Wiring kids and grown-ups alike for programming (an undeniable skill for the next generation) is Arduino, an open source electronic prototyping platform that is pared-down and accessible enough to democratize programmable electronics for the masses. Their latest creation, The Arduino Robot—recently launched at the 2013 Maker Faire festival—is the company's first product that extends beyond single microcontroller boards. Somewhat similar to LEGO bricks for the digital age, Arduino robotics provide a starting point for any number of creations. It consists of two circular boards, a motor board and control board for the physical/mechanical and digital/programming components respectively. The round Roomba-like design is the result of a collaboration with robotics lab Complubot, a Spanish multi-level, non-profit, zero-budget and highly impressive educational organization for kids aged 10-14 who are interested in robotics.
Arduino founder Massimo Banzi’s goal was to create a platform for robotics experimentation and education that mixed mechanics, software and electronics in a dynamic and exciting way (for kids of all ages). It comes with a number of step-by-step project examples you can easily replicate, or hack into to perform all sorts of tasks. As always with Arduino, every element of the platform—hardware, software and documentation—is freely available and open source, so you can learn exactly how it's made and use its design as the starting point for your own robots.