BOE BOT Robot Kit from Parallax
The BOE-BOT robotics platform has a reputation of being one of the best tools for learning about robotics, embedded microcontrollers, and sensors. It has all the things that robot builders look for in a complete robot kit. When Parallax released the BOE-BOT to showcase their Basic Stamp microcontroller they did something new to robotics. Parallax also released the "Robotics with the BOE-BOT" book which is a robotics textbook. Each function of the BOE-BOT construction and programming is explained in the book as you build the robot and work through different activities. The BOE-BOT kit and manual also teaches users how to use different inexpensive sensors to control the robot in different ways. The kit is supplied with basic sensors, but they can be upgraded in the future.
The BOE-BOT uses the Basic Stamp processor which has good support from the manufacturer, Parallax, and an existing community of users. The Basic Stamp II processor, which is included, can be upgraded to a more advanced Basic Stamp or a Propeller microcontroller for increased speed and functionality.
When the cost of this kit is compared to other robot kits and the additional books needed to learn how they work, Parallax's kit is very reasonable. For robot beginners, the BOE BOT probably the best base kit available, especially for those who do not have much electronics or programming experience. I for one have learned a great deal about embedded microcontrollers and using sensors while experimenting with this kit.