Parallax Insider News

ActivityBot: A History

  • By: Jessica Uelmen Published: 10 September, 2013 0 comments

For as long as I’ve been at Parallax, we’ve been thinking about the perfect Propeller robot for education. We wanted to take full advantage of the Propeller’s multicore architecture while still providing affordable hardware.

With the release of PropGCC, and the development of the Propeller C learning system, we knew we could provide teachers with a simplified version of C that would help their students prepare for college. However, we found ourselves at a pivotal crossroads: DC motors or servos? DC motors would allow for more precise control over the robot; however the concept of controlling servos is easily explained and understood from an educational perspective.

In the end, with over 500,000 Boe-Bots used in classrooms around the world, the choice was really quite simple. High speed servos allowed us to keep using the classic and sturdy Boe-Bot Robot chassis, which allows teachers to keep using any previously purchased Boe-Bot add-ons. Custom designed wheels and encoders rounded out the ‘bot, allowing for a fast and consistent robot. Powering the robot with the Propeller Activity Board allows us to keep teaching both circuit theory and programming...on a robot that can really move and multi-task.

So go take a look at the ActivityBot in action (YouTube playlist), or take a gander at our new web tutorials. And if you’re a teacher that thinks the ActivityBot would be a good addition to your classroom, drop us a line at and we’d love to get you a sample!