Learn robotics at home, even if you have no background in electronics or programming!
Intro to Robotics is designed to start at the very beginning and systematically teach electronics, programming, and how to combine those skills to build a functional robot.
Along the way you will learn how to use common electrical components, read schematics, use a Raspberry Pi, troubleshoot, and craft every line of computer code.
SAVE $100 by purchasing these four kits together vs. purchasing separately.
Levels A-D Curriculum and Kit Contents
- 360 page Level A curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons (downloadable PDF file)
- 570 page Level B curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons (downloadable PDF file)
660 page Level C curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons (downloadable PDF file)
460 page Level D curriculum containing 18 step-by-step lessons (downloadable PDF file)
- Raspberry Pi x1
- 5 volt Power Supply with AC Adapter x1
- Raspberry Pi Case x1
- Micro SD Card with Adapter x1
- Ribbon Cable x1
- Wedge Assembly x1
- Battery Holder with Wires x1
- Breadboard x1
- LEDs x8
- RGB LED x2
- Resistors 220 Ohm x6
- Resistors 1,000 Ohm x6
- Resistors 10,000 Ohm x6
- Pushbutton Switch x3
- Piezo Speaker x1
- Slide Switch x1
- 3x4 Matrix Keypad x1
- RFID Reader x1
- RFID Tags x2
- Analog-to-Digital Converter x1
- 10k Potentiometer with Knob x1
- Phototransistor x1
- Level Shifting Integrated Circuit x1
- Infrared Obstacle Sensor x3
- Ultrasonic Range Sensor x1
- Infrared Line Sensor x3
- Temperature Sensor x1
- OLED Display x1
- Capacitive Touch Sensor x1
- 220uF Capacitor x2
- 2200uF Capacitor x1
- Audio Amplifier x1
- USB Audio Adapter x1
- Microphone x1
- Camera Mount x1
- Camera Cable x1
- Camera x1
- Speaker x1
- Infrared Receiver x1
- Infrared Remote with Battery x1
- Transistors x4
- Relay Module x1
- Accelerometer x1
- Servo Motor x1
- Dual-Color LED 18mm x1
- Screwdrivers x2
- Jumper Wires (Short Male-to-Male)
- Jumper Wires (Long Male-to-Male)
- Jumper Wires (Long Male-to-Female)
- Upper Chassis Plate with Breadboard Attached x1
- Lower Chassis Plate x1
- Assorted Chassis Hardware x1
- Rear Caster Assembly with Ball Bearing Wheel x1
- Plastic IR Sensor Mounting Hardware x1
- Ultrasonic Range Sensor with Plastic Mounting Plate x1
- Camera and Ultrasonic Sensor Mounting Hardware x1
- Raspberry Pi Chassis Mounting Bracket and Hardware x1
- Motor Drive Integrated Circuit x1
- Small Screwdriver (#2 Phillips) x1
- DC Motor with Wires and Mounting Hardware x2
- Wheel and Tire Assembly x 2
- 6xAA Battery Pack with Velcro Mounting Strips x1
- 9-Volt to 5-Volt Voltage Regulator x1
- Digital Multimeter x1
Levels A-D Scope and Sequence
- Learn how electricity and electrical equipment work.
- Learn to properly use common electrical components that make up circuits including breadboards, batteries, LEDs, resistors, jumper wires, and switches.
- Build both series and parallel circuits and understand how to use Ohm's Law when designing circuits.
- Practice systematic troubleshooting techniques including half-splitting.
- Learn to read schematic drawings.
- Learn to use a Raspberry Pi (a mini computer) including connecting it to peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.) as well as downloading files and software updates.
- Learn to use several included software packages including Raspbian OS, Nano, and Thonny.
- Learn to to create basic Python programs including comments, merging strings, user input, mathematical functions, lists, if/else statements, and loops to control electrical circuits and create games.
- Learn to identify and correct errors in Python computer programs.
- Work administratively with files, folders, and directories.
- Continue to expand coding knowledge to include functions, advanced list commands, logical operators, while true loops, advanced string techniques, try/except/finally, and multithreaded operations.
- Understand pulse width modulation.
- Learn to work with new types of switches, a matrix-style keypad, potentiometers, phototransistors, infrared sensors, RFID readers, temperature sensors, an I2C display, and ultrasonic range sensors.
- Learn to use Github and adjust for various versions of Python.
- Work with an analog-to-digital converter integrated circuit.
