Modularity changes the way we build things by separating and combining components. In robotics, the modularity is everywhere, or it has to be. Denmark’s company LEGO with its Mindstorms kits learns us a lot about modularity and how to combine the same components to build different robots.
Based on the same concept, a small team of Russian engineers try to re-build what is already build using the power of magnetism. The Scratch Duino is released under open-source license and is designed as a rapid prototyping platform with a lot of flexibility on the hardware and software side.
With a modular and customizable body, the Scratch Duino uses magnets to put the pieces in the right place. This project remembers me by the MOSS prototyping platform which uses magnetic blocks to build different structures.
Using an Arduino microcontroller, the engineers try to simplify the project and make it available on a large scale. How? The Arduino IDE is already used by a large community of makers while the Arduino board is one of the popular embedded systems. The support of a large community is priceless.
What differentiate the Scratch Duino from the other kits? The kit is different by how the sensors are interfaced with the body. The magnetic-mount parts are not a new concept, but in this project the implementation is different by any other kit. The magnetic-mount sensors can be attached and interfaced with the robot brain through the magnets. Each sensor is protected by a plastic shield which can be easily hacked and changed with a custom one.
The basic version of the Scratch Duino kit includes seven sensors: two light sensors, an infrared sensor, two reflective object sensors, and two contact sensors. Even there are available at least seven sensors, on the platform can be attached simultaneously five sensors.
For a maximum customization, the body of the kit is available in transparent plastic, colored plastic, or in plywood style look.