Anyone looking for a fun and challenging Arduino project should take a look at these three dinosaur-themed robot designs. Whether you’re new to coding or an experienced programmer, there’s something for everyone in this roundup. Best of all, these projects are perfect for any age group- from kids just learning the basics to adults who want a weekend project that’s a little out of the ordinary.
For anyone whose followed my blog, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of all-things robot dinosaurs and now having a pretty sizable collection, which includes everything from a WowWee Miposaur to an Ugobe Pleo, along with all sorts of inexpensive dinosaur robot toys from China. I’ve even been messing around with making my own, picking up a ELEGOO UNO R3 Project Super Starter Kit over Christmas and messing around with a robot raptor head project earlier this year.
If you’re into robot dinosaurs like I am, the obvious next step is to move into learning how to build and program your own, and Arduino is a great place to start. There being a few great Arduino dinosaur robot projects out there for you to get your teeth into over a weekend either on your own or with your kids, helping to jumpstart an interest in robotics and computer programming.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at some of these projects, as well as providing some basic information about Arduino for any novices out there looking to get into building their own.
Table of Contents
What is Arduino?
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform that’s easy-to-use and open-source. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects.
Arduino can be used to control a variety of devices, including motors, lights, and sensors. It’s a great way to get kids interested in coding and electronics. This means you can control almost anything with it. Better yet, with a little internet connectivity thrown in, the possibilities for what you can create become near-endless.
This ability to think up, build, and program whatever you can imagine, makes Arduino one of the best places to start learning how to code, especially for kids.
What programming language does Arduino use?
Arduino uses the C++ programming language. It’s a great language for beginners, and has been used in a number of colleges and universities as an introductory language. C++ is object oriented, meaning that you can create objects that have their own variables and functions. This can make code more modular and easier to understand.
C++ is one of the most popular programming languages for robots. It’s a versatile language that’s perfect for beginners, and it has a number of features that make it ideal for robotics. It also has powerful libraries for controlling motors and sensors, which makes it perfect for building robots.
What software do you need to program Arduino?
In order to program Arduino, you will need to download and install the open-source Arduino software IDE. This software is used to write code for your Arduino, and can be used on both Windows and Mac computers.
For complete novices and kids, you can use Scratch S4A as an alternative – a modification that lets you program the Arduino with Scratch, a visual programming language developed by MIT Media Lab.
It allows users to create programs by dragging and dropping blocks of code. It’s easy to use and a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. Making it easy to get started with Arduino, by using visual programming as opposed to code.
Learning to code with an Arduino
Arduino is a great way to get started with coding. It’s a very versatile platform, and there are so many possibilities for projects. It’s also pretty easy to learn, with a huge online community and no shortage of free, open-source projects published online to take your pick from – learning Arduino is both fun and easy.
It’s also a great way to get kids interested in all-things development, and the perfect weekend activity to bond with your children, especially on those days that the weather doesn’t permit leaving the house.
You’ll be amazed at just what you can build with an Arduino – and how straight forward it is once you get a little practice.
Three of the best Arduino dinosaur robot projects
One of the coolest things you can do with an Arduino is control a robot. There are plenty of Arduino robot projects out there, but if you ask us, none are more fun than making your very own robot dinosaur.
Check out these three awesome projects that are perfect for anyone looking to get into robotics or programming.
1. Intellisaurus Walking Robot Kit
The Intellisaurus is hands-down the most sophisticated project on this list – being one of the more impressive Arduino robot projects we’ve come across. It uses an Arduino Nano to control its motors and a Raspberry PI Zero W for internet connectivity – opening up near endless possibilities for hacking, tinkering, and customization – and was created by Jacquin Buchanan.
Complete, this dinosaur robot stands at 8″ tall and is available in one of three different styles – Triceratops, Stegosaurus, or a Dragon. These styles can also be completely customized, with the 3D models of the shell being available to download and edit into whatever creature you want.
Everything is open source and the robot was offered in a number of different packages, including a base kit, an animal shell kit – which included all 3D shell parts already printed – and an artificial intelligence kit. These were offered on the project’s Indiegogo page, however it’s not clear if the kits are still available. If you’re interested in one of these kits, it’s best to reach out to the project’s creator over at the official Intellisaurus website.
If you’re up for a challenge, everything needed to create your very own Intellisaurus is available online – meaning that it’s possible to make this Arduino robot without a kit. The best places to start would be the projects page over at the Arduino Project Hub or the Intellisaurus GitHub page.
2. STEGObot: Stegosaurus Robot
STEGObot was created by Mech-Dickel Robotics and is a 3-servo remote controlled dinosaur Arduino Nano R3 robot. The body of this robot is made from high-impact 2mm polystyrene, however, there’s no reason you couldn’t create these parts in something like TinkerCad and 3D print the body instead.
What we like most about this project is that despite it being relatively simple, the finished product looks very impressive – giving you a really nice finished product once complete.
If you’re interested in making your own STEGObot, head on over to the projects Instructables page, where you’ll find everything you need to put it together. You can also purchase an awesome looking Stegosaurus-shaped printed circuit board for the project from PCB Way – something that really adds to the aesthetic of this Arduino dinosaur robot.
You’ll also need a remote control to operate the STEGObot, which if you’re looking for your next project, Mech-Dickel Robotics also has a couple of incredible DIY controller project that’s well worth a look – with our personal favorite, as somewhat of a retro gamer, being the N64-inspired Arduino robot controller project.
3. Arduino Biped (Baby Dino)
Arduino Biped (Baby Dino) from user Renga_rider is the simplest of the dinosaur robot projects to make it to our list, making it a great start for anyone who is completely new to Arduino programming. It’s also made from carboard, which means that besides the electronics you’ll need to pick up, you won’t need any fancy, expensive bits of kit like a 3D printer to complete it.
This project is compatible with Arduino Uno, Nano, or Mega – so you can use pretty much any Arduino board that you like for this one. In addition to an Arduino, you’ll also need:
- 5x 9g servos
- 1x HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor
- 1x LiPo battery (2s or 9v battery)
The completed robot is autonomous, so no need for a controller, and uses it’s HC-SR04 to detect objects, moving left or right to avoid them. Given that it’s autonomous, this project is a good choice for anyone interested in basic artificial intelligence. It’s also not going to take too long to put together, making it great as an affordable weekend project.
If you’re looking to get started with Arduino and you’re as mad about dinosaurs as we are, you should definitely consider starting with one of these three robotics projects. While they all have different levels of difficulty and complexity, each can be completed in an afternoon or two- perfect for the weekend!
If you’re completely new to Arduino, you’re best bet would be to start with the Arduino Biped (Baby Dino), which should be simple enough for even complete novices to build, while also giving them the skills needed to move on to more complex projects, like the STEGObot and eventually (with any luck) the much more complex Intellisaurus.
There are loads of great Arduino projects out there to cut your teeth on, whether to teach yourself how to code, or to get your kids interested in programming. However, for us, there are none better than robotics projects, as with these you’re able to bring something to life, having a blast learning about robotics and programming in the process! So what are you waiting for? Get started today!