Programming Your Own Robot Kit: 5 Tips for DIY Robots for Beginners

Programming Your Own Robot Kit: 5 Tips for DIY Robots for Beginners

So you’re ready to take your science skills to the next level and give DIY robotics for beginners a shot using basic programming technique. Learning the basics of coding and the differences between major computer programming languages will allow you to lead your robot through basic motions.

Many students, especially those already weary about their abilities in the STEM fields run the other way when they hear the words computer programming. But computer programming doesn’t have to be overwhelming. For many students, simply learning to code from a book isn’t exciting or effective. But when you’re testing out coding on your robot for the first time, you’ll get to see all those coding practices set in motion.

Of course, when it comes to programming your own robot kit, there are several steps you can take to ease the process. Computer programming is also not limited to robotics experts. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for ambitious learners who take on the challenge of both robotics and computer programming at the same time.



Here are a few tips to make your next DIY robots for beginners project a total success.

1. Start with What You Already Know

Even though you’re not always thinking about it, you’re interacting with computer programming every day to accomplish basic tasks in your daily life. You’re sending and receiving messages from friends, flipping through your favorite television shows, or following Google Maps to get to a weekend destination.

Students who stay away from computers and technology will begin to reexamine what computer programming does and how it works as they begin to construct their own DIY robots for beginners. This will help to ease tension and expand students’ understanding of the capabilities of computer programming since the results of good or bad coding are immediately apparent as you try to make your robot move.

Many robotics kits have even developed simplified versions perfect for students hoping to get their feet wet for the first time in STEM fields and robotics. As simple as sitting behind an iPad or mac computer, students can test their skills at programming even at a basic level.

2. Keep it Simple

Each DIY robots kit calls on students to focus on a different area of robotics and STEM education. While some kits will focus on mechanics and design, other kits are centered on computer programming.

Students who want to make their DIY robots as beginners should look for kits that focus particularly on computer programming, and leave other aspects of robotics out of the way or simplified.

While some group members might prefer to focus on the mechanics of their robot, in other team and classroom scenarios, this is the perfect opportunity for students to break out of their shell and potentially discover their strengths as a computer programmer.

3. Choose a Language that Suits Your Needs

A crucial step in programming your own robot kit is to choose a computer programming language to suit your needs. Internationally speaking, over 1500 computer programming languages are used to carry out any variety of tasks from robotics in medicine, to online banking, to social media interface systems and GPS programming.

It’s no wonder then that not all robotics experts agree about which computer programming language is the best or the easiest for young students first learning about DIY robots for beginners and coding.

Some robotics instructors might suggest Python, for example, for ease of use and efficiency at merging programs together.

Other experts might recommend Java, sometimes considered the modern version of C.

Yet other roboticists will always place C++ as the top ranking. C++ is one of the most popular languages that allows for high functionality.

While choosing a computer programming language, upper-level students with an interest in computer programming should also consider which will benefit them long term. University programs, as well as specific professions, will call on different preferences in computer programming expertise. Even though it’s definitely possible to learn more than one programming language, students can dramatically ease the process of learning each one by prioritizing which will have the most longevity for them.

4. Save & Save Again: Document Changes You Make to the Coding

Perhaps this phrase rings a bell. Well, especially when it comes to programming your own robot kit, it’s also essential to save your work. This happens in two parts.

First, students programming their own robot kit should add comments to sections of the code. You can add general comments, and also eventually begin to add comments line by line.

It’s also important to space multiple copies of coding as separate versions, rather than re-writing code. This allows you to backtrack, say in the case that you realize hundreds of lines into coding that your codes don’t compile, you can look back at exactly where the error took place.

Fortunately, coding is also fairly compact, which means you can save multiple copies without taking up space on your hard drive.

5. The Power of Power Off

While programming your own robot kit, you’re bound to come across challenges and setbacks. You may notice, for example, that your coding has not been input properly, and the robot isn’t moving, despite several restarts.

When this happens, it’s important to immediately turn off the power. First and foremost, this will help protect your robot so the mechanics stay intact. Second, like many electronic devices, simple power on/power off can solve an array of technological complications without simple solutions.

Taking on computer programming is no small task. But why not take the opportunity to consider programming outside the traditional context? After all, computer programming doesn’t have to mean sitting behind your desk all day, it can also be working away beside your latest robot invention, ready to watch it move for the first time, because of the coding you accomplished. That’s no small feat.

If there’s ever a right opportunity to dive into the world of computer programming head first, robotics might just be that plunge worth taking.

Derek Capo