LocoRobo offers a modern, cutting-edge robotics kit and a technology-rigorous learning experience.
Drexel University professor Pramod Abichandani and a team of three undergraduate students have developed LocoRobo, a low-cost robot capable of being wirelessly programmed with minimal to no effort. Born out of his own frustrations with bots, Abichandani aspires to advance programming and robotics education for everyone — from first-graders to experienced Makers — by combining a world-class programming ecosystem with a high-quality device.
Abichandani hopes that educators and students alike will be able to utilize the ATmega32U4 based LocoRobo to increase awareness and excitement around STEM. While younger Makers can wirelessly control their robot through the companion mobile app, experienced developers can use various programming languages.
“We have developed open-source application programming interface (APIs) in C, Python, Matlab and Node.js which will allow you to dive into programming LocoRobo beyond the apps. Using these languages you will realize a higher level of control of the LocoRobo robot. While working with our APIs, you will be exposed to several robotics exercises and concepts including multi-robot motion planning and multi-sensor fusion.
As seen inside the Atmel CES booth, the little WALL-E-like gadget is equipped with two wheels, sensors for eyes and antennas in the form of ears. Recently launched on Indiegogo, the Arduino-compatible LocoRobo comes in two separate models: the LocoBasiX and the LocoXtreme. While each possess the same custom main board, status LEDs, differential drive, ultrasponic sensors, lithium-ion battery and BLE, the LocoXtreme model boasts a number of additional features such as motor encoders, an on-board accelerometer and a gyroscopic sensor for those seeking some more sophisticated movement.
Abichandani hopes that every school throughout America (and the world) will one day have a solid robotics program. And, LocoRobo may be able to make that dream possible.