Mr. General Mobile Platform

Mr. General is a solderless breadboard on wheels — one of my favorite ways to play with robotics. Mr. General puts it all on a sturdy frame, throws in a nifty servo-operated object detector, and even 140 colored wires. You supply the microcontroller; I recommend a small all-in-one board, like the BASIC Stamp, Boarduino, or Arduino Mini Pro.

The circuit board provides power to the four servomotors included in the kit: two for the wheels, and two smaller motors for a pan/tilt turret, where you mount the “compound eye” proximity sensor.

This kit requires extensive soldering, and a build time of 4–6 hours. Using 1.2V rechargeable batteries, you can power a 5V microcontroller without a voltage regulator. For controllers that need 7V, use a boost circuit like the Pololu Adjustable Boost Regulator ( #799), but power the motors from the batteries.

Gordon McComb has been building robots since the 1970s and wrote the bestselling Robot Builder’s Bonanza. You can read his plans to take over the world with an army of mind-controlled automatons, along with other musings, at

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