The BoeBot was my first ever experience in the field of robotics. It came with a booklet that gave ‘lessons’ that started with a simple “Hello world” program and went all the way to being able to navigate a room using infrared sensors. It was a great means to introduce me to the different aspects of robotics (programing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, etc.). The downside to this particular project was that unless your favorite programming language is Visual Basic and/or you have an interest in electrical engineering, then once the final lesson is complete, there isn’t much more one can do before it losses its appeal.
The most advanced activity that I did with the BoeBot was program it to navigate a room using two infrared sensors. While it was fun to watch it move about, there were a lot of issues with it due to the simplicity of the coding: the BoeBot would often bump into obstacles that it should have sensed. Through process of elimination, it was determined that a combination of background light and surface type was causing the problem. bThe BoeBot’s infrared sensors performed better in darker environments and had an easier time detecting some surfaces (e.g. dark cardboard) over others (e.g. wood).
This was my first robotics project, so there are a lot of things I can do now that I couldn’t before. If I had the time, I could probably figure out a way to reduce the problem I had with the sensors.