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Thread: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

  1. #1
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    Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    I want to help my two oldest boys get started in robotics; the oldest is into Linux and programming, and the second oldest is into building stuff (mostly with Lego, but he tinkers about with nuts and bolts and old plumbing parts, etc). As cool as it would be to get them Lego Mindstorms stuff, it's apparently aimed at kids whose dads are a paygrade or two above me. Anyone have any suggestions of how we can bring together Linux, programming, and robots in a way that won't break the bank?

  2. #2
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    One way for your kids to do Lego Mindstorms at a lower cost is to found or join a team: http://www.legoeducation.us/eng/competitions/. The kits are still expensive but the cost is split between all the parents on the team (and if there's an existing team in your area the cost could be minimal as they'll already have a lot of gear). My daughter participated in a competition a few years ago and had a great time.

  3. #3
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    What's wrong with Arduino? I imagine you don't have to get the most expensive shields and parts to do something fun.

  4. #4
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by JDShu View Post
    What's wrong with Arduino?
    Fantastic place to start. This is an example of the literature out there for Arduino (and other things):

    http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920010920.do

    Here is the Arduino site:

    http://www.arduino.cc/

    You can pick up a simple starter board for not much but then the sky's the limit! That little beast is capable of plenty. The kids will learn a heap about capacitors, voltage, wiring, breadboards, programming and more. You can just keep adding components and expanding; attach small engines, run a security system, add sensors, have it communicate with sensors - light, heat - in toys. If you get into it you'll understand what I mean when I say it's comes down to the imagination as to what you go for, and there's plenty of info out there to get you started. You can make things as hard or simple as you like.

    You program the Arduino via USB plugged into your computer. Runs beautifully in Linux. Have a look at 'Learning' link on their site. Good luck.

    PS: You needn't plug anything into a wall socket, you can run the board from a battery so very safe for kids (and adults!).
    PPS: Plenty more vision here.
    PPS: No, I don't work for Arduino, but I did have a love affair with one of their products some years ago ... *wistful*
    Last edited by Bucky Ball; May 1st, 2013 at 07:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    I work with industrial roboctics in a plastics shop
    It's all state of the art, and running off beckhoff plc controllers
    we also have some Rockwell panelveiw controllers
    I'm sorry to say it's all on a windows platform
    I hope that changes some day
    I have not seen a linux based option yet

  6. #6
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    I don't think this addresses OP's question. But it is cool, just want to share it.
    http://www.iloveubuntu.net/ubuntu-wi...ts-uses-ubuntu

  7. #7
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    Thanks guys; I am thinking about doing the arduino thing. How does that compare with raspberry pi for robotics/automation stuff?

  8. #8
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    http://blog.makezine.com/2013/04/15/...-raspberry-pi/

    In your case, the arduino probably makes the most sense.

  9. #9
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    Alrighty, I think I'm going to look for a good Arduino starter kit and a book. Any book recommendations?

    EDIT: just ordered a starter kit with an Ardiuno and tons of components. We'll see how this goes...
    Last edited by lykwydchykyn; May 2nd, 2013 at 09:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Robotics for kids: suggestions?

    Arduino is best - easy and cheap (worth the money).
    Pi and NXT are not needed.
    Are you going to come up north sometimes soon? I just finished a rubik's cube robot and have an arduino and 8 servos that are just sitting in the garage.

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