Overview

GoGo Board: Science and Robotics for the Inventive Mind

The GoGo board is a programmable device that is designed for sensor-based and control projects. It is suited for building robots, data loggers, and devices for human-computer interaction. Its functionality is inspired by the MIT Cricket and many other programmable devices such as the the Lego Mindstorms, the IRX board, and Basic Stamps.

What’s new in this version?

  • USB Connection. We have finally moved to USB! This allows the GoGo board to be connected to and powered by the USB port. The USB hardware is built into the microcontroller, and thus does not require any external components. This keeps the board simple and avoids surface-mount components normally required by many other USB solutions.

  • Remote Control. The GoGo board comes with a new IR receiver that understands commands from any SONY (or similar) remote control. Pressing the ON/OFF button on the remote is equivalent to pressing the RUN button on the gogoboard. This gives a convenient way to start/stop procedures. Other IR keys can be read and used in Logo programs using the IR and NEWIR? commands.

  • Faster Processor. The new gogoboard runs at least 2.4 times faster than its predecessor.

  • Larger Memory to store Logo procedures. Logo procedures can be four times longer than in the older boards.

  • Firmware Optimizations. Motor power control is much more precise. Servo motors also work much better than on the previous version.

  • Smaller PCB. Because the hardware of this gogoboard has become simpler, the physical board is now smaller.

A Brief History

The initial designers of the GoGo Board are Arnan (Roger) Sipitakiat and Paulo Blikstein. Both were students in the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. The two students were inspired by the Cricket and the Lego Mindstorms, and used them extensively in their projects with middle and high-school students. However, many of the projects were conducted in countries where the tools were either extremely expensive or not available at all. This presented a serious limitation to the long term sustainability of the learning activities. In 2001, the first GoGo Board prototype was created. The main goal was to make it low-cost but also to use parts that are locally available. Since then, the GoGo board has been built and used in many countries such as Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and Malaysia.

Goals

The main goal of the GoGo Board project is to create an open-source platform that is designed to be low-cost and allow for local assembly by those who are interested. We choose human scale parts that can be assembled with out special soldering equipment. The parts are carefully selected so that they are widely available in many countries. So far, the GoGo Board has been locally built in the USA, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, China, and many other developing countries. The cost of the board is kept to a minimum.

Commercializing GoGo Boards

Although the hardware design and software are release under the GPL license, building and selling boards does not violate the license as long as all the design source are provided and made obvious. Since not everyone would want to build a GoGo Board by themselves, we promote businesses that build and sell the GoGo Board as a service. The goal here is not on profit but to make robotic tools such as the GoGo Board more accessible at a reasonable price. Please read our policy and guideline for more information.

Acknowledgments

The design of the GoGo Board was influenced by the MIT Cricket. It contains an implementation of the Cricket Logo language. The original Cricket designers were graceful enough to allow us to open-source the code under the GPL license. The Cricket designers include Fred G. Martin, Brian Silverman, Mitchel Resnick, and Robbie Berg.