E.R.N.I.E Timeline

A few years ago EARS were asked by the University of Surrey to create a project for an event called Headstart. During this week long event a group of sixth form students who are considering studying engineering at university have around 5 hours of lab sessions to complete a project.

E.R.N.I.E (EARS Robotic Navigator and Intrepid Explorer) was the project I came up with for the electronic engineering project. ERNIE is a very low cost line following robot that can be assembled and programmed by students with very little previous knowledge in electronics or programming.

Over the past few years the project has evolved to become (almost) fully re-usable by only requiring zip ties, screws and electrical tape to assemble. The only part that cannot be done again is the soldering of the PCB, but the assembled PCB can of course be re-used.

The Problem:

The problem with a lot of robot kits currently available on the market is that they are either very expensive and over complicated or they are lacking in tutorials that can be used in a educational environment. Most of these robots also either come pre-assembled or are too difficult to assemble during a single class. This leads to the robots being put together once and then just handed to students pre-made, taking away from the learning experience as well as requiring more storage space.

To solve these issues the E.R.N.I.E project has the following aims:

I know that so far at least one student who did the headstart E.R.N.I.E project has gone on to study electronic engineering at the University of Surrey. My hope is that by publishing this project (and eventually selling kits via tindie) more people can become inspired to pursue STEM subjects.

The solution

To fulfill the above requirements three things need to be produced:


The schematic, PCB and chassis designs and their respective documentation are Open Hardware and are licensed under the CERN OHL v. 1.2. You may redistribute and modify this work under the terms of the CERN OHL v.1.2. (http://ohwr.org/cernohl). This work is distributed WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY, INCLUDING OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Please see the CERN OHL v.1.2 for applicable conditions