If you are starting out in robotics, or you have been building robots and want to get past the basics quickly, robot kits are an excellent way to start, and to keep going. Taking a kit, building it, understanding it and then modifying it is the best way to give any robot project a head start.
Other robot development, education and construction kits
For more ideas visit the Construction Toys and Robotic Gadgets And Toys pages.
- Lego Robots - We could not ignore the great contribution Lego, MindStorms, the NXT, Lego RCX and CyberMaster have made to hobbyist robotics. Lego also have the Dark Side Developer kit, and Micro kits.
- FischerTechnik Have a number of Robot building kits - and provide a Solenoid part as well as controllers, mechanical components, sensors and pneumatic components.
- Maplin Uk regularly stock OWI USB Robot Arm kits which can be modified to add sensors.
- DK Robot Warrior Kit - This is aimed at a fairly young group, and is all done using cardboard
- Alex Animated Head - An animatronic head kit which gives advanced experience with servo motors and PIC Microcontrollers
- TecArm Serial Controlled Arm - Constructs an arm that can be controlled from a computer. Very expensive for a fairly limited kit.
- RoboBrix Mechanically compatible with Lego, some brilliant controllers and modules.
Many of these can be bought from the stores details at our Robot Stores guide.
Call for kit developers
If there are any kit developers, feel free to talk to me over twitter, and send evaluation kits and boards related to robotics. We are looking for items to feature in our video channel. Solder Free kits will be given priority.
The Orion Explorer 1 Robot Building Kit
The Orion Explorer 1 Robot kit was a system for creating a roving floor platform. It comes with all the electronics needed to have a moving robot, a construction guide for building it, and is based on the popular Arduino controller making it compatible with a large amount of hardware and code that is already available. Considerations like motor-controllers, batteries and power regulation are already taken care of - and the kit requires no soldering - only a screwdriver, AA batteries and a computer with a USB port are needed to have this carrying out your programs on the floor. The kit is designed to be modified - the platform has pre-drilled holes for mounting sensors and gear, and there are plenty of GPIO pins on the Arduino to attach electronics to, as well as free space on the platform for them to be placed. There is even some spare male-female jump cables to wire them up with.