Enables robot’s sensor and motor control through a smartphone
T&M (time and materials)
The solution controls the robot’s sensors and motors through smartphone commands. The product is geared toward educational institutions that teach programming to children. The kit includes over 530 plastic parts, open source hardware design, firmware, and a library of parts that can be printed on a 3D printer.
Softeq helped the client create a Lego-like programmable electronic kit that will allow users to assemble robots and program their logic via a smartphone.
The client wanted to create an electronic kit that would allow users to assemble, program and control robots with a smartphone. The product targets educational institutions that teach programming to children.
The kits currently available on the market are quite expensive for schools to incorporate into the educational process. The client’s idea was to create a new product that would provide the same functionality at a lower price.
The solution controls the robot’s sensors and motors through commands received from a smartphone.
To assemble the robot and prepare it for manipulation, the user first needs:
The robot has two brain types: a high-level brain, which is responsible for communication with the smartphone, a low-level brain, which controls the robot periphery.
We implemented a set of interfaces that allow users to connect light and proximity sensors, an accelerometer, and a bump switch. The solution also supports DC and servo motors with attachable wheels and manipulators, which let the robot to rotate and move around. The custom-developed firmware helps connect complex sensors and motors and has been designed to support scalability — programming additional features on demand.
To display device status, we implemented two types of LED indicators. The ‘Status’ LED shows the battery status and the ‘Ring’ LED serves as a user interface, which is user-configurable and displays the program execution (e.g. the robot is connected to the smartphone).
To simplify the design, we separated the motor and brain power systems. The solution now contains two batteries – one for powering the robot brain (rechargeable via USB) and one for powering the motors (replaceable). To enable audio playback, we connected the audio amplifier and speaker to the Raspberry Pi board.
Softeq developed a protocol for communication between the mobile phone and the Raspberry Pi board that allows users to program and control the robot with a smartphone. The client’s team subsequently used the protocol to develop their mobile application.
As the customer's goal was to make the product affordable, there were tight budget constraints. Therefore, we had to ensure that the cost of the product, including the schematics with all components on the board, enclosure parts, and services at the assembly plant, did not exceed the allocated budget. After several iterations, we managed to optimize the cost of the electronic components and plastic parts without cutting the robot's functionality.