- Expand project flexibility with networking and remote access.
- Write Bash scripts and using Bash programming
- Use microphones, speakers, audio amplifiers, and audio software.
- Work with servo motors to add movement to projects.
- Multiple methods for gathering data from internet feeds and databases including API data access as well as how to use data in projects.
- Work with accelerometers and gyros to allow for multi-axis measurements in projects.
- Use relays to control high-powered devices.
- Create your own Graphical User Interface (GUI) using the popular module Tkinter to create a user-friendly interface for programs and display data.
- Build a web server using popular server softwares like Bottle and Apache to add web page control to projects.
- Use a camera to gather data and see real-time events.
- Learn to protect and recover operating files and project data
- Use a digital multimeter (included in kit)
- Construct the robot chassis including wheels, motor mounts, and motors
- Control the robot remotely via VNC
- Add and configure various sensors, an audio amplifier, and speaker
- Use a camera to collect information and see the world from the robot's point of view
- Set up the mobile power system including gaining understanding of benefits and drawbacks of various battery power options
- Learn to drive and troubleshoot motors through code including coordinating multiple motors
- Set up keyboard control of robot while accounting for focus, keypress, and repeat rate issues
- Build a webpage and use CGI scripts to control the robot remotely
- Use a web page to view video generated by the robot and trigger the robot to play audio files
- Continue to improve troubleshooting skills for both electrical circuits and computer programs.
- Continue to gain the skills to independently tackle advanced projects found online.
- Gain the skills to systematically plan large projects including identifying needed functionality, part compatibility, and keep appropriate documentation
Curious What Users Have to Say?
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Levels A-C FAQ
Q. I don’t know anything about electronics or programming. How can I use this to program to learn?
We specifically designed our curriculum kits to be used by people with no background in electronics, programming or robotics. With clear explanations, step-by-step instructions, a complete components kit included, and support from our amazing team, we are confident you can successfully learn robotics at home.
Q. How will my order be delivered?
A. The PDF files containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. A hard copy of the curriculum is not available although you are welcome to print a copy for your personal use. The component kit will be mailed to you within several business days.
Q. How many lessons are in each level and how long does each lesson take?
A. There are 18 lessons in each level:
- Level A: 45-60 minutes per lesson
- Level B: 60-90 minutes per lesson
- Level C: 90-120 minutes per lesson
- Level D: 90-120 minutes per lesson
We recommend aiming to complete 1-2 lessons per week. A single level will take 9-18 weeks to complete depending on lesson frequency.
More generally, adults can expect to spend approximately 15 hours completing Level A, 25 hours completing Level B, and 30 hours completing Level C, and 25-30 hours completing Level D.
Q. What if I have a question or run into a problem?
A. We are thrilled to help! Contact us via email or live chat and we will help you get back on the right track.
Also, please head on over to Facebook and join the 42 Electronics User Group
. It's a great place for current or perspective users to ask questions, get project ideas, and connect with others using the Intro to Robotics program.
Q. Will I need additional equipment?
A. In addition to the curriculum and Levels A-D parts kits purchased with it, you will need:
- A television can also be used provided it has HDMI inputs
- Please note, a laptop computer or Chromebook will not work for this purpose
- Likely attached to your computer monitor
- AA Batteries x2
- Used in Lesson A-1 to A-8 to power circuits until you've learned to use the Raspberry Pi
Keyboard and Mouse
- Please use a wired keyboard and mouse if possible. Wireless models do not work reliably with the Raspberry Pi. Visit the Level A Resource List for a list of inexpensive keyboard and mouse options.
A Desktop Computer, Laptop, or Chromebook
- Must be connected to the home network via a wired or wireless connection (this can be the family’s regular computer as it will be used in networking lessons)
- Highly recommended to prevent damage to more sensitive equipment such as the Raspberry Pi camera; click here to find one at a bargain price. This is particularly useful in Levels C and D.
Internet access (wired or wireless)
- Internet access is optional (but recommended) for Level A. For Levels B, C, and D internet access is required to download libraries and modules.
- AA Batteries x6
- Used in Level D to power the robot. We recommend rechargeable batteries, click here to learn more
- 9v Battery
- USB Drive
- Electrical Tape
- Used in Level D to build a track on the floor for the robot to follow; use black electrical tape if you have light colored flooring, use white electrical tape if you have dark colored flooring
USB to SD Card Adapter (optional)
- Optional activity in Lesson D-1 shows students how to back up their SD card to their computer, click here to see links to adapters
For more information, check out this video where Julie walks you through the extra equipment requirements. (Please note, this video discusses items needed for Levels A and B and does not address the Level C or D specific items; please refer to the list above).
