Skip to Content

ItchBots - Robotic Extension of Scratch

Do you want to control a robot of your design/choice with Scratch? Don't have the budget for the real thing but could use a simulator? Give Itchbots a try...

Robotics is a field of engineering that is both multidisciplinary and exciting for children.  It is multidisciplinary in that the construction of a successful robot draws on mechanical, chemical, power, electrical, and computer concepts as well as mathematics and computer science.  It is exciting in that results are immediate and obvious:  robots move and do our bidding (most of the time...).

Itchbots is a robotics twist on Scratch from the MIT Media Lab.  My intent in building Itchbots was to develop a grade-school level course in robotics that did not depend on the acquisition of robot kits from LEGO.  Since the source for Scratch is available, I made several changes under the hood to implement a flexible robot communications protocol that could be used with several new robot-centric blocks to program a number of real robots.  And, because my budget was limited, I also did my best to implement a robot simulator so that simple labs is robot navigation can still be carried out.  I named the result Itchbots in a lame attempt at humour (scratch that itch!).

Needless to say, as of this writing, I still have some work to do in order to bring lecture and lab material up to par and to extend the range of robots that can be integrated.  This is where those who are handy with a PIC or Arduino could lend a hand.


I should also note that you don't have to be doing robotics to use Itchbots.  If you just want to be able to sense the outside world on your own custom board, Itchbots will work fine for that too. 


Rich Goyette