Building an Analog Line Follower
Inspired by the community forum we had at the Campus Party in Berlin I went on and created a little robot build course for kids in the age of 12 to 16.
Since building a robot needs skills from several fields of knowledge and this knowledge might not there in this kids brains I thought it might be sufficient to build a robot that is based on simple electronics and simple mechanics only. No software, no microcontroller, no physics.
So the goal of the course was to get inspired about robotics and learn by doing by building ALF.
Looking for the place
There are a lot of possible places to have a robot course. The Jugendhaus (youth center) was my selection since there are a lot of kids that may be inspired by what we here at LMR do. And they still have to find out what profession they want to have.
So why not inspire and involve them and build an analog line follower.
The chief of that center was on it from the very first moment. He said he never had a course like this in his youth center. Altough he thought that not that many kids may attend - but this was fine for me since the fewer we are the more personal the coaching is going to be.
A Little Advertisement
To make shure the kids know about the robot lab I created a poster that got spread in the youth center so all
kids can take notice of the event.
Preparing the example
Since I find it good to show what we are going to make I prepared mine and made shure it works.
Getting Tools and Material
To make shure the kids can solder I went on and gathered some solder-stations and third-hands
from the shop of the electronic apprentices of the company I work for.
But most tools came from my lab.
The Robot Lab: Everybody can build a robot.
All packed and hooked up to our small cargo cart.
Up until now I had no idea how many kids attend this robot lab. If one or two kids
attend that would be fine. So I was quite astonished to find about eight kids wanting
to make this little robot. Lucky me that Lumi gave me more ALFs that I asked
After some introduction about electricity in general, LDRs, resistors and motors the kids
started to make. Great that my collegue Samuel, currently apprentice as Elektroniker
helped me to coach each kid on how to solder.
One dad, Mani, helped too and kept his eyes on his son's making. Great to see a
father and his son work together in such a nice way.
All others continued the making and enjoyed to see that something emerges from this
set of parts.
Three hours later the robot lab ended. Due to a mistake with the transistors (Lumi - I forgot
about the different transistors per Darlington) only one robot was finished.
Using this robot we could play and have fun turning ALF into a Light Follower, Shadow Seeker or
Line Follower. The kids played with it and the noise level rise - they all had fun.
So did I.
So my boy and I packed all together and went home. Next wednesday we are going
to have another session and hopefully finish all ALFs.
School Projects Using Robot Technology