The TI-Innovator Rover: A Vehicle for Coding a Vehicle

With all the connectivity possible built into the TI-Innovator Hub, it was inevitable that programable motorized peripherals would become available for I-Hub. And that day has arrived. Texas Instruments, the maker of the ubiquitous graphing calculators like the TI-84, has announced the TI-Innovator Rover, a two-wheeled programmable robotic vehicle designed to work directly (hardwired) with the TI-Innovator Hub.

A 360 degree tour of the TI-Innovator Rover is available here, but below are a few more screenshots of the Rover. 

 

The TI-Innovator Hub was detailed on this NSTA Blog back in December. We were impressed with the Hub’s ability to provide feedback and control options in as little as 10 minutes. The coding process of the Hub required an appropriate TI graphing calculator so the coding experience involved a command-line interface rather than the drag-and-drop “language” of many more toy-like coding devices. The current list of comparable calculators includes one model of the 84 (Plus CE), and seven TI-Nspire hardware/software combinations.

 

According to Peter Balyta, the president of TI Education Technology, “We created Rover to demystify robotics and give students who might be intimidated by programming an easy on-ramp to learn to code. Given the sheer joy we have seen on students’ faces as they learned to code during our testing phase, we are excited to see how Rover will inspire more young minds through an introduction to robotics.”

The TI-Innovator Rover leverages the ubiquitous TI family of graphing calculators and requires a command-line understanding of the coding process. While the learning curve might be steeper for command-line coding, the capabilities are not limited by an available set of drag-and-drop code icons.

The aluminum TI-Innovator Rover with rechargeable battery has two independent drive wheels, a motor shaft encoder, a gyroscope, color sensor, LED lights, and a marker holder that will lay a path for science, art or both at the same time.

TI-Innovator Rover puts STEM into motion. I’m excited to take it for a drive when available.

 

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