Toys 2.0: Smart Toy Robots use the nRF51 based Cannybot Brain

The Cannybot Brain is a robotics controller board that uses the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 at its core. The board has been developed by Cannybots Limited in Cambridge, UK.

One of Cannybots core values is connecting kids to the modern technology they find around them in their daily life. We believe that basing the Brain on the kind of technology that they would also find at the heart of a smartphone or tablet is an important connection we want to make to help demystify modern technology.

The Cannybot Brain has been developed as the controller board for the Cannybots Robot Building Kit for kids. The kit is currently running as a KickStarter campaign here.

Cannybots using their Brains on the race track:

Cannybots using their Brains on the race track

The key features of the nRF51 that made it a perfect choice for the Cannybot Brain are:

  • it’s very small form factor
  • integrated microcontroller and radio in a single tiny package
  • exceptionally low power consumption
  • ARM Cortex M0 CPU
  • 256k program flash space and 8k RAM
  • ability to update the firmware over the air

In addition to the technical features, Nordic also provides extensive software, electronic and radio reference designs and implementations which greatly reduce our design timescales and enabled us to create functional boards exceptionally quickly.

Building around the nRF51 at the core, the Cannybot Brain (shown below) adds a number of features to make it an ideal choice for robotics development.

Cannybot Brain

Key Features:

  • Small form factor (44mm x 34 mm)
  • Dual motor driver (1.5A per channel)
  • A built in Li-Ion battery charger + battery level sensing
  • USB charging and USB serial UART
  • Voltage regulator
  • 20 pin mini shield area (14 GPIO pins, 5 analog)
  • 2x IR sensors & 1x RGB sensor
  • PCB Antenna
  • J-Segger/SWD debug breakout (you have full access to debugging features)
  • Open source hardware and software.
  • Works with Arduino and mbed (Over the air programming for both)

You can find a more about the Cannybot Brain here

We are planning to make the Cannybot Brain available separately to developers early next year, but why not grab a full kit sooner from here and race?

We are looking forward to working with Nordic Semiconductor in helping kids learn more about the technological world around them in the most fun and engaging way possible.