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Hacking Fest of Icaro: Educational Robotics at Fudcon Valencia 2012

What is Icaro?

Icaro refers to a kit for teaching programming to kids using robotics. Icaro is composed of a low cost controller board that can be replicated by a school teacher and also it is graphical software that can be used by kid for programming the robot to do stuff with programming blocks. The initiative of the teacher will lead to what kind of robot and what problems students will solve with that robot. Kids will learn variables, conditionals, loops and so on.

We acknowledge that this will be a interesting teaching tool combined with OLPC Program.

Why we are trying to make a hacking?

Valentin Basel is a mad scientist and there is plenty of nice work done, but is like a mad scientist lab... only he knows where he put his marvelous creations.

We are inspired by this post from Mel Chua

I've followed your instructions and I still can't bake croissants

The hacking will be mostly to set order in he project, so any body can jump in and start using this controller board or even better start contributing back.

Last, but not least, to have fun with robotics.

What will happen during the hacking fest?

We will like to have between 12 to 16 people to build 3 or 4 robots and start having fun whit them. We will provide hardware and guidance. We also verify the software in different scenarios to find bugs, and verify installation instructions.

In reality we expect to understand what information is needed to achieve a working robot and layout documentation and resources, so we can create those guides. Hopefully with help from the same people on the hacking fest.

One of the least documented part is assembling robots. This is where most notes, ideas, diagrams and pictures we need. We will focus on this part: taking a controller board and building a robot, loading the required software into the computer, and then passing instructions to the robot. This will help a lot to school teachers in their first attempt.

What we expect to achieve?

  • Short Term Goals
    • To create a block structure of documentation needed
    • To create draft of specific parts of documentation
    • To obtain plenty of pictures for use in step-by-step documentation/guides
    • To correct software and package it
    • To obtain volunteers who help us in long term goals
  • Long Term Goals
    • To Open Icaro documentation project in transifex. (So far is Spanish only)
    • To include Icaro in official repos
    • To include Icaro in official sugar repos.

Skills needed ?

We like to have people with documentation and packaging experience among the rest of people that may like just have fun building stuff. Packaging my be good to assure that latest version of icaro and turtle art plugin are ready to install. Documentation may be good to help us with a good starting structure for the documentation work that will follow.

Specific tasks

  • Review code so it can be run in 32 and 64 platforms, or built both packages. Python coding dealing with platforms.

What kind of robot?

A flat surface that will hold a mini laptop or XO and a Icaro board, with two big wheels and one swivel small wheel. Big wheels will have motor to move them. In the front corners there will be collision sensor. It will have a pan and tilt arm with a camera on it. More or less like this

What we need? (BUDGET)


This is a roughly estimated as there are places where those items can be found cheaper.
Item qty Example Price Total
Icaro board 1 Valentin will donate 0
Collision sensor 2 limit switch $ 4.99 $9.98
Estructure 1 Plastic cutting board $11 $11
camera 1 usb webcam $6.48 $6.48
small wheel 1 Wheel Plate Casters 4 by $15.99 $4
motors 4 Futaba S3003 servo 4 by $14.57 $14.57
big wheels 2 CD or DVD 0 0
TOTAL for 1 (one) Robot $46.03
TOTAL for 4 (four) Robot $184.12

Other assorted materials... glue, thin eva foam, rosin solder and short length of cables

Kit of Tools We won't buy those, the list is here just as reference

Item Example Price
iron solder [1] $4.89
multimeter [2] $ 5.99
screwdrivers [3] $6.08
plier set [4] $9.5
TOTAL $26.46

Shopping List

What we need to be bought in USA and brought to FUDCon Valencia by some one. (It was suggested that was Spot or Rbergero)

Item qty Link
camera 4 usb webcam
motors 16 Futaba S3003 servo
  • We have find any better deal that the servo motors in ebay.
  • Any cheap web cam that works on Linux will work for us.