I bought this Arexx AAROBOT AAR-04 at http://www.elv.de/ for 49,95€ . First they said it’s currently not available, I did’nt cancel the order and I have built the ARX-03 in the meantime – just with the first life sign of the old one the new one arrived.
This robot is even more satisfying my first thougths of a free platform. While the AAR03 is build in DLR license the new one is complete free and Arduino based :
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring) and the Arduino development environment (based on Processing). Arduino projects can be stand-alone or they can communicate with software running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).
The boards can be built by hand or purchased preassembled; the software can be downloaded for free. The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license, you are free to adapt them to your needs.
Source and more information at : www.arduino.cc
Surprisingly the new AAR-04 is complete build, for that not really a kit, but ready to use and a bit bigger. For the PlotRobot-Project more room for extensions. The surface mounted parts would be a bit difficult to solder for the most amateurs. The mechanics is improved compared to the old – it looks more robust. It’s also a good start to get into Arduino programming.