Kids learn how to do some really cool stuff by competing in Vex. It might be nice if they had a cheaper, non-competitive Cortex to use as a controller for non-competitive projects such as home use, science fairs, halloween special effects, etc. Some Arduino boards come close to doing this, but it might be nice to have something that was provided by Vex that could provide a seamless transition from building robots to doing other projects. Probably such a non-competitive Cortex would not need the radio link, for example.
Yes, that’s why I think it’s wonderful of you to volunteer getting this to market.
It’s a bit daunting for most kids/people/warm-blooded animals to face a brick of PCB-mounted components and get it up and running. That’s why I was suggesting a Cortex look-alike that would be cheaper but not as scary looking as a bare-naked Arduino, Beagleboard, etc. and use RobotC, EasyC, etc. that the kids are already used to.
All the components are out there. RobotC can work with Arduino. It seems like it just takes a little packaging to make it happen. Also what I don’t know: would there be a decent market for it? Could it be made cheap enough to entice kids to tinker and make things with their Vex-acquired know-how?
Think of the stigma, though! That’s from kiddie-land, Plastic Romper-Room toy World. I’m sorry but there’s nothing about that that looks like it can chop off your finger or put your eye out. My kids would rather wear diapers than be seen using one of those!
But you didn’t suggest a new/cheaper robotics system, you suggested a cheaper controller for use at science fairs etc. and said that the usual approach to this (ie. an arduino or beaglebone) is “too difficult”.
The cortex + battery is $280.
The VEX-IQ brain + battery is $120.
You might be right about this. Maybe I can put some camo paint on it, velcro it to the inside of an ammo box, and fob it off as something new and dangerous. As I said earlier, I knew there were capable products available, but it’s all about the packaging.
Have to admit I find it quite funny seeing 25kg FTC monsters being controlled by LEGO Mindstorms! At the end of the day they’re all the same internally - a micro and some I/O. Regardless of packaging the machine can still take your finger off and that’s motivating.
Personally I think both Mindstorms and IQ are gimped so far as I/O goes.