This guide will show you how to create a low-cost ($39) collision avoidance robot with a face on the font. We do this by using a new low-cost, bright OLED display. Our students love to add faces to their robots. They like to draw smiley faces that change based on what the robot is doing.

There are several small low-cost robots available for under $25 that allow you to teach the basics of computer science. One of the problems with these robots is they don’t provide transparency as to what is going on inside the robot while you are building it. In 2018 that all started to change with the availability of low-cost high quality OLED displays. These displays have the following benefits:

They are very bright and have high contrast. Even a bright room they are easy to read from many angles.
They have good resolution. The ones I am using are 168x64 pixels. This is almost 4x the prior displays we have used.
They are low-power and they work consistently even when your robot’s power is dropping.
They are relatively low cost (around $16 each) and the prices are dropping.
In the past, they have been difficult to program and would use too much memory to be used with low-cost Arduino Nanos. The Nano only has 2K or dynamic RAM. This guide will show you how to work around these problems and build a robot that kids love to program.”


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