My First Robot

How-to Guide for Beginners

We all have to begin somewhere. For robotics, our first taste comes by putting together a basic starter kit. You build it, run it, learn a few core concepts, then put in your shelf to use as a bookend. Most starter kits are single purpose, and don't grow with you.

A better approach is an expandable robot base that adapts while you learn.

That's the idea behind the My First Robot project. It's specially designed for first-time robo builders. You start with basic robot construction, including motors and wiring, and you learn how robots move and steer.

Using the same hardware over multiple projects saves you time and money. As you graduate to each new level, you learn more about important robotics and electronics subjects.

My First Robot uses the RBB-Bot platform, a low-cost assembly of hardware that allows for easy expansion.. It's ideal beginners of course -- but also students, teachers, and parents wanting to involve their kids in the world of robots. I've designed theRBB-Bot to be both inexpensive—the basic mechanical parts cost about $20—and easy to make.

The My First Robot is described in two phases:

Phase 1 - Building and Running the Basic My First Robot RBB-Bot Chassis

Learn how to build the RBB-Bot chassis, using your choice of wood or plastic (or getting the parts precut and predrilled, if that's your choice). You'll also learn about the art and science of controlling the motion of the robot, useful for things like chasing your cat around the house.

Phase 2 - Adding Electronic Control to the RBB-Bot

Add fully electronic control to the RBB-Bot chassis by exchanging its manually-operated switches for an H-bridge. Let the robot wander about autonomously using a simple-to-build light seeking circuit (cost of parts: less than $3).