Does Arduino coding bring you out in a cold sweat? Perhaps what you need is the new open-source gear from TinkerForge. The modular system is designed for even novice users to whip up fully functioning robots in a matter of
minutes hours. You start with a 4 x 4cm Brick, which you program over USB, but it won't do anything until you add accessories in the form of Bricklets: switches, joysticks, motors, accelerometers and LCDs. You can stack up to eight Bricks to expand the potential of your projects, including a step-down transformer and a (forthcoming) WiFi unit. If the rules-based programming software is too easy for you, the hardcore can bust out their mad C, C++, C#, Java and Python skills. The first models are available today, Bricks cost between €30 ($40) - €50 ($70) and Bricklets cost €3 ($4) - €20 ($25). Head on past the break to catch the press release and a video of some of the brilliant ways you can use this technology, including an infra-red theremin, self-positioning telescope and robots -- so many robots.