The other month I received a "Marty the Robot" kit in the mail from Element 14 for me to write some projects for (provided at no charge). I've done some previous posts here about using the micro:bit in education and am interested in seeing how this product would fit into that.

 

Marty box

 

There's lots of parts in the box but the most interesting one I thought was the screwdriver! Which is great because you don't have to hunt around for exactly the right size and shape tool to use. This is a smart move by the manufacturer Robotical as this probably means a reliably good user experience in assembly for what is ultimately a pretty cheap part. Other manufacturers - take note!

 

Marty parts

 

Assembly mostly involved a lot of bolting parts together following the high quality provided instructions. The parts felt very sturdy and were reasonably easy to fit together though there were a few steps I had to check closely. The whole robot feels well designed for both assembly and ruggedness.

 

Marty legs

 

After assembling the legs I'm glad the instructions included the step below. I had indeed assembled them backwards and had to undo the bolts and reassemble. The silver lining is this did confirm that Marty is quite easy to rebuild.

 

Marty leg instructions

 

The last steps involve you connecting up Marty's brain which is called "Rick". This board has both I2C and UART pins which means as well as controlling Marty remotely via WiFi you can also put in a micro:bit/Arduino/Raspberry Pi to control it directly. It also has a number of GPIO for adding additional sensors. Note the box does include cable ties so you can make it look less messy than the photo below.

 

Marty brain

 

Here is Marty fully assembled, he looks a little bit shocked! Total assembly time was around 2 hours.

 

Marty assembled

 

The final step was to get Marty to connect to my WiFi network and calibrate the motors. This required installing an app onto my Android phone, connecting to a WiFi network Marty had created and entering my local WiFi details. Once that was complete, you can control Marty from the phone app.

 

Marty app