I recently visited a local Hackfest where many 2nd-3rd year engineering students were spending the day designing and building robots to solve some simple tasks. With a limited amount of time, none of the teams managed to complete the entire challenge. Quite a few of them got bogged down in the radio side, never quite getting the wireless control of their robots working. Additionally, students often had no idea what their robots were thinking once they deployed them in the arena. That made debugging like groping in the darkness. Consequently, many had little to show for their endeavours at the final demo.
great idea! I do see a problem; who would pay for it?
TBH Though I love Imp, I don’t think in its current iteration it is the right platform for robotics (that need very low-latency control for example), if they are already into Arduino the “Yún” add’s all the radio stuff and Linux to the board.
I built a bump & backoff robot using the imp as fun project with my 6yr old. What she liked best was the harwared design & build. There’s a wee video at the end of this post http://industrialinternet.co.uk/iot-2/making-a-robot-with-my-6yr-old/
Love it! I may just have to build something like that myself with my daughter
I still think something open-source with local network control would be best for experimental robotics especially if I need to do the digital equivalent of shouting STOP!
We not-infrequently support university hackathons. I have consistently seen teams get very far during the course of a 1.5-2 day hackathon, even with zero experience with Electric Imp / Squirrel.
The value is exactly what @coverdriven mentioned - getting radios working as quickly as possible. I encourage people to follow the Getting Started Guide, and basically continue to use query parameters as a way of passing messages to the device (often through and app or webpage). It is far from the best implementation, but it works phenomenally for a weekend hack.
As for robotics - @back_ache hit the nail on the head. WiFi and HTTP requests can work great, but an ideal solution is local networking, whether bluetooth, wifi, or something else.