Qtechknow is on a roll with this Robot Obstacle Course

As we’re sure you already know, 13-year-old CEO and whizkid Quin Etnyre has already become quite an accomplished Maker changing the world — one Atmel powered board at a time. During Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, the young Maker hosted the “Qtechknow Olympics” robotic challenge featuring ArduinoXBee and of course, his award-winning FuzzBots. Quin’s latest project, an obstacle course that aspires to educate others around NFC, RFID and Arduino, has since then been published on Instructables.


The obstacle course is a culmination of his original FuzzBot design, a Pololu ZumoBot chassis kit, a SparkFun NFC Shield, XBee Series 1 wireless modules, and some Adafruit NeoPixel sticks and rings. Quin’s build features three parts:

  • The Hacked FuzzBot: An adaptation of a fully-autonomous, Arduino Uno (ATmega328) powered “Mini Roomba,” the robot is comprised of an XBee module, NeoPixel stock, and a hacked NFC shield.
  • The Controller: Created with an open source Bukobo 3D printer, the enclosure (whose design can be found here) houses an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), another XBee shield, a joystick and a NeoPixel ring, giving it the “full effect” with a flashing LEDs.
  • NFC tags: These are affixed throughout the course.

As you’ve seen in the Atmel booth at a number of Maker Faires — Bay Area, Washington, D.C. and soon New York — the impressive project has won a number of Editor’s Choice Awards, not to mention the Maker of Merit Award at the White House Maker Faire.


Quin’s primary goal was to create a fun game that had recorded the number of times a robot drove over a series of NFC tags laid across a flat surface, i.e. a table. Points are shown in the form of blinking lights that illuminate when the device goes over the sensors, keeping track of the score.

As with all DIY projects, there is always some degree of trial-and-error. Quin highlights some of this latest challenges and modifications event-by-event on his page, but says it “works perfect now!” For a step-by-step breakdown on how to create your own robotic obstacle course, you can visit Qtechknow’s official Instructables post here.


A World Maker Faire calls for a world-record breaker. Think you’re up for the challenge? Be sure to swing by our booth and see if you can beat 24 points in 30 seconds.

During a recent interview with Quin, he expressed, “To be a Maker, you have to think outside of the box, and come up with new ideas on your own.” His new robot obstacle course is certainly a testament to that.

Through his latest and greatest innovations, the 13-year-old continues to open up many doors in the Maker community, while meeting a number of influential people — including the likes of Will.i.a.m., Bill Nye the Science Guy and Massimo Banzi.


Don’t forget to join the Atmel team in Queens later this month for the 5th Annual World Maker Faire. Undoubtedly, this year will be amazing as an expected 750+ Makers and 85,000+ attendees head to the New York Hall of Science to see the latest DIY gizmos and gadgets, as well as AVR Man in the flesh. Once again a Silversmith Sponsor of the event, Atmel will put the spotlight on Arduino and Arduino-related projects. See you soon!

3 thoughts on “Qtechknow is on a roll with this Robot Obstacle Course

  1. Pingback: Preview: World Maker Faire New York 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  2. Pingback: Preview: Maker Faire Rome | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  3. Pingback: A look back at Maker Faire Rome 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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