When I first became interested in robots, I looked to the Internet to get started. Here I found a really excellent tutorial from the Society of Robots. Following their instructions, I built my first robot. It was a 2-wheeled Photovore – it followed the light. Through this tutorial, I was introduced to:
- Microcontrollers: The instructions called for an Amtel ATmega8
- Servo Motors: The instructions guided me through modifying them for continuous rotation
- Photoresistors: Used as the robot “eyes” to detect light
- HDPE, or High Density PolyEthylene – rigid plastic that is easy to cut to meet any need.
I had done some soldering in the past, but for this project, I opted for a solderless breadboard.
Quick and easy – this project took me only about 20 hours after all the parts arrived. I was hooked – what a great way to apply simple sense-and-respond logic.
This project really inspired me to learn more about microcontrollers. Again, I turned to the Internet and found an excellent tutorial about programming microcontrollers from NerdKits. Using this tutorial, I established a solid understanding of the power of the microcontroller which inspired me to use it on many future robots and projects. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the Arduino products and found an even better way to work with microcontrollers.