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Stiquito, a small robotic insect, has been used to introduce students to robotics. A new version features a preprogrammed microcontroller board that students can use to learn about the concepts of robotics and embedded systems. Most Stiquito robots built so far have been educational novelties because they could not be controlled by a programmable computer. This lack of a readily available controller hampered the efforts of academic researchers, who wanted to use it to study colony robotics and emergent systems. Another obstacle has been the robot's original low cost and the consequent need to design and implement a reliable controller that is equally inexpensive and low-power. Stiquito Controlled is a new self-controlled robot that uses a microcontroller to produce forward motion by coordinating the operation of its legs. Although the controller is sold programmed, educators and researchers can reprogram the board to examine other areas of robotics. In fact, the board can be used alone to learn embedded systems development concepts.
Date of Publication: May 2005