The Girl’s First Robot

by Ben N on February 17, 2015

Recently, I started learning about Arduino – a popular hobbyist microprocessor board. I’d like to use it for home automation and several other projects. In a nut-shell, an Arduino lets you have sensors in, process data, and output signals back to the real world. It’s great for all sorts of things, including robots.

My four-year-old daughter, Sophia, is getting into Legos, and we have a few about. I was also thinking that I’d love a nice simple, cheap, robot prototyping kit – something modular and easy to change. In some ways, Legos are PERFECT for that. However, there is nothing intentionally designed for interfacing Arduinos, servos, and motors. At least nothing as cheap and easy as hot-glue and rubber bands.

I hot-glued a few Legos to the bottom of the plastic that held the arduino and bread board. I also hot-glued a lego to either end of a servo and to a wood clothes-pin.

This let the little girl and I attach Lego wheels to the servo, and the servo to the board for steering control. On the front, we attached a battery operated gear motor with a pair of wheels to the board using a couple of rubber bands. With Legos already on the board, we could snap on the Lego glued to the clothes-pin. That would hold the marker to make this robot into a “Draw-Bot”

Once all together and tested, Sophie decided that Uni-Kitty would become the brave pilot to control the robot.

I rolled out some old paper and taped it to the floor so that the robot would have a place to draw.

Now, instead of having a small child to scribble on the wall, she and I build robots together and make them do the scribbling for us. But don’t take my word for it, here is Sophie, to tell you all about our project!

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