This piece was written by the people who run the Cracked Store to tell you about products that are being sold there.
The idea that designing robots is an activity performed only by people who will finally stop Superman once and for all has kicked the bucket. And we can thank Arduino for that. Italy's finest programmable logic controller, Arduino has vastly lowered the barrier of entry into electronics tinkering. Their platform has become the go-to starting point for makers, as well as other curious minds looking to explore homebrew electrical devices.
Arduino! More like Ar ... dunno. (But for real, what is that?)
That horrible pun aside, Arduino is a single-board computer that combines a microcontroller with an array of general-purpose I/O pins. For anyone who doesn't subscribe to Electronics Monthly, it's a small, programmable computer that interacts directly with physical sensors like LEDs. Put even more simply: Robots, dawg. You know, like R2-D2 and the most pleasant character in cinema history, Johnny 5. And you can learn how to use it with this Arduino Enthusiast E-Book Bundle for just $10.
But what can you actually make with it?
Anything. Seriously, anything -- CNC milling machines, automatic dog feeders, flame-throwing jack-o-lanterns, a boxing glove that punches anyone who suggests rewatching Suicide Squad. Anything is possible with enough time, dedication, and insanity.
But to avoid burning down your house with a Halloween display gone awry or being barred from AffleckFest 2017, it's probably a good idea to start a bit simpler. The following beginner-oriented packages let you build something cool without having to invest in a 3D printer and tracking down hundreds of identical tiny capacitors and resistors. Though between you and me, start drawing up the blueprints for that boxing glove. America needs more heroes.
SainSmart 4WD Robot Car
Your childhood dreams are finally about to be realized. Well, maybe not all of your childhood dreams. We still don't know how to catch Mew. But we can help you build a robot. While a remote-controlled robot car might not be the personal mech suit your 10-year-old self lusted after, it's an accessible way to get into the more technical aspects of Arduino programming and prototyping. This kit even includes a sensor shield, so you can customize your vehicle to respond to nearby objects. So no, It's not a Gundam, but it's the next-best thing. Pick up this SainSmart 4WD Robot Car here for $77.99.
SainSmart UNO for Arduino
The SainSmart UNO grants your humble Arduino board sophisticated wireless communication capabilities, which is crucial if you want to make anything that isn't shackled to a series of wall outlets. This kit teaches you how to create networks of Arduinos, allowing you to do anything from controlling the lights in your house to password-protecting your automatic garage door opener to building an army of robot minions designed for global domination. That last one might take some extra work, though. Grab this SainSmart UNO kit for $53.99.
Flexbot Hexacopter Kit
A homemade drone is the quintessential robot buddy. It's cute. It's handy. It's what BB-8 dreams about anytime he sees a set of stairs. This Hexacopter kit includes all of the 3D-printed parts necessary to build a flying machine with a brain. You program all of the flight behaviors yourself, so you can discover how to tweak your drone along the way to decrease rotor noise, accept sensor input, and do crazy stunts. So Disney, if you're listening, the next Star Wars movie droid needs to be a quirky Hexacopter with a sassy attitude and a penchant for daredevil flight patterns. It's what Han Solo would've wanted. Get the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit here for $89.99.
I want a robot buddy! But what should I name it?
Oooh! Call it ... "son."
Damn, we made it weird. Anyway, you can get more learning bundles and robots with attitude by checking out our full catalog in the Cracked Store. You can also pick up some rad T-shirts with cyborg-friendly designs in the Cracked Dispensary. And if you do manage to turn your home into a high tech smart house, just don't program Arduino for evil. You'll get fewer uprisings that way.
You know what robots love? Podcasts. No, really. A robot told us once. Just love 'em. Podcasts make robots happier than Schmidty the Clam. Their robot brains keep a perfect record of every bit of trivial information gleaned from hours and hours of endless podcast binge sessions. Robots don't sleep. They take notes in perfectly legible yet hastily scribbled fooootNOTES in the margins of unread comic books. Robots have no need for comic books. They have no feelings. Except they LOVE podcasts ...
For more ways to teach the robots who's boss, check out 8 Items To Keep Robots From Stealing Your Job.