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Arduino Robot: Line-Following Sensors, TFT LCD, Buzzer, Buttons US$203.57

Arduino Robot: Line-Following Sensors, TFT LCD, Buzzer, Buttons

The Arduino Robot is the first official Arduino on wheels. The robot has two processors one on each of its two boards. The Motor Board controls the motors, and the Control Board reads sensors and decides how to operate. Each of the boards is a full Arduino board programmable using the Arduino IDE. Each board has its own ATmega32U4. The Robot has many of its pins mapped to on-board sensors and actuators.

The robot comes with a large number of inputs, two potentiometers, five buttons, a digital compass, five floor sensors, and an SD card reader. It also has a speaker, two motors, and a color screen as outputs. You can control all these sensors and actuators through the Arduino Robot Library.

Programming the robot is similar to the process with the Arduino Leonardo. Both processors have built-in USB communication, eliminating the need for a secondary processor. This allows the Robot to appear to a connected computer as a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port.

As always with Arduino, every element of the platform hardware, software and documentation is freely available and open-source. This means you can learn exactly how it's made and use its design as the starting point for your own robots. The Arduino Robot is the result of the collective effort from an international team looking at how science can be made fun to learn.

This robot ships with a USB cable and a universal power supply that has American, European, British and Australian plugs.

Arduino Robot Features

The features relating to the two different boards are listed separately.

Control Board
Operating Voltage5V
Input Voltage5V via flat cable
Digital I/O Pins5
PWM Channels6
Analog Input Channels4 (of the Digital I/O pins)
DC Current per I/O Pin40 mA
Flash Memory32KB on ATmega32U4 (4KB used by bootloader)
SRAM2.5KB on ATmega32U4
EEPROM1KB on ATmega32U4
512Kbit external, I2C
Clock Speed16 MHz
Keypad5 keys
KnobPotentiometer on analog pin
Full-color LCDUses SPI communication
SD card readerFor FAT16 format
Speaker8 Ω
Digital CompassProvides deviation from geographical North in degrees
I2C Soldering Ports3
Prototyping Areas4
Motor Board
Operating Voltage5V
Input Voltage9V to battery charger
AA Battery Holder4 NiMH rechargeable batteries
Digital I/O Pins4
PWM Channels1
Analog Input Channels4 (of the Digital I/O pins)
DC Current per I/O Pin40 mA
DC-DC ConverterGenerates 5V power for the robot
Flash Memory32KB on ATmega32U4 (4KB used by bootloader)
SRAM2.5KB on ATmega32U4
EEPROM1KB on ATmega32U4
Clock Speed16 MHz
TrimmerFor movement calibration
IR Line-Following Sensors5
I2C Soldering Port1
Prototyping Areas2

Bottom View of Robot

Powering the Robot

The Arduino Robot can be powered via the USB connection or with four rechargeable AA batteries. The power source is selected automatically. The battery holder holds four rechargeable (e.g. NiMH) AA batteries.

Note: Do not use non-rechargeable batteries with the robot!

For safety purposes, the motors are disabled when the robot is powered from the USB connection.

The robot has an on-board battery charger that requires 9V external power coming from an AC-to-DC adapter. Your power adapter can be connected by plugging a 2.1mm center-positive plug into the Motor Board's power jack. The charger will not operate if powered by USB.

The Control Board is powered by the power supply on the Motor Board.


The ATmega32U4 has 32KB (with 4KB used for the bootloader). It also has 2.5KB of SRAM and 1KB of EEPROM (which can be read and written with the EEPROM Library).

The Control Board has an extra 512Kbit EEPROM that can be accessed via I2C. There is an external SD card reader attached to the GTFT screen that can be accessed by the Control Board's processor for additional storage.

Input and Output

The Robot comes with a series of pre-soldered connectors. There are a number of additional spots for you to install additional parts if needed.

All the connectors are labeled on the boards and mapped to named ports through the Robot Library, allowing access to standard Arduino functions. Each pin can provide or receive a maximum of 40mA at 5V.

