Summer Small Robots at Techco


Technology Cooperative (Techco)  Summer Small Bot Program

The Techco Small Robotics Workshops are a series of working sessions where you design and build a small robot.  This program is designed for all levels of experience with programming, robotics and electronics.  No earlier knowledge is required.


The aim of the program is to gain familiarity and hands-on experience with the technologies involved with robots like mechanics, electronics and programming.


There is no registration fee to join the  program.  There may be a small charge for supplies.  Fees will be waived for students with a financial need.


A basic robotic platform (Details below) is provided to help each student get started.  All basic building supplies will be available.

Age Requirements

Ages 12 and up are welcome.  Due to capacity constraints, priority will be given to middle and high school aged students over adults.


All workshops will be held on Wednesday Nights from 6 – 8 PM at the Technology Cooperative, 13 Emory Place Knoxville, Tennessee 37917.

Workshop Dates

  • June 3, 2015
  • June 9, 2015
  • June 24, 2015
  • July 8, 2015
  • July 15, 2015
  • July 24, 2015
  • August 5, 2015

Workshop format

The workshops are open labs where each student works on their robot with helpers/instructions moving between the students.  Each student progresses at their own pace. The format allows students to attend the sessions that fit their schedule without missing any instruction.  Students are free to come to as few are a many sessions they like.

Fun competitions and demonstrations

The robots will have two different challenges.  1) A sumo wrestling competition where the robots will try to push each other outside of a 2 ft. circular ring and 2) a table hockey competition where the robots must push a circular disk into a goal for points.

The competition are designed to be fun and give a purpose to the robot building.  The competitions will also serve as a showcase for the students to present their work to friends and family.

Basic Robot Kit

image06The basic Robot kit for the summer program is detailed below.  A detailed parts list is available if you wish to buy a kit for your student.  Kits are available for purchase through the technology cooperative for no mark-up over the commercially available price.  The basic kit has a custom electronic part that will also be available.

Kit Parts

Raspberry Pi (Model A+)


(from the website)

The Raspberry Pi is a low-cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.  The Model A+ is the low-cost variant of the Raspberry Pi. 

SD Card

image00The SD card is a key part of the Raspberry Pi; it provides the storage for the Operating System and files. 

Dual Motor Driver

image01This driver can drive two motors in two directions and can alter speed using pulse width modulation (PWM)

Plastic Gear motor and wheel

motor_wheelThe gear motor provides plenty of torque to move your robot. 

Battery Holder

image05The main power for the robot.  The battery holder stores 4 AA size batteries and as an on/off switch and a cover.


image03The robots will be controlled by infrared remote controllers commonly found with most TV and DVD players.  IR remote controls are easy to interface and the codes are easy to change when involved in a in a competition situation where each robot needs different codes to run.

Software System

The software controlling the robot will be written in a language called Python.  Python is a great programming language for both beginners and professionals.  All software will be preloaded and ready to use with all source code available for you to freely use and customize as you wish.

The software provides two key functions necessary to run your robot, 1) motor power and direction control and 2) a remote control interface to drive your robot.


If you have any questions, please email all questions to   Download a PDF of the program information and the Parental Consent Form below: