Austrian robotics firm Practical Robotics Institute Austria has developed a robotics controller that is just the ticket for bringing together the motors, servos and sensors in your robot, executing the program to make the ‘bot do what you want it to.

Any components supported by Raspberry Pi can be integrated into Hedgehog’s set-up, using a plug and play interface, so there’s no extra set up you’ll need to waste time on before getting up and running.

Although not the most good-looking piece of kit, its simple to use Google’s Blockly visual interface makes it a perfect companion for schoolchildren who want to make their own robotic creatures without the stress of knowing the ins and outs of coding.

However, it’s not for complete beginners – the blocks still use text, so the Practical Robotics Institute has targeted it at older children rather than those at primary school. The development environment works from your browser, so you don’t have to install any software on your machine to make it work either. For more advanced users, it can be programmed using Python.

“Hedgehog is developed for the classroom as well: by default, controllers connect to an existing WiFi network, avoiding the overload that would result from a one-network-per-controller strategy,” the Institute explained.

“The large range of use cases makes Hedgehog a long-term investment: teach programming to elementary schoolers and undergrads, on the same device. Introduce computer vision and closed-loop control, with the same device.”

Practical Robotics Institute Austria is appealing for €12,000 on Kickstarter to transform the old version of Hedgehog into a smaller, light weight version. The funds will also be spent getting it certified as a “ready for connection” product.