After convincing my son to let me destroy _upgrade _his toy robot, I was quick to order a bunch of Arduino-related gear online. A month later and “Bingo” is still sitting in pieces, but when the parts started arriving last weekend I was able to make a minor breakthrough: I installed the Arduino software, connected one of her legs to a DC motor driver and made her twitch forwards and backwards with a little sketch! Small steps, literally, but I was pretty excited to see it working. (I also soldered an 8×8 LED matrix with a MAX7219 controller and, like, three other components … and it actually worked! I’m in need of a lot of soldering practice, so this was a big deal for me.)

Since then I’ve had a bunch of sensor packages arrive from beautiful China, and have been planning what we might be able to get Bingo to actually do. Follow a line? React to sound or light? Tell the time, the temperature, relative humidity? I’ve (just) realised I can fit an Arduino Uno inside her head, probably even with the “prototype shield” on top, so I think we can experiment — that’s the nature of Arduino, right?

At first, I think I want to keep it simple: the two leg motors and two LED eyes, with a little pre-programmed dance. Once she walks forward, turns, walks backwards, turns and flashes her pretty blue eyes, I’ll call it a day. (I might even be able to finish it off tonight, depending on whether Jules goes to bed in the next five minutes. He was mildly interested when he saw the leg moving, after all, but perhaps if he sees her reassembled it will spark his enthusiasm?)

Fun, fun, fun!