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.

Parallax Boe-Bot
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

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