Adafruit Holiday Gift Guide 2012 – Robotics

When robotics enthusiasts aren’t busy creating humanoid robots destined to bring about the end of civilization and other sinister stuff, they are more frequently found tuning robots to breakdance, chase around lines drawn on the floor, participate in basketball challenges, perform simple tasks in dangerous (to humans) environments, create art, and other great stuff less frequently reported by Hollywood. In fact, with so much attention to this latter group of activities do they really have much time to work on their Skynet projects? Here is a collection of some of the great robotic-related gifts, components and kits, out there in the world from Adafruit and beyond!

Robotics Related Kits from Adafruit


Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield for Arduino kit: I would be remiss not to share the classic Adafruit Motor Shield for Arduino, a place where many folks get their first taste for working with servos, steppers, and DC motors. Adafruit offers excellent training resources to help you get started with this kit in our Learning System. (read more)


OpenBeam Starter Kit – Silver Aluminum: Get cracking on your robot, fixture or gantry with this luxurious extruded aluminum starter kit. You get tons of stuff, so you won’t end up frustrated and missing a component. The pieces are also pre-cut so for many small projects you won’t even need to get out your hacksaw. All extrusions are 15mm by 15mm square. Also available in Black Aluminum! (read more)


Motor party add-on pack for Arduino: Once you get a taste for working with motors, you’ll start to hunt for the specific servos, steppers, and DC motors to solve each needed function. Here’s a grab bag of a bunch of the best ones to start with! (read more)


Hummingbird Robotics Kit: The Hummingbird robotics kit is a spin-off product of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab. Hummingbird is designed to enable engineering and robotics activities for ages 10 and up that involve the making of robots, kinetic sculptures, and animatronics built out of a combination of kit parts and crafting materials. Combined with a cross-platform, very easy-to-use visual programming environment, Hummingbird provides a great way to introduce kids to robotics and engineering by using construction materials that they are already familiar with. (read more)

Adafruit 16-Channel

Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver – I2C interface – PCA9685: Or maybe you need…even more motors! You want to make a cool robot, maybe a hexapod walker, or maybe just a piece of art with a lot of moving parts. Or maybe you want to drive a lot of LEDs with precise PWM output. Then you realize that your microcontroller has a limited number of PWM outputs! What now? You could give up OR you could just get this handy PWM and Servo driver breakout. When we saw this chip, we quickly realized what an excellent add-on this would be. Using only two pins, control 16 free-running PWM outputs! You can even chain up 62 breakouts to control up to 992 PWM outputs (which we would really like to see since it would be glorious). (read more)


“3 Laws of Robotics” poster: This glossy poster featuring ADABOT and Asimov’s three laws of robotics measures 18 x 24 inches. Comes packed in a cardboard tube for shipping. MADE IN THE USA! (read more)

Other Robotics Kits

RoboBrrd by RoboGrrl: If you haven’t been following the world of talented young robotics designer RoboGrrl over the years, now is a great chance to dive into one of her newest projects over at Indiegogo. From her project description: “RoboBrrd is a robotic bird character that has an entertaining personality! When you build a RoboBrrd, you get hands-on experience of mechanical and electrical engineering, programming, and add a dash of your own creativity. … RoboBrrd, the cutest educational robot around, and aims to get everyone interested in robotics!” (read more)

RoboPhilo, RoboPhilo JR, and Robocrawler from Robobrothers: RoboBrothers create a number of affordable robot kits including RoboPhilo, RoboPhilo JR, and RoboCrawler, as well as many accessories such as the Philo Gripper Kit that adds the clasping hands to the Philo. While these may appear more expense than electronics kit Makers are used to, compared to the thousands of dollars for a typical robotics system, these are remarkably capable for how affordable they are. Don’t be frightened by the rudimentary website — these folks are robot designers, not web designers. (read more)



Hexbug™ Spider Hacking Kit (no Solder) by eric gregori: Rather than a robot kit that you buy and put together, this is a set of instructions for how you strip down and transform the clever Hexbug Spider toy into a versatile robot! Here’s a link to the PDF for the Spider project — and when you have completed all of the instructions, the spider can perform tasks such as following lines. (read more)



Hexy the Hexapod from ArcBotics: ArcBotics’ Hexy the Hexapod is an inexpensive, fully-articulated hexapod robot kit. From the product description: “Hexy has six legs, 19 servo motors and is powered by Arduino, while maintaining a price 4-10x less expensive than current hexapod robots. It makes complex robotics lest costly, easier to learn with the full tutorials and documentation, while being radically more fun (and cute!). At the same time its built with completely open source hardware and software, making discovery and extension as easy as building it in the first place.” (read more)

Elly the Elephant, Geno the Giraffe, and Rory the Rino from Kinetic Creatures: While these cardboard creatures might not be the first thing you think of when you think “robot,” those interested in creating complex walker robots have a lot to learn from the simple elegance of these three Kinetic Creatures. And they are darned cute — able to turn the heads of even the most technophobic, and fascinate them with how the kinetic assembly can achieve such smooth, in-character strides. While you are at it, consider grabbing the Motor Kit for automated kinetic behaviors. (read more)



OLLO and BIOLOID STEM kits from Robotis: Robotis has a tremendous range of comprehensive educational robotics offerings starting with a number of OLLO kits for those getting started with robotics on to the BIOLOID Standard and STEM kits for students looking to take their serious study of science and robotics further. The tremendous diversity of lessons and projects available in each kit puts many LEGO construction sets to shame. And for those who become more passionate about their robotics investigations, they offer the more expensive BIOLOID PREMIUM series of kits that according to the serious robotics enthusiasts I emailed for ideas is perhaps the best all-around kit on the market! (read more)



LEGO Mindstorms® NXT 2.0 from LEGO: The newest version of the premium LEGO Mindstorm® robotics kits has a number of great new additions, keeping this set as always at the forefront of robotics teaching kits. From the product description: “LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT is back and better than ever, with new robot models, even more customizable programming, and all-new technology including a color sensor! LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 combines the unlimited versatility of the LEGO building system with an intelligent microcomputer brick and intuitive drag-and-drop programming software. The new 2.0 toolkit features everything you need to create your first robot in 30 minutes and then tens of thousands of other robotic inventions that do what you want!”
(read more)


MAKE Rovera 2WD and 4WD Arduino Robot Kit: These two excellent Arduino robot kits from MAKE can be completed and explored in parallel to Michael Margolis’ new Make an Arduino Controlled Robot book, a great introduction to Arduino robotics for those getting started. (read more)



Medium Tank from Rocket Brand Studios: these Robot kits from Christopher Robinson are extremely capable, affordable Arduino tread robots that will help beginner robotics enthusiasts recognize the contributions of the various elements of the kit as they learn to code behaviors and consider how to expand their robot. (read more)

Robotics Skill Badge!


Robotics! – Skill badge, iron-on patch: You make robotics! BLEEP BLOOP! Adafruit offers a fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. (read more)


Here are your 2012 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.

UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 14, 2012 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.

UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Wednesday 11am ET – December 19, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.

UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 20, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.

UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 21, 2012 – Arrive on 12/24/2012.

UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 17, 2012. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.

Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.

United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 14, 2012 – Arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.

USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 23, 2012. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/12.

USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 14, 2012. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2012 or sooner.

Gift Certificates are always available at any time.

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