All-new experiential robotics platform (XRP) powered by Raspberry Pi Pico W

Behold XRP (Experiential Robotics Platform) — an open robotics platform to help you find your feet in the world of engineering, robotics, and software development.

The heart of XRP is an all-in-one, Raspberry Pi Pico W-aboard, robotics kit built by SparkFun in collaboration with founding visionaries DEKA Research and Development, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and others. As well as all the hardware you’ll need to build your own robot, the XRP platform is supported by an open coding environment where you’ll learn to get your wheeled companion up and running, before branching out into even more exciting areas of robotics.

Experiential Robot Kit head-on view from the front
Looks a bit like a tarantula head on, but don’t let that put you off

We love it not just because it’s powered by RP2040, but also because it’s designed to help absolutely anyone dabble in engineering and software development. Complete beginners will feel supported enough in the XRP environment to dive straight in.

What does the kit include?

  • XRP controller board with Raspberry Pi Pico W and Qwiic Connector on board
  • XRP chassis plus additional plastic parts to build the body of the robot
  • Ultrasonic distance sensor
  • Sub-micro size servo
  • Two hobby motors with encoders
  • Custom line-follower board
  • Two caster wheels
  • Two O-rings, two flexible Qwiic cables, one battery holder
  • Special XRP sticker sheet
Experiential Robot Kit birds eye view of unpacked elements
Easy to assemble = no need to solder, no screws

No need to solder!

Nothing in the XRP kit needs soldering and you won’t need any additional tools. Music to the ears of those planning to let a classroom full of mini-tinkerers loose on the platform.

We are super excited to have the next generation of robotics engineers learning on Raspberry Pi silicon, and even we tire of fiddly soldering at times, so it’s great that a lack of experience there won’t be a barrier to the entry-level users we hope XRP will inspire.

Custom boards make tinkering easier

The custom XRP Controller board includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, dual-channel motor drivers, servo headers, and connectors to make sensor integration easier. It’s all powered by an on-board Raspberry Pi Pico W and it’s the ideal springboard for as many add-ons as you can conjure up for your robot.

Experiential Robot Kit with Pico W onboard inside

Want to give your XRP robot an arm and teach it how pick things up? You can do that with this kit. You can also draw your own single-line tracks and program it to follow them using the custom line-follower board. So, yes, you can make it drive itself into a wall or off the edge of a pier if you are so inclined; some of our engineers have even converted the XRP into a balance bot (they needed to add a couple of extra parts). The electronics will not survive falling off a pier, so proceed with caution and definitely film it because you can only do it once.

Where can I buy one?

You can buy your own kit from XRP launch partners SparkFun and DigiKey, who also happen to be Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers.

A delicious discount is available if you’re purchasing kits for use in a school or for a FIRST Robotics team. The price of an XRP kit comes down from $114.95 to $64.95 for those users.

Have a poke around experientialrobotics.org to learn more about the XRP environment.

3 comments

Matthew Hirsch avatar

This product seems very similar to the Kitronik Autonomous Robotics Platform (Buggy) for Pico. Though, the XRP has better GPIO access and includes more sensors. On the other hand, the Kitronik robotics kit costs significantly less (at least when ignoring the educator discount).

Sam avatar

AFAIK the Kitronics one lacks encoders.
It’s also closed source so cannot be adapted.

Bonzadog avatar

Perhaps the Pico will not offer enough computing power for further expansion. In my club, I have observed that these simple Robots are at first interesting, but very quickly lose interest if expansion is not really possible.
I was thinking of making a robot chassis using wood to make special details possible.

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