When Texas Instruments (TI) introduced their new value line 16-bit microcontroller complete with the programmer and development board named MSP430 Value Line LaunchPad in the mid of 2010 for only USD 4.30 include the shipping cost, this make it as the cheapest programmer and development board platform that you could ever find in the market. Therefore the introduction of the MSP430 value line LaunchPad development board make a tremendous impact especially among the electronics hobbyist, students, and enthusiast because now the big boy (TI) is seriously taking part in the electronic hobbyist market and directly compete their 16-bit class value line microcontrollers to the 8-bit class microcontrollers which are mostly dominated by Atmel and Microchip. You could read more information at ermicroblog
Designing a simple and yet functional Line Follower Robot (LFR) is always a fascinating and challenging subject to be learned, the LFR actually could be implemented in many ways start from a simple two transistors to a sophisticated PID (Proportional, Integrate and Differential) which take advantage of the programmable feature of microcontroller to calculate the PID equation to successfully navigate the black track line on a white background surface.
Designing a non microcontroller based LFR is quite challenging tasks as we need to limit the electronic components numbers so the LFR will not too complicated to be built by most average robotics beginners or electronic hobbyists, but at the same time we need to have a good speed control mechanism in order for the LFR to navigate the black track line successfully. The microcontroller based design LFR in the other hand is a popular choice because it reduces a number of electronic components significantly while still providing a flexible programmable control to the LFR. You could read more information at ermicroblog