RoboSlam is a robot building workshop for beginners – a quick introduction to building robots using real electronic components. Our mission is to create a recipe for an incredibly low cost robot (our target is €10) that’s easy to build and easy to teach others to build. We want to make it easy and affordable for people who are interested in robotics to learn about it and to run workshops where others can learn too.

RoboSlam robot front view    RoboSlam robot side view

RoboSlam Kit Contents

Our goal is to create a great robot using parts costing less than €10. For that price we want a robot each participant will take away at the end of the workshop to continue programming and learning with at home.

The RoboSlam robot kit shown in bag and then laid out on table

The RoboSlam kit currently contains the following materials:

Component quantity Supplier Unit Cost Per Robot Cost
Texas Instruments MSP430 LaunchPad 1 RS €10.29 n/a
SN754410NE motor driver 1 RS €1.30 €1.30
Halfsize solderless breadboard 1 Satistronics US$2.56 US$2.56
HC-SR04 ultrasonic rangefinder 1 Satistronics US$1.69 US$1.69
Geared DC motor 2 Rapid £1.36 £2.72
22kΩ resistor (pack of 100) 1/100 Rapid £0.61 £0.0061
270Ω resistor (pack of 100) 1/100 Rapid £0.61 £0.0061
1N4001 rectifier diode 2 Rapid £0.014 £0.028
220μF electrolytic capacitor 2 Rapid £0.041 £0.082
5mm Green LED 2 Rapid £0.074 £0.148
Red single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Black single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Yellow single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Green single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Violet single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Blue single core wire 100m reel 1/200 Rapid £5.17 £0.026
Battery Box 4xAA with switch 1 Rapid £0.55 £0.55
Yellow “TT” wheel 2 dx.com US$1.76 US$3.52
AA battery 4 Euro General €0.10 €0.40
ESTIMATED ROBOT TOTAL €12.56

Suppliers

RS http://ie.rs-online.com/web/
Satistronics http://www.satistronics.com
Rapid Online UK http://www.rapidonline.com/
dx.com http://dx.com
Euro General http://www.eurogeneral.ie/

31 Responses to

  1. Jim says:

    I was trying to see where the terminal block came into play….I didn’t see it on the circuit. Maybe I missed it. Can you let me know what kind of terminal block this is and the best place to get one.

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Jim,

      Yes sorry, we haven’t explained that at all in this documentation! The terminal block is something we introduced at the last minute before our last RoboSlam workshop. It’s used to wire up the optical colour sensor with its resistors. These type of optical sensors basically contain two separate components – an infrared LED and an infrared photodiode. The LED shines infrared light onto whatever surface you’re sensing and the photodiode detects how much light has been reflected (lots for white surfaces, very little for black surfaces). The device has four legs (2 for the infrared LED and 2 for the photodiode). To produce a handy 3-wire sensor (Vout, 0V and 3V/5V) with an output voltage that changes with surface colour, we combine the 4-leg device with a couple of resistors. Previously, we used to solder these in advance of our workshops, which was time consuming in terms of preparation, but saved a lot of hassle on the day. To make it easier for others to run the RoboSlam workshop, we’re anxious to simplify things as much as possible and reduce the preparation time. The terminal block was the simplest thing we could identify to replace the fiddly soldering work on the sensors. It doesn’t really matter exactly what type of terminal block you use, provided that it’s not too large for the legs of the optical sensor to reach between all the terminals.

      This is similar to the kind of stuff we used:
      http://rdowney.com/arcadeodyssey/cpwiring/originalimages/IMG_0015.JPG
      This type of terminal block comes in a range of sizes. All other things being equal, I’d say smaller is probably better.

      I’ll have to try to get a clearly labelled photo up of how to connect the sensor and resistors using the terminal block. It’s a bit tricky to explain, but thankfully not too hard to do and only takes a minute. I think Damon has a photo, so I’ll check with him this morning.

      Ted

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  2. damonberry says:

    Hi Jim,

    We have produced a blog page here…
    https://roboslam.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/building-the-sensor-circuit/
    …that describes how the terminal block is used with the RPR220 and two resistors to construct the light sensor circuit. Hope your Roboslam project is going well!

    Regards
    Damon

    Like

  3. Jacob says:

    Hi Ted,

    Is there any way to make a remote control for it… Preferably using a raspberry pi, but if not, thats ok

    Jacob

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    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Jacob,

      Yes, there are a few different ways that you can implement remote control of the RoboSlam robot. It can be done with a Raspberry Pi, but I think the easiest way is to do it with a TV remote control and a cheap infrared receiver like this one:

      http://radionics.rs-online.com/web/p/ir-receivers/7085115/

      Once you add this receiver to the robot and program the microcontroller to recognise the codes for a few different buttons on whatever remote control you’re using, you can use the TV remote to control the robot. If you’re interested in trying this, I can give you a hand with it. I can give you some example code to program onto the robot, but the exact program would depend on the remote control you use.

      The remote control I usually use for this kind of thing is one from the 2 Euro shop, so it’s not hard to get one really cheaply.

      By the way, here’s a basic remote control adaptation I did on a RoboSlam robot previously:

      https://roboslam.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/roboslam-robot-with-remote-control/

      That example just responds the same to any button you press on the remote control (and it works for any remote control handset), but it wouldn’t be too hard to write a program to tell the difference between different buttons on a specific handset. I’ll have a think about it and try to post some specific instructions here on the blog.

      Ted

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    • Loved you’re recent workshop in Kindle!

      Like

  4. Adam Turner says:

    hi

    would you ever consider doing a yearly workshop at good counsel college new ross

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Adam,

      I just spotted your comment here and realised I never replied to you! Sorry about that.

