Open Robot Kit

Off the shelf robots are often inaccessible for many learners. The Open Robot Kit seeks to enable educators to easily create a ‘one-size-fits-one’ robot that works with Weavly.


The Open Robot Kit has been working to create a guide for building a robot that can be used with Weavly, moving under the control of the program in Weavly and in synch with the character on the Weavly display. The robot will incorporate components that are affordable and easy to acquire, and can be built without extensive specialist knowledge or skills; for example, using just a screwdriver instead of soldering.

Initial Outcomes

The Tetra TMU students worked in teams to prototype designs for three robots: a Sound Bot, a Theatre Bot, and an Art Bot.

After the initial design and prototype work by Tetra TMU students, the IDRC team continued to iterate on the Tetra TMU Art Bot, focusing on a dual motor design. During these iterations, two microcontroller platforms, multiple DC motors and multiple chassis were tested.

Next Steps

We need a robot that moves reliably

  • With the motors that we have worked with so far, we can move the robot in the general direction that we want, but it isn’t exact enough and currently causes too much confusion for students
  • Most of the work so far has been with continuous servo motors and DC motors; we’ve started some exploration of stepper motors, but more work is needed here to understand the feasibility of using stepper motors

Outstanding challenges

  • Getting feedback on the rotation that the robot has made and the distance that it has moved so that we can move precisely
    • For example, commonly available “hobby” motors vary in their performance from motor instance to motor instance, and such variation must be managed if these parts are to be used
  • Finding parts that are
    • Easy to get and are affordable
    • Easy to work with
    • Ideally offer some amount of customization (“one-size-fits-one”)

Who We Are

The Open Robot Kit is a collaborative effort between the Inclusive Design Research Centre and Tetra TMU. This project is funded by the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Accessible Technology Program and the Hewlett Foundation.

Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC)

IDRC is an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, educators and co-designers who work together to proactively ensure that emerging technology and practices are designed inclusively.

Visit IDRC website

Tetra TMU

Tetra TMU is a student chapter under the Tetra Society of North America operating at Toronto Metropolitan University. We focus on bridging students and people with disabilities to create new innovative assistive devices that can improve their quality of life. We strive to make our communities more inclusive through initiatives that consist of hands-on learning, community awareness events, and skill development workshops.

Visit Tetra TMU website


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