Line follower and obstacle detection are two very popular applications in robotics for both beginners and advanced users. The online stores are full of robot kits able to follow a black line, detect obstacles, or make available a wide range of components to build one of these bots. But the simplest solution remains a kit that makes all of these.
Featured with components for two applications and labeled with a cheap price, the Linksprite kit is one of the best platforms for beginners in robotics. This kit is designed for any maker who tries to learn electronics and programming quickly and without spending a fortune on components.
The wheeled platform has attached two sensor types: infrared and path sensors. In front of the robot can be seen a board with five sensors that can detect a black line. At a first glance, the path sensor board looks simple, and indeed, it is very simple. But, the path board can do more than follow a simple line. When the middle sensor of the path board detects the back line, the robot goes forward. If the sensors located on the right of the board detect the line, the robot car turns slightly to the left. By analogy, an opposite behavior is applied when the sensors located to the left of the board detect the line. This feature is very useful in robotics competitions where the speed and ability to follow a line is important. Also, the user has to work with PWM control that enables the control speed of the robot.
The robot car can also detect obstacles with three infrared sensors located in front of the platform. Having three sensors, the robot can sense the direction of the object detected and change the direction in order to avoid the obstacle.
All that being said, I should mention that the kit comes without the Arduino microcontroller. So, if you already use an Arduino board, the kit is available at a price of $59.00. If you don’t have an Arduino board, you need to add $20 more for an Arduino UNO. The code for both applications is here.