Here you will learn to build a small maze solving robot capable of participating in Micromouse competitions. I call is a Nano Mouse because it is about the size of a Micromouse robot, but uses an Arduino Nano microcontroller. I hope it opens the door to people who are interested in learning about robotics, but can't afford expensive kits. I also hope it opens the door to the large number of hobbyists that enjoyed playing with the Lego Mindstorms sets, but are now ready to advance their knowledge.
There are many other robots on the market as well as DIY designs on the net. Why build a Nano Mouse?
What Will You (or Your Students) Learn?
Building a maze solving robot is a project based approach to learning that touches upon several math, science, and technology concepts. Instead of showing how this project aligns to relevant Common Core, State, or ISTE standards (which are often very broad), I have created a list of the specific skills and concepts student will learn through the course of building and programming this robot. My end goal is to give students the skills and knowledge necessary to take what they learn from building this robot and apply it to a project of their own design.
btMonitor Android App
To make wireless debugging a little less frustrating, I wrote an Android App capable of connecting to the Nano Mouse using the Bluetooth module. I then rewrote the print function within the maze class so that it would be compatible with the App. The easiest way to install the app on your Android device is to scan the QR code. The source code is available below as btMonitor.aia for those of you who would like modify it or see how it works.
Competitive Nano Mouse
The only Micromouse contest held regularly in the United States that I am aware of is part of the APEC conference: http://www.apec-conf.org/conference/participating-in-micromouse/. With a little modification to the frame and the addition of a fan or servo arm, it looks like a Nano Mouse could also participate in the Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest.