Building your own Robot

Build your own robot

So you’re interested in building your very own robot? Well look no further. Making a robot can be a lot easier than you may think… 
legged robot
To make it easier to find the robot building guide right for you, we have split this page into two sections. The first provides detailed guides for building your first robot, this is ideal for the beginner. The second section is for the more advanced users who already have a knowledge of building electronic circuits.

  1. Simple ‘non-intelligent’ Robots
  2. ‘Intelligent’ Robots



Simple ‘non-intelligent’ Robots
User: Beginner / Intermediate
Simple Robots are often refereed to as BEAM robots. BEAM robotics is the study and development of simple biologically inspired robots. The word ‘BEAM’ is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. BEAM robots generally use analogue circuits (instead of digital), replacing complex microprocessors with simple voltage comparators, which are used to interpret sensor readings and decide on the robots actions. There are many benefits and drawbacks associated with not using a microprocessor. The benefits are: speed of execution, reduced power consumption and ease of testing. The major drawback is: difficulty in making decisions. 

Books

JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology
Robotics, Mechatronics, and Artificial Intelligence: Experimental Circuit Blocks for Designers

Although there are many good guides to building robots on the web, we would encourage anyone who is interested in building a robot or learning more about the inner workings, to purchase one of the many brilliant robotics books available. For beginners we would recommend the books: Robotics, Mechatronics, and Artificial Intelligence: Experimental Circuit Blocks for Designers (2001) by Newton C. Braga and JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology (2002) by David Hrynkiw & Mark Tilden. For more information, checkout our books page.


Online guides

Robot TypeDescriptionGuide Type
VariousA guide to building a number of simple Robots – Excellent beginners guide![PDF – 1.5MB]
Solar powered wheeledEasy to follow guide for building your very own sun-powered racing Robot[PDF – 1.3MB]
Solar powered popperLight-seeking and obstacle-avoiding Robot guide[PDF – 2.4MB]
Night LightThis is not a Robot. However, it does demonstrate many techniques needed to build solar powered circuits[PDF – 1.3MB]
Miller Solar-engineThis is not a Robot. However, it does demonstrate many techniques needed to build solar powered circuits[PDF – 0.1MB]



Building ‘Intelligent’ Robots
User: Intermediate / Advanced
In this context ‘intelligent’ robots are those that have the ability to sense the environment, make decisions and then perform actions based on those decisions. This control methodology is often refereed to as Sense-Plan-Act

Books

Intermediate Robot Building (2010) By David Cook

Although there are many good guides to building robots on the web, we would encourage anyone who is interested in building a robot or learning more about the inner workings, to purchase one of the many brilliant robotics books available. For intermediate / advanced roboticists we would recommend the book: Intermediate Robot Building (2010) By David Cook. For more information, checkout our books page.


Online guides

Robot TypeDescriptionGuide Type
Wheeled (PICAXE-28X1
Microcontroller)
Lets make Robot’s ‘How to make your first Robot guide’[PDF – 3MB]
Wheeled (Optional Microcontroller)Solarbotics’ Mini Sumo Robot[PDF – 2MB]
Wheeled (ATmega8
Microcontroller)
Society of Robots’ ‘Step-by-step Robot Tutorial’Website
Arduino MicrocontrollerGetting started with the Arduino MicrocontrollerWebsite
Arduino MicrocontrollerDriving motors using an Arduino MicrocontrollerWebsite
Pic MicrocontrollerHow to use a Pic Microcontroller – Getting Started[PDF – 0.6MB]
Pic MicrocontrollerHow to use a Pic Microcontroller – Basic Commands[PDF – 1.1MB]
Pic MicrocontrollerHow to use a Pic Microcontroller – Interfacing Circuits[PDF – 0.3MB]



Robot Software
User: All
Remember, if you are unable to buy a robot kit or the bits required to make your own, don’t worry! The Robot Software page describes a number of free software tools, which you can download and get started experimenting with robots today. 

Click here to read more about Robot Software


Robot Kits
User: All
One of the best ways to learn about robotics is to be hands-on and build your own robot. Below you will find a list of robot kits that we have carefully selected and reviewed. For all those new to robotics, we would highly recommend starting with the Lego Mindstorms NXT. There is no other robot available, which is both easy to get started with for beginners and versatile enough, to allow more experienced Roboticist to adapt and expand the robots capabilities. 

Click here to read more about the available Robot Kits

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