Plugging into robotics development

Learning about embedded systems is best accomplished by building embedded systems, and few educational resources facilitate this process as well as a robotics system where students can get immediate visual feedback on the results of code execution. But not every educational environment is equipped to deal with the hardware side of robotics. Texas Instruments hopes to bring the advantages of robotics systems to any classroom with its TI-RSLK MAX robotics kit, the latest member of the TI Robotics System Learning Kit (TI-RSLK) family.

Designed for solderless assembly, the TI-RSLK MAX includes a TI SimpleLink MSP432P401R microcontroller LaunchPad Development Kit that students plug into the base TI-RSLK chassis board, which comes with power devices, dual motor drivers, and sensor interface connectors. The kit also includes a line sensor array and bumper switch assembly – all designed to be quickly plugged into the chassis (Figure 1).

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Figure. The TI TI-RSLK MAX robotics kit electronics components include a TI SimpleLink MSP432P401R microcontroller LaunchPad Development Kit, chassis board, sensors, and motor assembly. (Source: Texas Instruments)

Along with the chassis itself, the kit includes all the pieces needed to handle-assemble the robot (Figure 2). In fact, rather than providing every fully assembled sub-components, TI gives students an opportunity to learn about the structure and mechanics of mechanical pieces like ball caster assemblies and wheel assemblies.

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Figure 2. The TI TI-RSLK MAX robotics kit comes ready to assemble. (Source: Texas Instruments)

Educators can use the kit as the basis of their own coursework or build on a set of TI teaching modules. Starting with an introduction to running code on the TI LaunchPad, the TI curriculum provides 20 modules, each comprising lecture and lab videos, that review each of the key elements of robotics systems design and development (Figure 3).

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Figure 3. TI offers 20 modules with lecture and lab videos covering key aspects of robotic systems development. (Source: Texas Instruments)

The kit requires six AA batteries, which are not included in the kit. TI recommends use of rechargeable, nickel metal hydride,1300mAH, 1.2V, AA batteries. For further development with wireless connectivity, TI also recommends its SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3100 wireless network processor BoosterPack plug-in module CC3100BOOST or TI SimpleLink Bluetooth low energy CC2650 Module BoosterPack Plug-in Module BOOSTXL-CC2650MA. Neither of the these wireless plug-in modules are included in the TI TI-RSLK MAX robotics kit.

The TI-RSLK-MAX robotics kit is available now for $109 from the TI store. TI provides a short video overview as well as a number of more detailed videos including one demonstrating each step of the kit hand-assembly process.

1 thought on “Plugging into robotics development

  1. “It is very interesting to see TI entering the educational robotics market. Hopefully it will be similar to TI entering the educational calculator market in the '90s. A standard kit like TI-RSLK seems an ideal platform. I've been waiting for something like

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