Ever wanted to build your own small robot? Maybe you're interested in NodeBots? The SimpleBot Shield is for you!
The SimpleBot Shield kit is an Arduino-compatible shield that you can use to mount on a small wheeled robot. It features:
- Ultrasonic rangefinder sensor for obstacle avoidance.
- Light dependent resistor (LDR) wired for ambient light sensing, or to use lights for signalling.
- Four full colour RGB WS2812 "NeoPixel" LEDs, one for each corner of the robot.
- Servo headers, including two headers to attach "continuous rotation servos" to use as motors.
- On-board 6V power supply for optimal servo performance.
The SimpleBot Shield was produced in collaboration with Andrew Fisher, and inspired by his SimpleBot project to provide a simple DIY robot for use with NodeBots. However it can be used with many different kinds of robots. This example shows the SimpleBot Shield combined with a PiLeven, a Raspberry Pi, and some other parts to build a semi-autonomous robot running Linux with WiFi:
Building SimpleBot Shield
The SimpleBot Shield Kit is suitable for novice solderers, as all of the surface mount parts come pre-soldered. This provides a great learning experience for students or anyone interested in electronics and hobby robotics. It's also a great add-on if you've already got the Freetronics Arduino Experimenter's Kit.
In order to build a fully functional robot from your SimpleBot Shield, you'll also need some other parts:
- Arduino-compatible microcontroller board like the Freetronics Eleven that comes with the Freetronics Experimenter's Kit (for a simple robot) or a Freetronics PiLeven combined with a Raspberry Pi (to make a more fully-featured robot with WiFi support and other options)
- Two continuous rotation hobby servos to use as motors.
- Robot chassis. You can build a SimpleBot-style frame from cardboard, laser cut a chassis from the SimpleBot designs, or DIY your own design!
- Battery pack capable of at least 7.5V total output, for connecting to the DC In power on the Eleven. 6xAA or 8xAA battery packs are a good choice. Get a 2.1mm DC plug as well, for each connection to the Eleven.
See here for a complete step-by-step assembly guide.