Some pins have specialized functions:

  • Control Board TK0 to TK7 These pins are multiplexed to a single analog pin on the Control Board's microprocessor. They can be used as analog inputs for sensors like distance sensors, analog ultrasound sensors, or mechanical switches to detect collisions.
  • TWI: 2 (SDA) and 3 (SCL) Support TWI communication using the Wire Library.
  • Control Board TKD0 to TKD5 These are digital I/O pins directly connected to the processor, addressed using Robot.digitalRead() and Robot.digitalWrite() functions. Pins TKD0 to TDK3 can be used also as analog inputs with Robot.analogRead().
  • Motor Board TK1 to TK4
  • These pins are named in software as B_TK1 to B_TK4. They can be digital or analog input pins, and support Robot.digitalRead(), Robot.digitalWrite() and Robot.analogRead().
  • Serial Communication The boards communicate with each other using the processors' serial ports. A 10-pin connector connects both boards carries the serial communication, as well as power and additional information like the battery's current charge.
  • Control Board SPI SPI is used to control the Graphical TFT display and the SD card. If you want to flash the processor using an external programmer, you need to disconnect the screen first.
  • Control Board LEDs The Control Board has three on-board LEDs. One indicates the board is powered (PWR). The other two indicate communication over the USB port (LED1/RX and TX). LED1 is also accessible via software.
  • I2C Both boards have I2C connectors available: Three on the Control Board and one on the Motor Board.

  • Download Pin Mapping Tables for Arduino Robot Boards
  • Communication

    The Robot has a number of facilities for communicating with a computer, another Arduino, or other microcontrollers. The ATmega32U4 provides UART TTL (5V) serial communication which is available on the 10-pin board-to-board connector. The 32U4 also allows for serial (CDC) communication over USB and appears as a virtual COM port to software on the computer. The chip also acts as a full-speed USB2.0 device, using standard USB COM drivers (for Windows, a .inf file is included with the Arduino IDE software). The Arduino software includes a serial monitor which allows simple text data to be sent to and from the Robot board. The RX (LED1) and TX LEDs on the board will flash when data are being transmitted via the USB connection to the computer (but not for serial communication between the two boards).

    Each one of the boards has a separate USB product identifier and will show up as different ports in your IDE. Make sure you choose the right one when programming.

    The ATmega32U4 also supports I2C (TWI) and SPI communication. The Arduino software includes a Wire Library to simplify use of the I2C bus; see that link for details. For SPI communication, use the SPI Library.


    The Robot can be programmed with the Arduino software. Select Arduino Robot Control Board or Arduino Robot Motor Board from the Tools → Board menu. For details, see the Robot Getting Started Guide, the Arduino Robot Labs Page, and the Arduino Tutorials.

    Automatic (Software) Reset and Bootloader Initiation

    Rather than requiring a physical press of the reset button before an upload, the Robot is designed in a way that allows it to be reset by software running on a connected computer. The reset is triggered when the Robot's virtual (CDC) serial / COM port is opened at 1200 baud and then closed. When this happens, the processor will reset, breaking the USB connection to the computer (meaning that the virtual serial / COM port will disappear). After the processor resets, the bootloader starts, remaining active for about eight seconds. The bootloader also can be initiated by double-pressing the reset button on the Robot. Note that when the board first powers up, it will jump straight to the user sketch, if present, rather than initiating the bootloader.

    Because of the way the Robot handles reset, it's best to let the Arduino software try to initiate the reset before uploading, especially if you are in the habit of pressing the reset button before uploading on other boards. If the software can't reset the board, you can always start the bootloader by double-pressing the reset button on the board.

    In short: a single press of the Reset button will restart the user sketch; a double-press will initiate the bootloader.

    USB Overcurrent Protection

    Each of the Robot boards has a resettable polyfuse that protects your computer's USB ports from shorts and overcurrent. Although most computers provide their own internal protection, these fuses provide an extra layer of protection. If more than 500mA is applied to the USB port, the fuse will automatically break the connection until the short or overload is removed.

    Physical Characteristics

    The Robot is 19cm in diameter. Including wheels, GTFT screen and other connectors, it can be up to 10cm tall.

    Arduino Robot Resources

    For details and documentation about the included graphical TFT display, see its separate page.

    Optional Recommended Products for this Item
    Power Supply 3-12V DC, U.S. plug, 6 connection tips+ US$11.00
    Power Supply 3-12V DC, US/UK/Euro/AU Plugs, 100-240VAC+ US$13.00
    USB 2.0 Cable, 6ft., A-Male / B-Male+ US$6.00

    This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 20 November, 2013.


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