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Showing posts from 2015

Daleks, cameras, and a mutant rabbit.

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A little more detail on my experience of PiCademy and some of the code developed (and I apologies it is not well developed).
Programming LEDs and Motors through either the the GPIO or using an HAT (see the images below) is just what I enjoy the most.
To have a go, you may have to have the following:
The latest version of Raspbian, at the time of writing Jessie (https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/)Import the followingsudo apt-get install python-twythonsudo pip3 install explorehatsudo pip3 install gpiozero


In the above image was my attempt at a simple 'Dalek' - essentially a cup and straw, with a wheeled motor inside. Controlled using python,  Pi through an Explorer HAT PRO . It essentially moved in a circle either clockwise (button 1 on the explorehat) or anti-clockwise (button 2).


import explorerhat from time import sleep from random import randint
def wheel(channel, event):     duration = randint(1,2)     print(duration)     explorerhat.motor.one.forward(100)     sleep(durati…

BB-8, Droid I was looking for... - Tynkering

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In a recent post controlling the Sphero BB-8 with the Tickle App was discussed.

This is not the only alternative software, the Tynker App can also control it.


This is also a graphical drag and drop programming tool, that you can connect certain 'toys' to. Though the App itself is about developing programming skills.










The Sphero BB-8 Droid can be connected to Tynker (or how I did it anyway) by:

Clicking on the Create button on the opening screen;Clicking on Blank Template;Deleting the 'Actor' that has there and clicking on the + button in the top right hand corner of the screen;Clicking on connected toys and selecting the grey ball;On the main screen it should say spherobot with a code button at the side, click on the button;You should get a screen with some code for changing the colour shown and then moving in a square- you can change this for your own code.Not all the commands, listed down the side, will work with the BB-8 - I restricted myself to the ones under common (s…

BB-8, this is the Droid I was looking for...

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Previously I have shown the Sphero BB-8 rolling around the room under its own control

One of the features of the Sphero BB-8 Droid  is it programmable either by its own downloadable software but also by one of my favourite apps - TickleApp which has been discussed in previous posts. This app allows control of a quite an impressive range of devices using the same interface. Examples, some of which have been discussed previously (e.g Parrot Minidrone or Dash and Dot), are shown below. 






















































The App uses an graphical programming interface similar to Scratch or Blockly to produce code. The example here it a very simple one of:
Spin twice for one second;Move roughly in a square;<

Playing with Aldebaran's NAO - walking and talking.

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Ok, I need to read the manual! Managed today to play with Aldebaran NAO again and was struggling to get it to interact - this is the should have read the manual bit, it was all in there.


Mistake number 1 - I hadn't set a channel for all the apps so it was reacting to sounds and movement but not much more. So I set it.Mistake number 2 - not understanding the meaning of the changes in the colour of the eyes, when the eyes go blue NAO is listening.

Now  it does what I was after - to be lead by the hand using the follow me app and react to some vocal commands. The video below shows "Red" in action.



I would be interest in others experiences with these robots, if you would like please add your comments below.


All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with.

Aldebaran NAO 'Red' in Teaching

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I had my first opportunity today to try an Aldebaran NAO robot as a teaching tool in an AI class today. The session was an end of term activity around summarising what we did in the AI class so far and questions. 

A question came up around AI and it's impact on society. Perfect opportunity to bring in a social robot - especially as a precursor for when we include a session on social robotics next term.


All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with.

Playing with Aldebaran NAO

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This is just a short post, as well as being able to go to Picademy this week (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/picademy-7-8th-december-2015.html); I have been fortunate to be able to borrow an Aldebaran NAO robot (https://www.aldebaran.com/en) for the weekend to play with.




This is an extermly cool robot, straight out of the box, tracking movement and dynamic balancing. Hopefully, more on this in future posts.

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with.

Experience at Raspberry Pi Cademy 7-8th December 2015

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I was fortunate to get a place at Picademy (#picademy) this week. It was a fantastic opportunity and great fun, especially as most of it was about Physical computing.





In the screenshot above I was playing SonicPi (http://sonic-pi.net/) programming music (or trying to create music in my case). If you haven't had a go at throughly recommend it. It is great that SonicPi is available on the Mac and PC as well. 
Playing with connecting Python and Minecraft is very engaging and fun, but programming LEDs and Motors through either the the GPIO or using an HAT (see the images below) is just what I enjoy the most.

In the above image was my attempt at a simple 'Dalek' - essentially a cup and straw, with a wheeled motor inside. Controlled using python,  Pi through an ExplorerHat. It essentially moved in a circle either clockwise or anti-clockwise.
Rise of Rabbitsapien - A team of us put together a project of a robot with a rabbit (no other soft toys were available) with a Passive IR senso…

Controlling junk with LEGO

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Up to this point the junk bot building has largely being about building a moving (or drawing) 'bot' moved by vibration - limited control, but fun. A Nuffield funded bursary student, Hayden Tetley,  has being working within staff from the University of Northampton on whether LEGO 8547: Mindstorms NXT 2.0: Robot or Raspberry Pi based solutions can be incorporated with the bot to add some control of the movement (still by vibration).


