In November, Rick over at Norland Research kindly sent along an early version of his E3 Robot, meant to work with the newest TI-84 Plus family calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE. Unlike all of its TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus predecessors, the TI-84 Plus CE lacks the 2.5mm I/O ("DBUS") port that allowed easy connection to external hardware. The reason for that omission is not clear, but the fact remains that all hardware compatible with the TI-84 Plus CE must use USB for communication. TI has simplified this by providing built-in USB serial support for some platforms, and TI's TI Innovator Hub is a great example of USB-connected hardware for the TI-84 Plus CE. Therefore, Norland needed to update their classic calculator-controlled robot kit that used the 2.5mm DBUS port to use USB instead. The way they have done this is to overhaul the robot to connect to the TI Innovator Hub.
In the video below, I connect my TI Innovator Hub and TI-84 Plus CE to the new robot, and write two simple programs. The first lets the calculator control the robot wheels, independently spinning each one backwards and forwards. The second program is a little more complex, detecting collisions using the front bump sensors and using the motors to back the robot away from obstacles. The robot is easy to use, and if you have TI Innovator Hub(s) and TI-84 Plus calculators in your classroom (or home), you have everything you need to make it work. If you don't already have the TI Innovator Hub, it's an unfortunate (but necessary) result of the TI-84 Plus CE's missing 2.5mm I/O port that you need to buy that as well as the robot itself. It appears that this robot is not yet available from Norland Research's website, but Cemetech will have the news when it is available.