Review of the CrumbleBot Robot

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Description: The CrumbleBot is a robot that can easily be coded using a graphical programming language similar to Scratch. It is a great introduction to robots as it uses the Crumble as its controller, which becomes the core of an integrated chassis of the whole robot itself. This makes it easy to construct without too much prior experience in either Coding or Robotics. There are line detectors, a push button, a switch and light sensors, along with inbuilt sparkles (lights that you can code to light up when certain actions are performed (ie. when turning left/right)

Price:

CrumbleBot Robot with Crumble & USB Cable £44.34 (including VAT) and free shipping – see http://4tronix.co.uk/store/index.php?rt=product/product&path=82&product_id=493

Additional Information:

Download instructions at http://4tronix.co.uk/blog/?p=1004

Download Coding app at http://redfernelectronics.co.uk/crumble/

*Please note: on a MAC if you get a warning box that says “Crumble can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer”  when you try to install Crumble – then go to System Preferences and then Security & Privacy – the general tab and it should say at the bottom “ Crumble was blocked from opening because it is not from an identified developer” Select “Open anyway”)

Experience:

I got the CrumbleBot from a CamJam event, not as a complete kit but as separate parts. My mum and I cleared a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. It actually took some time to find instructions and the Crumble programme online – I think if you get the complete set – the links are clearly labeled on the box. Our second difficulty was that we didn’t have any crocodile clips so Mum had to order some from Ebay. A few day later, we started again and followed the instructions.  We used the Crumble software, very similar to Scratch, to get the robot moving. This exercise was straight forward (see clip below). Basically you construct the code using the blocks, save the file and then plug in the CrumbleBot using the Micro USB to USB connector– into your laptop. Press run and then detach lead. Then you just press the black switch on the CrumbleBot to the ‘on’ position, to execute your commands.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8jwhgn2wvwY“>

I found the Line detector exercise tricky – it detected the lines of the floorboards rather than our black lines ( but this has also happened with other robot kits). I’ll need to work on it a bit more. However, the light detector using Light Dependent Resisters was excellent, worked first time and was really fun (see video & photo of code).

Lightfollowcode

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-YfhE_b8nDY“>

Pros:

  • The assembly instructions are clear and enjoyable to follow.
  • You get a great integrated robot chassis and Crumble control board with some great features such as line detector and light dependent resisters – with the opportunity to add extra features.
  • You can take off the Crumble to use for loads of other cool coding and simple electronics projects – including adding sparkles and a large array of components.

Cons:

  • It can be difficult to locate all the instructions and software downloads
  • You have to connect to laptop to upload programme to CrumbleBot which takes time when you are fine tuning the code but you do get used to it after a while
  • The switch is a bit tricky to access but new design has better position and is more robust.

Conclusion:

All in all it’s a great kit that gets you up and running with Robotics without needing any prior experience and the software is easy to use. There are cheaper ways to build a robot on the market but the ease of use and great design makes it really good value for money.

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