Idea One 

Is to add a LEGO NXT brick, to move a junkbot similar.The motor and broken propeller combination in the earlier junkbots is replaced with the NXT brick and LEGO motor. A good potential feature is it a self-contained unit with power and control together, as well as being potentially fairly simple to set-up. This is the focus of this post. 

Here are some videos showing idea one in action using LEGO motors, brick and the software that comes with the LEGO 8547: Mindstorms NXT 2.0: Robot :





For more information on how this was done go to: http://leg…

5 Fascinating Facts about the Booming Robot Market

Taken from: http://snip.ly/0eeu#http://fortune.com/2015/11/06/five-fascinating-facts-robotics-market An analyst report explains why the robot industry is booming.The robot industry is experiencing a boom period that’s not likely to slow anytime soon.Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC released a report this week that said that annual global sales of robots reached a record $10.7 billion in 2014. The authors valued the overall market for robotic technologies, which also includes related software and sensors, at $32 billion for the same year. By 2020, the authors expect the robot market to be worth $83 billion. To read more go to: http://snip.ly/0eeu#http://fortune.com/2015/11/06/five-fascinating-facts-robotics-market



'via Blog this'

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with.

Robot Software

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In the previous blog posts for this 'series' "It is a good time...." 


Post 1 looked at the hardware unpinning some of this positive rise in robots;Post 2 looked at social robots;Post 3 looked at a collection of small robots;Post 4 looked at further examples of small robots
Robots, such as the forthcoming Buddy and JIBO, will be based some established open sourceand other technologies. Jibo will be based around various technologies including Electron and JavaScript (for more details see: http://blog.jibo.com/2015/07/29/jibo-making-development-readily-accessible-to-all-developers/). Buddy is expected to be developed around tools for Unity3d, Arduino and OpenCV, and support Python, C++, C#, Java and JavaScript (for more details see http://www.roboticstrends.com/article/customize_your_buddy_companion_robot_with_this_software_development_kit). This post continues with some of the software being used with the smaller robots. 

A number of these robots are being programmed via …

It is a good time to play with robots

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In the previous blog posts for this 'series' "It is a good time...." 

Post 1 looked at the hardware unpinning some of this positive rise in robots;Post 2 looked at social robots;Post 3 looked at a collection of small robots;
This post continues with small robot idea a bit more, looking at some of the other robots I have been fortunate to be able to play with. The opinions are from a personal point of view of playing with them, but comments are very welcome.

Kbots

The kilobots (http://www.k-team.com/mobile-robotics-products/kilobot)were designed to be relatively low-cost devices specifically designed for work on swarm/collective intelligence experiments. Developed at Harvard University as a scalable system to program groups of robots (now into the thousands) (http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/ssr/projects/progSA/kilobot.html).



Individually these are quite simple units, they move by vibration. The real advantage, in my opinion, of the system though is you can program lots of them…

Impact of research

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A recently released kickstarter project website http://www.robotixedu.com/phiro.aspx has quoted research from the University of Northampton. This is an interesting product designed to teach children programming . In essence programming robots is good way to develop problem-solving skills.



The publication mentioned can be found at


Robots in problem-solving and programming (Scott J Turner, Gary Hill), In Proceedings of 8th Annual Conference of the Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences, Higher Education Academy Information and Computer Sciences Centre, Ulster, pp. 82--85, 2007. [paper]
With example related paper :
Problems first second and third (Gary Hill, Scott J Turner), In International Journal of Quality Assurance in Engineering and Technology Education (IJQAETE), volume 3, pp. 88--109, 2014. [paper]Robotics within the teaching of problem-solving (Scott J Turner, Gary Hill), In ITALICS, volume 7, pp. 108--119, 2008.[paper]
To read more about the research by the team in the…

Robotics within the Teaching of Problem-Solving

Robotics within the teaching of Problem-Solving

Volume/Issue:  Vol 7, Issue 1Date:Sunday, 1 June, 2008Journal Name: ITALICSAuthor(s)Scott Turner Gary Hill
Abstract
This paper considers the experiences of teaching on a module where problem-solving is taught first, then programming. The main tools for the problem-solving part, alongside two problem-solving approaches, are tasks using Mindstorm (LEGO, Denmark) robot kits. This is being done as a foundation step before the syntax of a language (Java) is taught to enable a Graphical User Interface (GUI) emulation of a previous robot problem. Results of student evaluation and feedback will be presented and the use of two simulators will be considered.

Full paper available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/robotics-within-teaching-problem-solving or PDF version https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/ital.7.1h.pdf

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the…

It is a good time to play with little robots

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In the previous two posts, mentioned the low-cost small devices are opening up new opportunities for robotics (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/it-is-good-time-part-one-introduction.html) and the rise of social robots in the home (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/it-is-good-time-2-social-robots.html) was considered.

In this post and the next, 'small' robots (my phrase), relatively low cost robots, are considered. A few examples are discussed.

Picobot

One of the most interesting small robots on the market is the PicoBot from 4Tronix (http://4tronix.co.uk/blog/?p=708). 

These are small, relatively low-cost robots with a good range of basic sensors based around Arduino. A nice feature is they are quick to put together (5-10 minutes each for the two above).  The size, time to build and the radio modules make them an interesting option for playing with swarm robotics - if only I had the money.

Don't let the swarm robot idea put you off…