The Rosebotics Robot Platform

The Rosebotics robot platform, simply called RoseBot, is designed to include all you will need to:

  1. Complete all of the online Rosebotics courseware
  2. Participate in the annual Homecoming Rosebotics competition

The core component of RoseBot is the Sparkfun RedBot (Inventor's Kit version), a 2 wheel drive, Arduino-based robot. RedBot is designed to be simple to use, easy to modify and, most importantly, fun to use! The RedBot comes with a bunch of sensors already included, such as: bump sensors, wheel encoders and line following sensors. In addition to the RedBot, the RoseBot platform adds some peripherals, a wireless communication mechanism, and a software stack to support the C, Python, and Scratch programming languages.


RoseBot Draft version
(still a work in progress to make it pretty)

In addition to the Sparkfun RedBot, the image above shows the additional RoseBot hardware:

  • WiFly module to allow the RedBot to be controlled wirelessly, a fun addition for any robotics project.
  • Extra IR distance sensors to allow advanced detection of upcoming obstacles.
  • A smartphone mount to allow you to add your own smartphone for advanced challenges.

Some components are required, other components you can choose to purchase or not depending on how you expect to use your robot. In order to help guide or purchase decision, we've created a Core components category and an Extras category. We recommend you pick up the Core components initially and only purchase the Extras once you're sure you can commit time to this project. Love to have you join our world, but don't buy a dust collector. :)

The core of RoseBot is the Sparkfun RedBot (which explains the naming similarity). Originally the Rosebotics team made a very custom robot, but we've since decided that it's more fun to join a thriving community. RedBot is an excellent choice for our group's goals because you can program it with Arduino, and start your experience with the Sparkfun Assembly Guide and Arduino Experiments, or you can look at some of our course material to learn more about Python on Scratch. ALL are fun! While we are getting material together for Python and Scratch, you can enjoy your robot with Arduino development explained by the good folks at Sparkfun.

SparkFun Inventor's Kit for RedBot


$119.95 from Sparkfun (link)

Click on the 'Wireless Solution' tab below to see more Core Component parts.

If you want to control your RoseBot wirelessly using an Arduino Sketch or control the robot using Python (like we'll do in the CSSE120 content we'll make) or Scratch (AWESOME for new programmers and kids), you will need a way to get rid of the USB cable that tethers your robot to your computer. Normally hobbyist use two XBee models as their wireless solution. That can work if you'd like to go that route. Moving forward though, we live in a WiFi world, so we are moving away from the traditional XBee and using a WiFi solution. Fortunately Sparkfun sells a WiFly module that fits the RedBot XBee connector (listed below). In addition to the WiFly module you should also purchase (or borrow for 5 minutes) an Explorer USB dongle to do the one time WiFly setup with your home network. Someday we'll provide an Arduino Sketch to let you avoid the purchase of the Explorer Donge for the network setup, but for now you need to buy that one too.

WiFly Module - Wire Antenna

(You could use an XBee pair if you prefer)

SparkFun Explorer USB Dongle

(Required to setup the WiFly once)

10822-01.jpg 11812-02.jpg
$34.95 from Sparkfun (link) $24.95 from Sparkfun (link)

For the sake of the environment please don't make Alkaline batteries your permenant solution. :) You have my personal permission to use regular AA batteries for a while initially, but if you use the robot much at all, invest in a better battery solution. So if you do not have a AA battery charger already, then it is highly recommended that you purchase SOME recharger. This option includes 8 batteries so it's a pretty good deal for the features it includes: LCD display, individual charging instead of pair charging, and a reconditioning cycle.

Powerex Battery Charger w/Batteries

(This is the option we used, but pick any option you like, here is a cheaper one)

Battery Charger
$48.95 from B&H Photo and Video (link)

Cheaper on the site above than on Amazon (here) only because the site above includes 8 batteries (just make sure they DO ship them to you).

In addition to the RedBot sensors we decided to add 3 distance sensors. If you would like to add distance sensors to your RoseBot we recommend the purchases below. By adding these sensors you will be able to follow along with any Rosebotics course material created.

Sharp IR Range Sensor


Sharp Sensor Cable

(Recommended if you buy the sensor)

Distance Sensor Bracket

(Recommended if you buy the sensor)

$41.85 from RobotShop (link)
Buy 3 @ $13.95 each
$4.50 from RobotShop (link)
Buy 3 @ $1.50 each
$12.45 from RobotShop (link)
Buy 3 @ $4.15 each

In addition to the wireless module and the extra sensors, we've also added a smartphone mount. The purpose of the smartphone mount is to allow users to experiment with things like image recognition using a camera, internet remote control using tools like Firebase, video streams, or on-screen displays to express your robot's emotional state. ;) To mount your smartphone we've chosen this pan and tilt phone mount.

Cell Phone Pan and Tilt Kit

(Optional, fits well with RedBot)

Servos for the phone mount

(The kit to the left does NOT include servos)

$24.95 from RobotShop (link) $19.98 from RobotShop (link)
Buy 2 @ $9.99 each

If you look at the total prices for all the items the cost of the entire RoseBot platform is $332.53 plus shipping and tax. So really I wouldn't just blindly order everything. Pick what you think you'd like to start with. I recommend RedBot, WiFly (+USB Explorer Dongle), and some battery solution to start with. Happy shopping! We look forward to you joining the Rosebotics team!