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I was 2 times at the French robotic cup in 1999 and 2000, and I am very happy to see that building robots is a lot easier than in the past. I remember me playing with ADA/C++, encoding wheels, ultrasonic waves, Infrared line detection, motor steppers...time goes bye too fast :-(
Parallax is selling a small robot : Boe-Bot ($199 powered by a Basic stamp) which is very similar in what the Essaim team has build in the past.
Our design in 1999 (rank 5th against 183 competitors)
As advertised on their pages, there is a Compas (a low-cost direction sensor, sensing 8 direction) sold by Parallax There is also a lot more modules available...I think I will buy one or two just for fun!
Parallax also sell an interesting kit called the M-Sorter. It really sorts M&M candies, and even Skittles by color! See the M-Sorter in action here and buy it here
I already saw this at the french robotic cup in 1999, here is Your chance to buy a mature kit: the Xport 2.0. You can now create amazing robot creations with a Game Boy and some LEGOs....The new Xport 2.0 turns the Game Boy Advance (GBA) into a powerful embedded development system. 4 closed-loop back-EMF motor controllers16 digital sensor inputs8 analog sensor inputsIn-system NiCd, NiMH battery chargerBattery voltage monitorComprehensive open-source software Optional Bluetooth and other accessoriesCombine with a game boy …
At the Space and Naval Warfare Systems, 5 robots type are under development:The hunter-killer military robots Scouts buildings, tunnels and caves.Hauls tons of weapons and gear and performs searches and reconnaissance.Drone in flightSecurity guard, will soon be able to launch drones to conduct surveillance, psychological warfare and other missions.More Here (NYTimes) …