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Micro:bit Robot Arm

In this post, I am discussing using a recently bought  CBIS BBC micro:bit RobotArm, but play with it using Python (or rather micropython).




Set Up
Not a lot to set up really. The base and the arm are separate and are attached with four screws (so you will need a screwdriver). 

The most difficult bit is the wiring the arm to the circuit/breakout board on the base, but instructions are available through CBiS Resource portal http://portal.cbis.education/teacher/hardware. You will need a log-in for this. Also on that site, there is an example Microsoft Blocks code which includes some instructions on inserting the microbit as well - the micro:bit goes in buttons side facing upwards.


Code
Taking the values from the instruction sheet for setting it - the micro:bit key bit - the following pins were selected.
Base                     Pins 0 and 1
Shoulder               Pins 8 and 12
Elbow                   Pins 2 and 13
Wrist                    Pins 14 and 15
Gripper                 Pins 16 and 11 - this…
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Crumble based Junk-Eggbot

Full details athttp://bit.ly/2yZ3dZT


There was three inspirations for this project ·Eggbot -http://www.instructables.com/id/Plastic-Egg-Bot/?utm_content=buffer9b065&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer ·Femi Owolade supported by Nic Hughes ran a session at Mozilla Festival 2016 using the Crumble’s to make a wheeled robot. ·The junkbot projecthttps://junkbots.blogspot.co.uk/ Kit ·Kinder Egg (without the Chocolate and toy)

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The Sphero Mini has been recently launched and at the time of writing seems to be popular, Amazon.co.uk delivery times vary depending on the colour you select. There are some very good reasons for it to be popular.


It's a ping-pong sized ball, much smaller than the normal Sphero's and approximately half the price. Though slightly less featured, what it has got, is good. 

In the box, you get the sphero-mini, a charging cable, as well as packet of mini-skittles and cones. There is no charging station for this one, you charge it taking the outer shell off (it splits into two pieces) and the socket is on the ball inside. Actually, it is quite interesting to see the insides (I know the Spheros SPRK+ have a transparent shell to show the innards) and handle the ball inside, trying to see what it does. The ball is a little slower than the other Spheros, but this is not a problem in my opinion.



There is an app for playing the games, and this is fun to play with; providing control via the …

LittleBits Star Wars Droid and Swift Playgrounds

On the 1st September 2017, during 'Force Friday', LittleBits launched their new kit Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit an R2D2 shaped robot, though you are encouraged to customise it to form your own designs. It comes a number of tutorials, that take you through building a moving head, a proximity sensor to move away from you, and many others.


So confession time, I am not the target audience for this kit, but I have enjoyed playing with it. The tutorials take you through building and dismantling the kit, doing a range of different activities and in most cases controlling it remotely from an iPad. You can even record your voice and have it played back from the Droid, in my opinion, the wide of sounds is one of the things that lift this from being just a nice kit -  I will get onto the other one soon. Though good fun, I was left with a question can it be programmed?

This was my first time using a LittleBits kit I didn't know what the options were available for programming it, a quic…

Robots, fruit and computer coding

Taken from: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/news/robots-fruit-and-computer-coding-sixth-formers-get-a-taste-of-university-research/ by University of Northampton Press Team

A select group of sixth-form pupils has spent the summer working on a series of research projects at the University of Northampton. Four pupils from Northampton and Kettering schools undertook projects involving robotics, coding and urban orchards after each were awarded a Nuffield Research Placement – a scheme which offers sixth formers the chance to work on university research projects. David Obreja, from Northampton School for Boys, spent his time at the University researching the amount of fruit-bearing plants and trees in areas of Northampton, and mapping them on a computer. He said: “We need more fruit-bearing plants and trees in the town to provide food for wildlife, encourage biodiversity and improve the aesthetics of urban areas. I hope my research might encourage residents to plant more species, which would also…

Robot control by a neuron.

This year the Computing team has been fortunate enough to host three Nuffield Research Placement students (https://www.nuffieldresearchplacements.org/) all working with Dr Scott Turner.


Michael Welsh Michael has been working on using a micro:bit based bitbot from 4tronix to produce a potential teaching tool; an example of artificial neurons used control a robot. The aim is for this tool to be used with 3rd-year Undergraduates, as part of a module on Artificial Intelligence.

Michael's solution was to use the computer to run and train a single neuron; then for the robot to send values from the line sensors back to the program running on a Computer and receive control signals. 

Sounds easy? No really, in the end, the software running on the computer had to also send and receive the data through a microbit (via USB) and then use radio to communicate with the bit:bot robot. All the various developed parts of the solution were implemented in Python by Michael.




Example of the code.

import seri…