The Digi XBee3® Cellular SMS ActivityBot is an educational robot that can be controlled with text messages from any cell phone, anywhere in the world. The ActivityBot, made by Digi's friends at Parallax.com, is designed for first-time robot-builders and is widely used in technology and engineering education.
SMS text messages sent to the robot can command it to drive forward, back, left or right. It has a built-in roaming mode where it becomes self-driving, using two "whisker" sensors to detect obstacles to the right or left. The ActivityBot uses the Digi XBee3 Cellular module to report back what it's sensing in real time. For example, any time one of the "whisker" sensors is triggered, that event is immediately reports back to the cell phone as a text. (Of course, only robots should text and drive.)
SMS is only the beginning. Digi XBee3 Cellular supports TCP/IP so commands and data can just as easily be exchanged with a web page or cloud server. ActivityBots and Blockly, the Google-invented system used to program it, come from Parallax. Digi XBee Cellular is available from Digi.com.
Here are all the supplies you'll need to create this project:
Follow the full online instructions for assembling the Parallax ActivityBot:
Doing all the steps in the assembly guide is the best way to understand your new robot. We recommend at least working through the Navigating with Touch step to understand the ActivityBot and build all the systems you'll need for this project.
Parallax also has clear wiring instructions, but be sure to use the pin numbers as listed above.
With the robot running, here are the commands you can use. Send each as a text message addressed to the phone number of your SIM card: