, this article showed you some useful information on robotics kits that you can use to test and improve your skills.