Introduction: KeyBot: Educational Robot Kit
Been a while since I shared an article, but I am back again with another instructable. In this post, I want to introduce you to a STEM Robot kit by Keyestudio. Here I have shared: How to assemble the bot, set up the environment and program it. So without wasting anymore time, lets get right into it.
Here are the things you will need for the build:
- Keyestudio's KeyBot. (Amazon US / Amazon EU)
- Needle Nose Pliers. (Amazon US / Amazon EU)
- Two 18650 Batteries. (Amazon US / Amazon EU)
That's all you will be needing.
Step 1: What Is KeyBot?
The first thing that might come in mind is what really is a KeyBot?.
Well KeyBot is an educational Robotics kit by Keyestudio which is marketed towards students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education.
The kit consists of all the parts required to assemble a 2 wheel drive robot along with couple of sensors. This Robot is controlled with an Arduino compatible development board which can be programmed using Arduino IDE or Graphical programming interface via Mixly.
In the box you will find a well put together manual with images and instructions. Along with following components:
- Metal chassis.
- Two geared motors with wheels.
- A caster wheel.
- 2 types of battery holders. (AA and 18650, batteries are not included)
- A microcontroller board.
- A line follower sensor.
- An ultrasonic sensor.
- A single LED module.
- 3 RJ11 cables.
- HC-06 Bluetooth module
- All the required Screws, Nuts and Stand off's.
- An Allan wrench and a Phillips head screwdriver.
The kit provides everything you will need to build the robot although I felt the need to use a needle nose pliers for holding the nut at some places.
Step 2: Assembly:
I recommend you go through the manual as it is well put together. I will share how I assembled mine.
- First thing I did was attach the four 40mm spacers on the chassis using 8mm hex screws. It was pretty easy and I did not require any tool for that. These spacers will hold the Controller board later.
- Next I attached the motors to the chassis using the 30mm round-head screws and secured it using 4 nuts.
- Then I Mounted the Ultrasonic sensor using 8mm hex screws. The senor mounts in the front and the screws are secured in place with nuts which goes around the back. Here I faced some problems as I was not able to hold the nuts due to the extended part made to attach the caster wheel. To overcome this problem I used a needle nose pliers to hold the screws from behind and then tighten them with the Allan wrench.
- Next I mounted the Line sensor and Caster wheel. They go in together at the bottom. I placed the Line sensor first aligning the holes and then placed the caster wheel on top.
Again, fastening the nuts was not simple as I could not reach under there so used the pliers again.
- Next I attached the battery holder, here you have a choice whether to go for the AA holder or 18650 holder. I chose the 18650 holder as I already have those laying around and they last longer.
The battery holder is placed at the back and it is supposed to be secured using two 8mm flat head screws. Here again pliers are required to hold the nut. After screwing and fastening the first screw I realized the second hole was not aligned with the hole on battery holder. I removed the screw and tried to align the holes but couldn't so I had to settle down for single screw which does not work the best.
- Then I moved on to install the control board. For this, I used the 15+6mm stand off's. First I paced the controller on top of the 40mm pillars and then screwed the 15+6mm stand off's on top. There is a acrylic panel in the kit which is covered with paper, I removed the paper and placed the panel on top of the spacers and used 10mm hex screws to secure it. This panel has labels for the blocks. Refer the image above to get a better look.
With that been done, The robot is fully assembled. Now we need to make the connections.
Step 3: Connections:
Connections are pretty simple, First plug in the motors into the JST connectors. Next plug in Bluetooth module.
I used the 10CM RJ11 cable to connect ultrasonic sensor to A0 and 20CM cable to connect the Line sensor to A1. The battery holder pin is plugged into the JST connector near the on/off switch.
Refer the manual or the image above for more information.
For a more detailed assemble you can refer to the Keyestudio's Wiki page here.
Now all we need to do is program the controller and power up the robot!
Step 4: Programming:
To program KeyBot, you can use Arduino IDE which is a bit complicated and requires basic programming knowledge. But if you are a beginner or a student getting into the world of robotics you can use graphical programming to write your codes.
For graphical programming you will need to install Mixly IDE. You can download it from here. Just scroll down and download the software for your system. I recommend installing the Arduino IDE before as it installs all the required drivers and you can tinker around to get familiar with the environment.
- Extract the zip file and open Mixly.exe. You will an application which is in Chinese.
- To change language, click on the drop down list menu on the top right corner and select your preferred language.
- Refer the image above to get an idea of what the interface looks like and general information of the UI.
- You can learn more about Mixly here.
Here I followed the instructions to make the Robot follow a black line on white surface. One problem I noticed with the instructions is that they show the logic and loops before the functions which is incorrect as you cannot write the loop without any prior functions.
So first I made the functions for the motors that are front, back, left, right and stop. These functions will be used for all robotic applications as these are the fundamental movement functions.
After that I made the loop which if and else nest. Once the code is completed, connect the controller to your computer using the USB cable and select the com port, then upload the code.
You can download the code from below:
Step 5: My Review:
So I have been playing around with the kit for a while now and until now I have successfully made a Line Follower and an obstacle avoiding car.
The kit provides everything one needs to get started. Assembling is fairly easy. It is a great kit for students who are looking to get started with programming and robotics.
I have been working with Arduino and similar microcontrollers for a long time and I am a big fan of Arduino IDE. I prefer programming in C or C++, but it is quite difficult to understand, especially for children. Graphical block programming is very useful as it is easy to understand and teach. I tried Mixly and I will have to say it is amazing. The drag and drop interface makes it easy and more understandable to beginners who have no prior programming experience.
So over all I really like this kit and would love to experiment more with it to make different projects.
In next instructable I will share more details on how to program different features for this bot.
I hope you like this instructable and review. If you have any questions, feel free to comment down bellow.
You can buy your own KeyBot kit from Amazon: Keyestudio's KeyBot