Q. Are technical updates to the curriculum available after purchase?
A. Yes! The Raspberry Pi operating system tends to change fairly regularly. Sometimes the changes are minor, such as moving a menu item, and sometimes the changes are major, such as process changes. Minor updates are posted to the curriculum resource page as soon as they are known and documentation is available (a link to the resource page can always be found in the footer of this website). Major changes are incorporated into updates to the curriculum. We tend to release curriculum updates every few months. These updates are available to download via the curriculum download link you receive after placing your order.
Q. I’m only interested in learning beginning level electronics and programming skills, do I need to complete all four levels.
A. While each level builds on the previous level, we have designed this course so you can stop upon the completion of any level and still have solid, complementary skills in working both with electrical components as well as the most common Python coding commands. While we do recommend you continue to work through successive levels, we recognize that won't be appropriate for everyone, and you may be content with the skills and exposure gained in completing only one, two, or three levels.
Here are examples of the skill level you can generally expect when using each level of our program:
Level A: A student will have beginner level electronics and coding skills as well as know how to use a Raspberry Pi. If the goal is to simply expose the student to electronics and coding, completing only Level A is likely to accomplish this goal.
Level B: A student will have intermediate level electronics and coding skills as well as a solid collection of components to use. This allows students to tackle many projects they find online.
Level C: A student will have advanced level electronics and coding skills as well as an extensive collection of components. They will be well equipped to tackle most projects they find online as well have a solid base of knowledge to continue to independently expand their skills to more niche-level topics and skills.
Level D: A student will have skills working with motors and motor drive boards as well as experience pulling a number of components together into a single project. This includes advanced level planning and troubleshooting skills. The student will also have had an opportunity to take previously learned coding skills and adapt them to working with a mobile platform--a significant challenge.
Q. Why does this program teach Python instead of a different programming language?
A. We teach Python for a couple of reasons:
- Python is currently the fastest growing computer language. Companies such as YouTube, Dropbox, Google, Quora, Instagram, Spotify, Reddit, and Yahoo Maps used Python to build their platforms. While programming languages tend to come and go over time, Python is well rooted and is likely to be a popular language for many years.
- Python is particularly well suited to beginners. The code is intuitive and easy to read. It also requires far fewer lines of code to accomplish tasks compared to other popular languages such as C++ and Java.
Q. Which model of the Raspberry Pi does the kit include?
A. Our kits include a Raspberry Pi 3B as it is by far the best model for electronics and robotics projects. We do get questions from users about the newly released Raspberry Pi 4 however it's important to understand that newer isn't always better. Which model will best suit your needs is largely dependent on what your will use the Pi for (robotics projects vs. a personal computer replacement for example) and also your personal skill level. For example, a major drawback to the Pi 4 is it's power consumption. It simply can't be reliably powered with a standard battery pack and so it needs to be plugged into the wall. If you are building a mobile robot this presents a problem as a robot that needs to be plugged in is significantly less fun. Click here to read more about the differences between the Pi 3B and the Pi 4 including why the Pi 3B is a superior choice for electronics and robotics projects, especially for beginner and intermediate users.
Q. Are the kit parts reusable?
A. Yes! The kit parts are fully reusable for other projects. Please note the PDF file containing the lessons is copyrighted and is not able to be sold or given away.
Q. How will I receive my order?
A. The PDF files containing the curriculum can be downloaded following purchase. The component kit will be mailed to you within several business days.
We do not offer printed copies of the curriculum for several reasons:
- When reviewing concepts, students benefit greatly from being able to search the curriculum document for information about a skill they are working with.
- The technology students will be working with changes regularly and we typically update the curriculum every 2-3 months to assure students are working with the latest information. Sometimes the changes are significant (screen layout, menu options, procedures, etc.) It is advantageous for students to have access to this updated information via the electronic copy of the curriculum. We want them to keep moving forward with their lessons, not getting stuck and frustrated because a menu option changed.
- We want to save some trees and keep your cost down! Our program is lengthy and the book would not only be heavy to carry around, it's simply unnecessary to print it. All lessons can be read and completed with the file pulled up on a tablet, laptop or desktop.
- If you wish to print a full copy of the curriculum, we recommend The Homeschool Printing Company for their quality work and reasonable prices.