In our quest to promote robotics to a wider audience, we began working on an autonomous robotic development platform for school students (age 10+). Since majority of the schools/ students do not have access to computers in India, we had to develop a robotic platform which could teach them about logic and programming without the use of computers.
LogiBot meets these demands by use of what we call, ‘hardwired programming’. In other words, the users interconnect different logic blocks, delay blocks, sensors and actuators to build a simple autonomous behavior of their robot. This approach does away with computers yet introduces the students to its underlying concepts.
Designing LogiBot has been the most challenging assignment undertaken by me at Thinklabs. It required a detailed study of ergonomics, robot-user interaction and product design.
LogiBot has a symmetric round shape with pluggable sensors all around its circumference. Two dc geared motors drive the robot in differential configuration. An activity board is provided on the top that allows user to interconnect various logic gates, sensors, flip-flops, timing blocks and motors.
The robot is equipped with several sensors including: line sensor, proximity sensor, sound sensor, tactile sensor and light sensor. But due to its limited number of logic gates, only 4 sensors can be effectively used at a time.
User can create single or combination of behaviors like edge avoiding, wall following or following light but turning away from loud sounds, etc. All these behaviors require no more than six interconnections making it easy to construct new behaviors.
Here are a few sample behaviors that can be created using “only” logic gates. The videos were taken from an old dusty camcorder…the only one available at that point :(