We finally got the answers from the teachers that will actually use our Tutobot in their classes. We had already thought about some of their points, but most were clarifying answers (and some were really surprising):
- It should be small and have a USB rechargeable battery.
- It could have an FPGA to allow exercises with logical programming. In this case, it should be possible to control our robots’ parts (wheels, sensors, etc) by programming the FPGA, always hiding all other complexity.
- Really easy to program, it don’t even need a debug interface (unless it is a reeeeeeally simple one). The students will work with it for only four 1h30min classes. Teachers suggested something like mbed or AVR dfu bootloader. We’ll take a deeper look into these programming interface examples.
- The robot will have a small LCD, some leds and a buzzer, and the line sensors underneath. Anti-collision sensors and “end-of-table” (to avoid it from falling ) sensors are optional.
- About our idea of allowing the connection of peripherals, we could make it compatible with Arduino expansion boards. But it’s not really important for these 1st year classes.
We also got links of two inspiring robots:
- The Pololu’s 3pi: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/975
- The pocketBot, a matchbox sized robot: http://www.ostan.cz/pocketBot/
I particularly like the round shape of Pololu’s, somehow I think it looks “friendlier”. But the size and speed of pocketBot is impressive.
Now, other stuff. This week I personally focused more on our lab exercises and on this Friday’s presentation , so not much work on Tutobot. Our meeting to discuss components had to be postponed, and it’s going to be this weekend. As for our one-week break, we planned an intensive working week. At the end of it we hope to have decided our components and finished the PCB design. Maybe start working on software, but that would be a plus.
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