So senior year of University has rolled around at last and we are finally getting the chance to apply our knowledge from the past three years in our Senior Design class. For my senior design project I wanted to make a robotics shield that's compatible with the Arduino Uno board and since this class is supposed to prepare us for industry, our professors want us to do some market research and make sure our final product is marketable.
The trouble is there are already quite a few motor shields out there already at cheap prices (on ebay I just checked, and saw $6.25 for Sensor Shield V and $6.63 for the Motor Drive Shield L293D) that in order to sell it, you would need to have features that aren't in the run of the mill shield.
So my question for the hive mind is, what would you guys like to see in a microcontroller shield?
The basic template that I've drawn up so far has the following features
- Powered 3 Pin Headers for Servos and Sensors
- 3.3V Power supply
- Plug for a LiPo battery
- Onboard battery monitor and charging circuit
Motors often tend to need more voltage not 3.3v, but a lot of other things need 3.3 volts.
Most shields that I see are all or none, where all devices get powered from the Arduino power (not good for motors), or from a single external power supply. I don't know whether there might be a market for a shield with the 3 pins for sensors/servos/etc. and each pin has a jumper to say what power voltage to get (3.3, 5, an external regulated power supply to a different voltage such as 6, 9, or 12 volts, and raw power).
The usual motor shield only has support for 4 DC motors or 2 stepper motors or 2 servos. A lot of people want to have more motors. Typically they have to go with an external board like the Pololu Maestro or some such. It may make sense to make your own version of such a shield.
So do you guys have any suggestions on what I should add? What are the most commonly used features in your robots? Thanks in advance for all of the help!