Supposedly designed to help avoid a robot apocalypse, the Creative Robotics and Interactive Construction Kit from Adafruit - Crickit for short - is an add-on for their Circuit Playground Express (CPX), an easy-to-use board with support for CircuitPython, Arduino, or (coming soon) the Microsoft MakeCode programming tool.
Easily attached to the CPX with stand-off bolts, the Crickit lets you control motors, servos, solenoids, and gives access to signal pins, amplified speaker output, and capacitive touch sensors. There’s even a NeoPixel driver!
Crickit is powered by seesaw, Adafruit’s own I2C-to-whatever bridge firmware. Just two data pins are required to control the inputs and outputs on the Crickit, which are all powered by 5VDC (no support for mixed voltage). As such, any 5V servos, motors, relays, etc., can be used with the Crickit. But what might you do with it?
One idea is to use the Force...
In this example, a tower of wheels is powered by a single motor, which is switched on and off thanks to a wave gesture. For some added Star Wars magic, a loudspeaker is also attached to play appropriate sound clips. Take a look at the code, hosted on GitHub.
Meanwhile, you might also consider hacking some existing hardware. In this example, the Adafruit team got hold of an old Nintendo Robotic Operating Buddy (ROB).
Thanks to the ROB having just three motors inside, the CPX and Crickit are easily connected and with a bit of custom code and a custom gamepad, the old robot can be controlled independently of any ancient NES titles.
Released in 1985, the ROB was essentially an over elaborate video game controller which sadly only worked with two official titles (and a number of homebrew releases). They currently sell for around $200 on eBay, so not cheap to get hold of.