Edison is a new robot from Australia. It is great for experimentation because it is very cheap and it has been designed to be compatible with Lego. It has independently driven wheels, a line tracking sensor and proximity sensors. Very cleverly, it can use its line tracking sensor as a bar code reader. It is therefore possible to program Edison just by driving it over a bar code! Edison also has infra-red sensors so it can be controlled by a basic remote control. Using Lego to link them together, multiple Edisons can be combined into larger robots that can do even more things.

Another unique feature of Edison is its ability to be programmed from an iPad without it having any Wi-Fi capability. Edware, which is like Scratch, runs on the iPad. To program Edison, the robot is connected to the iPad’s headphone output using a special sound to light conversion cable. The program is ‘played’ from Edware into Edison as a series of sounds, which the cable converts to flashes of light that Edison can understand.

I’ve programmed two of mine to work with the remote control I got with my iMac and combined them with one of the cheapest technical Lego sets on the market into a rather nifty little remote controlled digger, which works brilliantly. I think that Edison is a fantastic piece of work. I’m looking forward to getting it in front of more kids as soon as I can.