Robot Kit For A Total Beginer

robotics
raspberrypi
arduino

#1

Hi Everyone.

I am just after a recommendation regarding which robot kit is the best for a beginner?

I have no real requirements other than I want to learn the basics from the start and just build on them as I get into more advanced robots. The ultimate goal is to build an autonomous rover with a wide range of sensors on it, but as I said before my current skill set would make that extremely difficult.

I would also like some advice on whether to build it using Arduino or Raspberry Pi. I have both and would like to master both of them eventually, but I have looked on the Internet for advice and both are suitable for different things, so I have no real idea which is best for learning the basics of electronics and coding and building simple robots.

I guess I’m after something that I can add too as my knowledge and skills get better. Start simple, maybe control using a keyboard, then as I get more advanced, maybe a wifi device.

Anyway thank you everybody in advance for your counsel.

Regards
Simon G


#2

Im just getting back into the hobby (so dont take my word as gospel) but my view is that things like the arduino are being replaced by higher capacity chips so personally id look at something that supported higher level languages/capacities.

C is a great language if you know what you are doing but the ease of languages like python make them much better for beginners (*). You are learning the same structure of code but with C you have so much more memory allocation work and pointer gotchas. C is great for small capacity chips but my advice to a beginner would be get something that supports circuitpython (just plug in as a usb disk and edit your code) or a raspberry pi (network in and code on the pi). Skip the arduino and go a m0 or m4 circuit python device or a raspberry pi with networking included (and learn some linux along the way).

(* I did coding in C when i was younger but these days python is quick enough for almost all my tasks and the time to get working code is so very much quicker!)

Im looking at getting some m0/m4 stuff for little electronics projects (to save building logic) but for anything big id probably just put a raspberry pi (with wifi or ethernet) on it. These days you probably want to be able to network to your project to debug/monitor so id just go for a pi (with its heaps of memory) and be done with it.

If you really need power efficiency then this advice might not apply as much but for a beginner id start on the high capacity device with some python version and then once you can make the thing do what you want, look at putting that functionality into a smaller more efficient device.

Take a leaf from a programmers book, get it working and understand it first then and only then consider doing optimisation. (Ie, start with the easy to use, high level language version then look at efficiency/speed/cost.)


#3

Hi SimonG
Have you looked at Microbits ? They are very affordable ($25) and can be used for a range of projects including simple robotics. You can also purchase sensors ($80 for a kit) and addons. Lots of free project ideas as they are given to every year 7 student in the UK.

You can program them with Blocks, Javascript or Python. In schools these are now considered a stepping stone from beginner to Arduino.

http://microbit.org/code/ is where you can code it and download the code. Check the other menus for project ideas and more resources and how to guides
http://kodeklubbers.weebly.com/teaching-with-code.html This is my curation of projects I am using.