Dev Kit Weekly: Texas Instruments TI-RSLK MAX Robotics Learning Kit

December 21, 2019 Brandon Lewis

This week we’re going to be reviewing a kit that is designed specifically for students and academics – or really anyone young at heart – that’s interested in learning about embedded systems or robotics in general. The RSLK MAX is TI’s second generation robotics system learning kit, only this one is based on a completely solderless design that allows it to be assembled and repaired easily.

The RSLK MAX kit includes TI’s:

  • SimpleLink LaunchPad development kit driven by a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4F-based MSP432 MCU
  • The RSLK Chassis, which integrates a 5V DC-DC regulator, 3.3V linear regulator, dual built-in motor drivers, and Sensor Interfaces through the connectors here
  • A couple of gear motor assemblies
  • A couple of red wheels
  • An 8-channel infrared sensor array to help with obstacle detection, avoidance, etc.
  • And these bumpers, which are outfitted with three switch sensors each to help deal with those pesky walls
  • There’s even a 400-pin breadboard

The chassis board of course ties all of these components together, interfacing with motors, encoders, and either the USB or AA battery power supplies. Debugging occurs on the SimpleLink Launchpad board.

Most importantly, however, the RSLK MAX is supported by a complete curriculum that was developed jointly between TI and Dr. Jon Valvano, a professor at UT Austin. The curriculum consists of 20 complete course modules with videos, lectures, and labs that take you all the way from flashing LEDs to working with finite state machines and DC motor drives to programming the SimpleLink MCU itself and building out a complete system.

In the later stages of the curriculum, course modules also touch on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communications, which aren’t supported right out of the box with the RSLK Max kit but can be easily integrated by dropping in SimpleLink Wi-Fi or SimpleLink Bluetooth Low Energy BoosterPack Plug-In Modules.

All of that learning culminates in a complex application challenge – having your RSLK MAX robot navigate a maze autonomously.

What more could you ask for from a kit that provides so much for just $109? Well, you could ask for it for free. For a chance at a free one, enter into the raffle by filling out the form here: https://opensysmedia.formstack.com/forms/dev_kit_weekly_kit_raffle

For more information on the robotics systems learning kit, visit ti.com/rslk.

We’ll see you in 2020 on Dev Kit Weekly.

Questions for @techielew about the kit? Leave a comment.

About the Author

Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for guiding the property's content strategy, editorial direction, and engineering community engagement, which includes IoT Design, Automotive Embedded Systems, the Power Page, Industrial AI & Machine Learning, and other publications. As an experienced technical journalist, editor, and reporter with an aptitude for identifying key technologies, products, and market trends in the embedded technology sector, he enjoys covering topics that range from development kits and tools to cyber security and technology business models. Brandon received a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University, where he graduated cum laude. He can be reached by email at brandon.lewis@opensysmedia.com.

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