Any idea has a minor importance, it matters much more the implementation. In robotics, is not enough to build a low-cost robotic platform if it doesn’t matter to someone else. The goal for a successful beginner kit is to eliminate the complexity and build an affordable platform for engineering and programming.
The Edison is what I expected from an robot platform with open-source software. The design eliminates the complexity and creates a programmable LEGO-compatible wheeled kit that generally involves some input, while the process of telling the robot how to perform a task is simple and intuitive. The compatibility with LEGO block is a special feature that allows you to build something new.
You don’t have to spend days giving instructions to the robot or to learn electronics and how to work with an infrared sensor. You can program the robot to navigate and detect obstacles, follow a line or stay within a border, follow a light source, play beeps and musical tones, respond to sounds, move in any direction or communicate with another Edison robot through infrared light.
The robot is engineered and targeted for kids and schools. Even so, it hosts a wide range of sensors including infrared, line tracking sensor, light sensor, infrared receiver and transmitter, piezo sounder, sound sensor, red LED lights, a microcontroller, and two wheels powered by two motors with variable speeds.
Let’s take a moment and investigate how the Edison could be programmed. The programming process is simple and can be performed even you’re a Windows, Mac, or Linux user. The open-source software form a program involving drag and drop gestures. Similar to LEGO Mindstorms software, the virtual blocks of code can be added to a diagram to build the complete program for a functional robot.
The connection between the PC and the robot is done via the supplied EdComm cable, which requires the headphone jack of your computer.
If you don’t have any skills in programming or you don’t want to control the robot through program instructions, you have several other options including the ability of the robot to read barcodes able to activate pre-programmed features. In this area can be built in minutes a program to follow a line or obstacle avoidance.
The price of the robot is one of the key-features and is around $37 USD.