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Board of Education Shield (for Arduino) + ROBOTC for Arduino

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A few months ago Parallax, makers of the popular STAMP microprocessor, released a new Board of Education (BoE) Shield for the Arduino. With ROBOTC for Arduino in the beta stage and a full-fledged release on the near horizon (expected third quarter 2012), the friendly folks at Parallax were kind enough to send us one of their Robotics Shield Kits (for Arduino) to prototype and test with.

Top and bottom views of Board of Education for Arduino. Note the header spacing on bottom side.

The kit includes a full Boe-Bot kit, an BoE Shield for Arduino, a Boeboost module, and a bag of basic electronic components (resistors, capacitors, microswitches, etc). In order to get the kit completely up and running, users will also need a compatible Arduino, a USB A to USB B cable, a compatible coding program (ROBOTC for Arduino), and either four (five with the BoeBoost) AA batteries or a compatible AC adapter.

From top left clockwise: Boe-Bot kit (we had assembled ours before taking pictures, hence some components being installed); Board of Education for Arduino; hardware kit; Boe-Booster; electronics components kit; Parallax screwdriver.

Once assembled, the Arduino can be programmed in ROBOTC for Arduino. Besides the pin layout and a few minor tweaks (on/off switch for servo power, for example), the Board of Education Shield is functionally  the same as the Arduino platform so programs coded for the Arduino are directly compatible with this kit.

Fully assembled Bot-Bot with Boe-Booster installed.

Even in its early stages, the ROBOTC for Arduino beta supports many of the features needed to code fully autonomous robots (with the applicable sensors installed). It is also continually upgraded and updated so that by the time the full version launches (expected third quarter 2012), users will be able to unlock the full potential of their robotic kits.

Board of Education with Arduino Uno attached.

All in all, this is a solid introductory kit into the world of robotics. Combined with the ROBOTC programming language, it makes for one powerful, flexible, user-friendly platform.

Fully assembled Bot-Bot with Boe-Booster, Board of Education for Arduino, and Arduino Uno installed.

Written by John Watson

June 25th, 2012 at 4:32 pm