|Just turn me loose Dont fence me in. When Roy Rogers sang those lyrics back in the 1940s, he was thinking of cowboys roaming the West, but he could just as easily have sung it for todays hobbyists who want a robot kit that wont tie them to one vendor with proprietary hardware and software.The BoxBot is a straightforward, easy-to-assemble robot kit that includes an open-source microcontroller, development environment and programming language. This kit is the creation of Steve Carpenter, a robotics enthusiast at BotBuildera United Kingdom-based supplier of robot kits and components.|
|<p >OPEN SOURCEOpen-source means that the designs of the software and electronics are not owned by any one person or company. Instead, they are freely available on-line and are maintained and developed by a community of users. Hobbyists who use open-source components in their robots dont have to wait for a vendor to add new features or fix bugs. This also helps to protect the investments of time and money that are put into buying and learning a platform. They know that support and components will be available for it in the future, even if the vendor they bought it from isnt.|
|The assembled BoxBot with the microcontroller on top, the breadboard on the end and wheels on each side.|
Robot components, including wheels, 360- degree servo motors, assembled circuit board with Amtel Atmega168 microcontroller, breadboard for experimentation & 10-page instruction manual.
PC running Windows 98/2000/XP with a USB port &
Words by Peter DelMastro