Many reasonably priced robot kits meet the needs for requirement 4. The robot kits available through the BSA (at Scout shops and www.scoutstuff.org) will clearly meet the needs of the Robotics merit badge requirements. A remote control car, plane, or boat will not qualify unless extensive modifications are made.
Some “robot” kits are no more than puzzles; they create a predetermined robot that completes a predetermined task. There is no room for original design or programming in these robots, and they will not meet the Robotics merit badge requirements.
ROBOT KITS AVAILABLE FROM THE BSA
The robotics kits featured here offer all the programming and assembling skills needed to meet the related requirements for this merit badge. Each kit is a great way for individuals or groups to research, design, build and test actual robots they create. No previous robotics, electronics, or programming experience is necessary.
Ollo Bug Robot Kit: This reconfigurable robot construction kit is the perfect choice for beginners of all ages! Using an easy-to-build plates-and-rivets system, you can create four different types of robotic bugs that can trace lines, detect objects, or be controlled via wireless remote. Comes with detailed, illustrated instructions. (Scoutstuff.org, #612752, $99)
Parallax Boe-Bot Robot Kit: Starting with basic movement and proceeding to sensor-based projects, Scouts quickly learn how the Boe-Bot is expandable for many different robot projects. Kit and text includes 41 activities for the Boe-Bot robot, with structured PBASIC 2.5 source code support and bonus challenges with solutions in each chapter. (Scoutstuff.org, #612753, $159.99)
VEX ROBOTICS AND LEGO MINDSTORMS KITS
If you already have access to VEX Robotics or LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kits, they will work great for the Robotics merit badge.
VEX BSA Robotics Merit Badge Bundle: This bundle contains everything needed to build a fully functional, autonomous-only robot that meets all of the requirements for the Robotics Merit Badge. The included VEX Protobot Robot Kit contains over 300 parts and pieces and instructions which can be used to build the VEX Protobot, the VEX Tumbler, or your own creation.
Information about the VEX BSA Robotics Merit Badge Bundle is available at http://www.vexrobotics.com/bsa.
LEGO ® MINDSTORM® Education NXT Base Set and 21 Software: This is the core building set which includes 437 elements and programming software to serve as the base for endless NXT robotic creations.
Councils can order the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education NXT kit by calling 1-800-362-4308.
RESOURCES IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Your local Scout council, school, robot club or robot competitive group may be able to help with resources or support. Science museums often have expertise, workshops or camps on robotics. Many universities have robotics clubs that may be a good source for mentors and support.
Use these links to find teams and clubs in your area: