This has turned out to be one of the simplest, most successful builds. Takes about 20 minutes total to put together – less time with practice.
Use the Rover 5 Tank Kit from DFRobots. It contains a sturdy body, an easy to use Arduin0-style microcontroller with two built-in motor controllers, battery pack (no batteries though), bluetooth connectors, and all of the pieces to put it together. The only missing parts are the ‘brain’ and a way to mount it.
If you want to use a netbook for the brain a roll of sticky-backed velcro is sufficient. Make sure to put the microcontroller at one end of the mounting board to make room for the netbook. Then put two strips of velcro on the bot and two strips on the netbook, you should be ready to roll.
Use a usb cable to attach the netbook to the microcontroller. Follow the instructions to install the basic arduino code on the microcontroller and the basic processing code on the netbook and you’re ready to roll.
If you want to use a smartphone for the brains you can mount the microcontroller anywhere on the mounting board. We’ve used custom clips to hold the phone, but a dashboard style mount should work fine as well. The mounting board has plenty of pre-drilled holes, you’ll just need a few small bolts, nuts, and washers large enough to hold everything in place.