Open Source Hackable Robot

The world of robots is an interesting place, and it’s an even better place for children to get started in electronics. To that end, [Richard Albritton] has created a low-cost, open source robotics platform called the Hack-E-Bot specifically tailored to make it as easy as possible to get started.

The goals for the robot kit were to spark curiosity for electronics and programming, to be easy to assemble and program, to be scalable, and to be as easy on the wallet as possible. This was accomplished by using the familiar Arduino microcontroller on an intuitive platform. The robot uses an ultrasonic rangefinder to navigate as well, and can support a wide range of other sensors. The kit comes in at just under $50, making it a great option for an entry-level robot.

The project is currently seeking crowd funding and [Richard] is also seeking educators to get involved. Currently the only kits available are at fairs and other conventions but they should be able to start producing them in greater quantities in the future. The Arduino libraries are a work in progress but they are available on the project site, as well as several instructional videos and other information about the project.


15 thoughts on “Open Source Hackable Robot

          1. To those above this will never be in non-highschool classrooms in the states do to common core and the no child left behind bullshit. Trust me I have two teachers in my family.
            Your best target will be highschool AP teachers and good luck finding one knowledgable enough to implement.

            That being said I am sure people with younger children would love to buy these and teach at homeor just let the child figure it out them selves if good enough instructions are included. I would definitely be interested in an expandable open source robot for $20.

        1. ARM and Calum, I would love to hear more about your projects and what parts you are using to get the price down so low. It took me almost a year of sourcing readily available parts for the Hack-E-Bot kits. I know that you can get things cheaper, but usually I found that it makes the assembly of the kits far more complicated for 2nd grade kids to do for a first run.

          We have run a few workshops with the Seattle public library and 1st robotics clubs getting kids as young as 6 years old building Hack-E-Bots. If you guys have a low price kit, particularly one that can be programmed over Wi-Fi, I know of many educators that would love to hear more about it.

    1. Here is a link to the servos that I am using.

      I also have info one what parts are used to make the kits as well as links to places that sell them all.

      I will soon make a video to show how the kit is made from beginning to end so that anyone can start making them. The parts price dose get a bit over the $50 price range if you are only making a few of them, but I wanted the maker community to have the option of improving on my design if they wanted. I am mostly making the kits for people who are new and have no idea where to start or think that robots are this complicated and expensive things to get started on.

        1. I am doing bulk orders from the manufacturer, but it’s only really a good deal if you order at least 40 of them and it takes 30+ days to get here. I wanted to source parts that even a hacker out in the country could order and get just 2 servos in about a week.

          I realize that I could have just gone with an obscure part that you can only order in pallets of 500 or more, but the point of this project was to make the supplies as cheap and readily available to the public as possible.

  1. Would be a nice intro to robotics for a hackerspace kids course… Get them interested young, show them it’s not out of their reach to make something like that, then let their imaginations run.

    1. Thanks, that is totally what this project is all about. I have worked with kids that are in 1st robotics and they are shocked when I tell them how much the kit is after seeing that it can do most of the things their expensive bots are doing.

      I had one little girl who just started doing robotics excitedly screaming, “you mean that robot is $47… I have $60”. I did suggest that she talk to her parents before buying a kit, but I do love seeing kids light up when they realize that they can not only afford afford something like this, but also build it themselves.

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