Robot Gifts

No! Not gifts that you give to robots, although our Alexa has just made a request for a new USB power supply, but robot-oriented gifts to give to the wetware entities in your life.

It was with great sadness that I learned that Lego is giving up on Mindstorms – there should be a law against it. However there are lots of great alternatives if non-quite as iconic as Mindstorms.

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First it is worth saying that Lego Spike – which is Mindstorms aimed at education is still available:

I don’t think that this is as exciting for the lone experimenter unless you aready know what you are doing.

Moving on to some alternatives…

Starting at the top this is the robot I hope someone will buy me soon. Petoi has two robots to offer – Nybble the robot cat and Bittle the robot dog. Of the too I would prefer Nybble, but only because I’m a cat person. The robot dog, Bittle, is a lot more robust and a better bet for the long term. If you want to know more just take a look at the video:

For the beginner you can program using a block language and for the expert there is the Arduino approach to programming. As well as the basic construction kit you can buy it preassembled if you want to get on with the programming. There is also optional battery packs and an intelligent camera module.

What is special about this particular robot is that it has the possiblity of being more than a five minute wonder. You can actually work out how to get it do do things and the fact it looks a lot like Boston Dynamic’s Spot is also a factor in its attraction.

If two legs are more to your liking then why not try PiSloth:

You have to add a Raspberry Pi to this but it does come with some preprogrammed dance moves. Simple programming is via a block language and for more advanced work you can use Python.

Personally I’ve always liked hexapods but they seem to strike feare into other people – perhaps thats exactly why I like them. The idea of writing programs to control not four but six legs it intreging and makes me think about the centiped question – ask a centiped how it walks and it instantly can’t! The Freenove Big Hexapod is an idea platform. You add a Raspberry Pi to it and start using it. 

A different arrangment of six legs is provided by the robot Ant kit. In this case it comes with a brain and a controller.

 And finally if you want wheels:

You need to add a Raspberry Pi to this kit but it does come with all the motors and controllers and ultrasonic sensors.


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