LaunchBot is a $15.00 programmable robot with a 16bit processors from TI.  

The robot is programmed in C, using a professional development environment called Code Composer Studio.

Members: 13
Latest Activity: Mar 12, 2013

This firmware is for the MSP430Launchpad and is based off the TI Launchpad example for Code Composer Studio 4.

The firmware turns LaunchBot into a line follower.

See video on this




LaunchBot is built using this $10.00 kit from kitsusa as a base:


and this $4.30 kit from TI with a 16bit MSP430 as it's intelligence:


The total cost of the robot is less then $15.00


The robot includes two line sensors ( IR sensors pointing down ) and two motors providing differential drive.  This robot is perfect for line following and maze competitions.


The robot is programmed in C using the professional development tool, Code Composer Studio, from TI.  The TI MSP430 in the Launchpad kit is a professional RISC microcontroller used in automotive, industrial, and medical products around the world.  Time spent working with the TI Launchpad and the MSP430 can be counted on your resume.  Design experience with the TI MSP430 and a understanding of the Code Composer Studio development environment are skills desired by many employers.



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Comment Wall

Comment by eric gregori on August 17, 2011 at 9:04pm

Hacking the TI Launchpad to the KitsUSA base:

Comment by eric gregori on August 17, 2011 at 9:10pm

To learn more about the TI Launchpad:



Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 17, 2011 at 10:25pm

"LaunchBot" is a very interesting project. I've read many discussions about a low cost robot for learning, but this may be the most viable approach I've seen.  We've often discussed having cheaper robots for our university "General Ed" courses and also for highschool teachers to use. (UNI has a reputation for turning out highschool teachers. Teaching them to teach robotics could move the whole effort down to the HS and JH level) I can see this being a beginner's platform. So I'm excited too.


Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 18, 2011 at 1:35pm

Okay, I've ordered the Launch Pad. I also ordered the biggest version of the 430 (sample) in the Value Line that I believe will fit in the Launch Pad: the MSP430G2553.


This version has 16K program space, and 512 bytes of RAM. I think this might be large enough to host and interactive language and a user program.


If you know me at all, you know I think interactivity is the key to rapid development. And I have installed several microcomputers with an internal Forth language, and IsoMax(TM) (state machine based control language based on Forth). So I think there might be enough room in the MSP430G2553 to install a Forth or IsoMax(TM). I'll also want to see if the TI development tools are interactive enough to make programming reasonable. However, from years of teaching beginners robotics, I think high level C might be a bit tough. I don't know yet if it makes sense in this effort, but I am going to investigate the idea further.


Now I need to get an R3D3 on the way. Eric, can you post a more complete photo of the schematics for the R3D3 you've already got in the mean time?

Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 18, 2011 at 1:52pm
Ugh, just tried to order from KitsUSA, and the R3D3 are sold out until October. Need to get my hands on one... or two.
Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 18, 2011 at 5:38pm
Well, I got a kit ordered. Long saga. First thought maybe I could find the source of these kits. Searched on the number 21-890. Found an Elenco connection. Searched on Elenco. Turns out they're in Ill. Found the kit all over at $20, with ~$18 shipping. Crazy. Tried CS Sales. They're in Kilgore, TX, They had them at $20 with $9 shipping. So more than KitsUSA but less than anywhere else.Remembered I had gotten some OWI Robotics cheaper elsewhere. Searched fro them. They didn't have the kit. So I searched for other suppliers who had OWI stuff. Found the place. It was Omnitron Electronics. As soon as the site loaded - slow and familiar - I suspected a connection. Yep. Same telephone number as KitsUSA. So what's the point. maybe I should have asked about the non-solder version. But instead, I ordered from CS Sales. I have one on the way.
Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 18, 2011 at 11:56pm

I got a peek at the driver circuits of R3D3 from another post on this site:


So looking at the circuit, the wheels can only move forward, in response to seeing a reflective surface. There will be no backing this robot up without adding an H-bridge circuit. I'm thinking another circuitboard will need to be designsed to add on, or to replace, the existing one. Perhaps there is need for a combination of the TI chip and the sensor board.

Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 19, 2011 at 8:45pm

Correction. That should be C&S-Sales. Turns out they're in Wheeling Ill same address as Elenco. A name collision on an internet search caused me to think it was Kilgore. Link is right.
Comment by Randy M. Dumse on August 19, 2011 at 8:48pm

eric gregori said: Friday, August 19, 2011 2:47 PM

> I have 8 wires between the robot and the launchpad:

> Vcc, gnd

> led1, led2

> Left ir, right ir (into analog channels on msp430 )

> Lmotor, Rmotor

> The 14pin msp430 has 10 gpio/analog pins.


So you've got 6 of the ten possible connections already tied up.


Plus if we add serial communications possibly via Bluetooth or XBee, that would only leave 2 lines left over. I'd suggest for those Sharp Rangers.


To me this suggests we need to go the 20 pin TI part pretty soon to go any further. LaunchPad should accept the larger part. I'm not sure on price yet for the larger chip. Oh. They're certainly not terrible. DigiKey part number 296-28429-5-ND $2.80 in singles.


Certainly that advance could be a second step after all the learning experience you can get with the original chip is exhausted, and they need more RAM and Flash. Or if they want to go to an interactive language (which I definitely recommend).

The next thing I think needs to be added to the robot would be a couple Sharp IR Rangers, GP2D12's. After that, the 16=pin version would be full. I'd like to see IRPD's or sonars added, and some feedback from the wheels (tachs, or even quadrature).


I'd like to hear discussion on other ideas on how to fill up the pins.


So far, the courses I've been teaching get students to line following first half of the semester, and get them to Mini-Sumo by the second half. We encourage them to add their own additional sensors for Mini-Sumo competition, and this usually consists of adding a few IS471F Sharp near-range sensors (also known as IRPD's) but some of the students get very creative. Had one with a scanning (pico servo) sonar (SRF04) called "Bird"

because it looked so much like a bird looking around the arena.

Comment by eric gregori on August 20, 2011 at 3:58am

Link on schematic of R3B3.



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