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UFO detects light

In a previous post (UFO has Landed)  I started playing with the CBiSEducation's UFO Consumable Robotics. Now I am going to play with it a bit more and add the light sensor, included in the kit, to it;is so it can detect different light levels. Again it is controlled using the Micro:Bit.

Stage 1 - Decorating it
The kit comes with some stickers so I added a few.

Stage 2 Wiring
Pins 0 and 1 are outputs to the LEDs
Pin 2 is the input from the light sensor
The red lead from the light sensor connects to 3v and the grounds to the ground.


Stage 3 Code

The light sensor works more as a low light level detector, the darker the higher the value returned (in this case) on pin 2. So in low light level,  the LEDs flash relatively quickly, when the light level rises half of the LEDs start to pulse more slowly.






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.

UFO has landed

CBiS Education generously sent me two of their new range of robotics development kits - BinaryBots (https://www.binarybots.co.uk/makers.aspx), these are a range of cardboard based kits (so far a robot and a UFO) with electronic components for example LEDs; sensors and buzzers,  depending on the kits. What makes the kits interesting though is they are designed to be controlled by either by a BBC Micro:bit or a CodeBug.

This blog documents, briefly, an initial play with the UFO kit (see below) using a Micro:Bit for control. 


The UFO model came together readily, the instructions were fairly easy to follow. Personally, a feature I especially liked about the model was the LEDs being both on the top and bottom of it - increasing its usefulness. CBiS EducationThey have also provided a webpage / portal with some example projects and code. 




My first project I built, was to pulse the LEDs on and off (one set of LEDs on Pin 0, the other on Pin 1). Pin 2 was connected to the buzzer, so produce a low…

Micro:bit Junkbot for use in schools

A new direction has been developed for the junkbot project (http://junkbots.blogspot.co.uk/); previously Raspberry Pis have been used to control the junkbot’s movement (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/python-junkbot.html) – but what about the recently released Micro:Bits; can it be used to control a junkbot?
Matthew Hole, a student from Wrenn Academy, Northamptonshire ; has been investigating this idea whilst on a Nuffield Research Placement (http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/nuffield-research-placements) working with Dr Scott Turner, University of Northampton. The project was to look into developing junkbots controlled using a Micro:bit and also to produce some materials for schools to use with or without outside assistance.





What is a Junkbot? For this project, it is a moving ‘bot’ made from waste materials, combined with an electric motor and a programmable device (in this case a Micro:Bit) to control (or try) it. An example is shown above. More details on jun…

USB Robot arm control with Python and Raspberry Pi

I was asked recently if the USB robot arm could be programmed - I knew the answer was yes. The Arm came from the CBiS Education Robot Arm kit (http://www.cbis.education/Product-Details.aspx?prodid=2 ) which comes with a Raspberry Pi and SD Card with software to control the Arm. So the question has become - How do I program it in Python from scratch?

Well, the honest answer is I don't I use what others have done before. A good 
starting point is this site http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-USB-Robotic-Arm-with-a-Raspberry-Pi-(Maplin), it gives most (pretty much all) of the answer, including where to get the pyusb library need; setting it up (be careful don't use the  zip file but the tar.gz version  - you might need to scroll down the screen to do this) and an example. A second source that was very useful was  http://notbrainsurgery.livejournal.com/38622.html?view=93150#t93150 which contains an explanation of the 'triples' (for example [32,0,0]) used to select which part of the…

Traffic lights - Microbit, GlowBugs and micropython

In a previous post, I got a GlowBug to work with a micro:bit (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/microbit-and-glowbug.html) . In this post, I will show a relatively simple traffic lights system produced by turning off and on the pixels via a micro:bit.




Code
from microbit import *
import neopixel

# Setup the Neopixel strip on pin0 with a length of 3 pixels
np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 3)

while True:
    #red
    np[0] = (255, 0, 0)
    np[1] = (0,0, 0)
    np[2] = (0,0,0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)
    #red and orange
    np[0] = (255, 0, 0)
    np[1] = (255, 69, 0)
    np[2] = (0,0,0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)
    #green only
    np[0] = (0, 0, 0)
    np[1] = (0, 0, 0)
    np[2] = (0,255,0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)
    #orange
    np[0] = (0, 0, 0)
    np[1] = (255, 69, 0)
    np[2] = (0,0,0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)





It is simple, timings and more lights can be added to make a more interesting system. If you have done something similar please use the comments to discuss or lin…

Micro:bit and Glowbug

I saw on Twitter that some people have got the GlowBugs, more commonly used the CodeBugs (http://www.codebug.org.uk/learn/activity/73/glowbugs/), to work with the Micro:bit. Here is my go at doing it. I just wanted to get one GlowBug to flash Red, Green and Blue and keep cycling around.

The start point was to base it on the code from http://microbit-micropython.readthedocs.io/en/latest/neopixel.html for using Python with neopixels. The GlowBugs are essentially a single neopixel. So I connected the Data In to pin 0 and set the strip length to 1 ( np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 1) ) and then set the colours by setting np[0] to the colour wanted (eg. Red  np[0] = (255, 0, 0) ).


from microbit import *
import neopixel

# Setup the Neopixel strip on pin0 with a length of 1 pixel
np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 1)

while True:
    np[0] = (255, 0, 0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)
    np[0] = (0, 255, 0)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)
    np[0] = (0 , 0 , 255)
    np.show()
    sleep(1000)


Video of it in action.






Al…