      The RoboSlam workshop works really well with school students, but to be honest it’s difficult to find the time to travel to schools around the country since most of the RoboSlam volunteer facilitators are teaching full-time in Dublin. Perhaps we could arrange for you to attend one of our future workshops in DIT Kevin St though?

      Ted

      Like

  5. Dave says:

    Hi. I’d love to be able to buy a complete kit somewhere for my son. I’ve checked and it looks like the only option is to buy individual components from the companies listed on your site. Is there anywhere that complete kits can be purchased from?

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Dave,

      I’m afraid you can’t currently order the whole kit in one go. Whenever we’re running a RoboSlam workshop ourselves, we buy the components from the suppliers listed above, so we’ve provided the information in case anyone else wants to do the same. However, there’s no doubt that it would be quite a bit of hassle for a single robot. We have been thinking about ways that we could provide a 1-click option for people who want to order a kit, but as a team of volunteers with limited time and resources, we haven’t yet identified a suitable solution.

      As a matter of interest, are you in Ireland or overseas?

      Ted

      Like

    • Jim Blair says:

      Hi Dave,

      We are going to run a local Roboslam workshop in our Kinsale coderdojo, so if you’re coming to this coming Friday’s dojo, just touch base with me.

      Thx, Jim Blair

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dave says:

    Hi Ted. I’m in Ireland (Kinsale). Thanks for the info. I’ve no problem buying the components from different sites. I was being lazy by seeing if there was one place that I could buy the complete kit.

    Regards,

    Dave

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Ah, I see! The whole RoboSlam team really enjoyed our recent visit to beautiful Kinsale for the Arts Festival, so I’m delighted to hear our workshop seems to have stimulated some lasting interest. I understand that Jim Blair in Kinsale Coder Dojo (who kindly hosted our Arts Festival workshop) may soon be organising a similar robot building workshop, so perhaps you would consider contacting him to see about joining in? Jim is a cool guy and, based on our RoboSlam experience, it’s very helpful to build your robot together with a group of people in case you run into any problems. Obviously, having someone on hand who has built the same robot design before is really useful, but it’s not just that – doing it in a group means you have replacement components on hand if something gets broken or burned out.

      Anyway, best of luck with it!

      Ted

      Like

  7. Rahul says:

    could you please tell me about the TIVA DK-TM4C123G development kit or TM4C123G Launchpad and its programming.

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  8. joeey459 says:

    Hi guys, Would just like to say thanks.
    Currently building a robot in Kinsale Coder Dojo, and I am really enjoying it.
    ~Joseph

    Like

  9. Evan Darcy says:

    Hi,

    I am currently involved in a project with similar objectives to RoboSlam.
    We could definitely use you your experience and expertise in further
    developing of our project.
    Would I be able to get an email address to describe our project to you guys?

    Like

  10. steve says:

    It is good to think about the students knowledge and about their education level meaning there by what is they reading. So here robotics for school students is providing very useful and awesome topics on robotic technology.

    Like

  11. shanemstudio says:

    Hey,

    Any more places for the workshop today in the DLR Lexicon?

    Shane

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Shane,

      Sorry, I’ve only just seen this now. All the booking for the DLR Lexicon workshops was organised through the library so we weren’t doing it ourselves, but I think it was fully booked. As it turned out, there actually was one free place in the Thursday workshop, but I think that was because someone who had booked didn’t show up.Anyway, sorry for the delay getting back to you!

      Ted

      Like

  12. Kevin says:

    Have you a document with step by step instructions. I have the pact but I want my son to do it.

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Do you mean that you have an unbuilt RoboSlam kit? If so, which instructions are appropriate depends on the version of the kit that you have. As a matter of interest, where did you get your kit? Normally, we supply the kits in the workshops and the participants build them on the spot so it’s unusual to have an unbuilt kit. The instructions for the current Arduino Nano version of the robot can be accessed via the “Instructions” link on the main menu bar at the top of this web page. Instructions for each previous version can be found in the “Older Versions” menu, also on the menu bar at the top of this page.

      If you can tell me where you got the kit or what’s in it I’ll do my best to point you towards the right instructions.

      Ted

      Like

      • Kberry says:

        Hi Ted, a fellow member of your team gave one to his nephew my son for Christmas to encourage him to get involved.

        Kevin

        Like

  13. Deirdriu says:

    Hi,

    I am looking to contact you directly about booking your group to do some workshops. I met yee at the Makers Day on Saturday, which was fantastic. You can contact me at dmcquaid@monaghancoco.ie
    Kind regards,
    Deirdriu McQuaid
    Monaghan County Library Services

    Like

  14. megan says:

    is there any way i could connect the breadboard and the battery to a bell (such as a doorbell?) instead of connecting it to the motors for the wheel so that when the light sensor sees black it rings the bell rather than making wheels move?

    Like

    • batchloaf says:

      Hi Megan,

      Short answer: yes.

      It should be pretty straightforward to do this, but there are a coupe of things to take into account.

      1.) If you’re using the standard RoboSlam circuit (including 6V battery pack), each motor sees about 4 or 5 volts between it’s terminals. A little bit of voltage is dropped in the SN754410NE driver chip, so that’s why the motor doesn’t see the full 6V. You’ll need a doorbell ringer that works at this voltage level.

      2.) If you’re using the standard RoboSlam circuit and unmodified code, one motor normally changes direction depending whether the colour sensor sees black or white. In other words, the motor that changes directions sees roughly 5V on white and -5V on black – no matter what colour, the motor is always turning. However, what you probably want with the doorbell is either 5V or 0V. You could either put a diode in series with the motor so that current can only flow in one direction, or else you can connect the first wire of the doorbell to one of the motor outputs and the other wire to ground (0V).

      Hopefully that helps! Let me know if I need to explain more.

      Ted

      Like

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