DFRobot’s Romeo is the heart of a robot on a single board. Many the starter robotics project has been launched around the Arduino, but inevitably, you have to turn around and build on an H-bridge or similar add-on to let the power-sipping controller drive the power-hungry motors that will move your robot around the world. The Romeo builds that power-control into the board, along with beefy screw-post terminals for attaching motors and power supplies with fatter wires for carrying heavier power. Thicker copper traces on the board for these high-power and ground circuits complete the picture.
The Romeo board gives you the choice of how you want to wire it: There’s a standard Arduino Uno compatible pinout, handy if you want to stack shields on top. All the connectors, digital and analog, also come with 3-pin connectors, making it easier to wire in most common sensors that need power, ground, and signal.
The chip at the heart of the Romeo V2, the ATmega 32U4, feels a bit old fashioned compared to many microcontrollers now on the market. But I see something to love here: The Arduino Leonardo, built around the ATmega 32U4 was Arduino’s first foray into a chip with built-in USB control. Indeed, the Romeo shows up to the Arduino editor as a Leonardo. Cross one more chore off the list of things you’ll have to do to get your robot up and running. You don’t need to add a new board to the ones the editor knows how to program.
The libraries for making the ATmega32U4 pretend to be a keyboard or attach to a computer as a USB peripheral are some of the most mature in the Arduino ecosystem. This makes the Romeo a good controller for computer connected animatronics, or really anything else you want to plug into a computer that needs to control higher powered devices.