I was perusing Instructables one fine winter Saturday, when my 8 yo son came in and peered over my shoulder and saw this: https://www.instructables.com/id/RC-Lego-Car/
by sath02. My son is a huge fan of all things Lego, and loves robots and cars, and this was right up his alley. He immediately put it on his Christmas list, thinking it was a "real" product that came in a box, and since I had been looking for some inspiration to take on an Arduino project, it was a perfect joint gift for he and I to share over the holidays.
This is my first 'ible. It's an Arduino-controlled Lego RC car using XBee units for the "RC" part. The idea was shamelessly stolen from sath02's excellent 'ible, attributed above. We began and finished the project over winter break 2012, and I've been sitting on these pictures for about a year, and have finally found some time to get them posted.
I won't be providing a step-by-step instructional, but I will be highlighting what were some of our key challenges, and what our solutions were for them.
Here are the parts we used, in no particular order:
- LEGO Technic Dune Duster #8207
- LEGO Technic Power Pack #8720
- Arduino UNO R3
- Sparkfun Ardumoto Motor Driver Shield
- Sub-micro Servo ROB-09065 (Sparkfun)
- 2x XBee 1mW Trace Antenna - Series 1 (802.15.4)
- XBee Shield
- XBee Explorer USB
- Various terminals and cabling
- Miscellaneous LEGO bits (90% of the parts came from the kits, we just needed 2 or 3 pieces to fill in)
- 2x RadioShack 3 AAA battery holders
Most of the code was written by myself, and while I tried to pique my son's interest in it, a lot of it was over his head, though I think he got the basics. He's already been through the SparkFun Inventor's Kit with me, so he knew the basics of circuits and motors and the like, the code work was just too tedious for him.
The one thing I took away from this, besides spending some quality time with my son and building something really cool, was not to underestimate what children can grasp at any age. Don't let the "recommended age" guidelines put you off of introducing your kids to a learning experience like this. You're planting seeds for a lifetime of discovery and innovation.
And with that, on to the good stuff.