The iBot kit is a general purpose robotic platform based around the Philips 89V51RD2 microcontroller. This kit forms a part of the two day workshop on autonomous robotics conducted by Thinklabs, named iTRx.

The robot’s controller board is expandable having 8 sensor ports, 4 channels of motor control, a serial link, onboard LCD, switches, buzzer and LEDs. The kit also contains two pairs of IR proximity and edge detecting sensor modules. Several autonomous behaviors can be programmed into this robot, eg., path tracing, obstacle/edge avoiding, SUMO robotics, wall following, maze solving, etc.

The Design
The kit was designed specifically keeping in mind the needs of an amateur student (undergraduate) roboteer. An 8051 based controller was chosen since it forms the backbone of academic curriculum adopted by all Indian universities.

Apart from the given sensor modules, the user also has the option of adding additional sensors like sound, ultrasonic and light. A special care was taken to insure the kit was modular in nature and things could be easily added or taken out simply with a help of a screw driver. The programming of the robot is done in C language. We use a combination of SDCC and an in-house developed IDE named TRI-C.

The Workshop

The iTRIx workshop focuses on teaching students about the basics of autonomous robotics. The 16Hrs workshop spanning over 2 days covers a wide range of topics from actuators, sensors, and mechanics to microcontrollers and programming.

The workshop has reached more than 4000 students since its conception in August 2006.