EZ-Robot is a company that was started by a Calgary engineer who saw a need to transform his hobby into a system that he could share with others. There are four main robot platforms that can be purchased as kits. These include JD humanoid, Six hexapod, the two-wheeled AdventureBot, and Roli (the tracked) Rover. The control system for these robots is all the same. The WiFi robot controller allows the developer to use a wide assortment of mobile devices for programming the robots. These can be programmed using a visual or textual programming language, allowing for more sophisticated programming as skills develop. These kits come with servos, motor controllers, sensors, and even a camera that can be programmed for facial and object recognition. A very unique feature of the control system is that it sends the heavy processing to the mobile device to complete. This has a couple of benefits. This allows the on board power supply to be reserved for operating the high current loads such as servos and motors. It also allows the controller to be much smaller and less expensive since the components necessary for heavy processing do not reside in the controller. As a further benefit, the developer can design and build a custom app on their handheld device for controlling the robot.
The following video is quite long. If you watch the first three minutes, you will see a typical mobile device app that was created to control one of the robots. Though these kits provide excellent platforms for learning about sensors, robot control, movement, programming, and mobile app development, for the Maker and DIY teacher, available developer platforms significantly increase the utility of the controllers. This is where engineering and creativity can meet in Maker and DIY spaces. These can be used to build, re-purpose, or control any concept that the user may desire. The two main controllers, the EZ-B v4/2 and the EZ-B IoTiny controllers function the same as the robot kit controllers. The EZ-B v4/2 is in fact the same controller as in the robot kits. There is vast on-line support and tutorials as well as library of parts that can be 3D printed. For the price of around $25 USD, the EZ-B IoTiny is a very cost effective way to create a WiFi-enabled, programmable, mobile-controlled robotic system.