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Showing posts from September, 2016

UFO talks to Robot - part two

In part one of this series of posts, the project to get Consumable Robotics UFO and Dimm robot was started but focussed on the UFO kit. The goal being for some action on Dimm to trigger a series of messages being passed between the two of them.

In this post, the focus moves to Dimm and the setting up the actions leading to the messaging.

Stage 1 Build
Using the Micro:bits port 0 (as part of the Dimm robot) for the input from the light sensor, which is included in the kit (Red lead going to 3v and the black lead going to GND). Just to note the less light there is the higher the value on the sensor.

Stage 2 Code
Micropython programmed through the Mu editor (see below)

If light levels are high then :
      scroll a message saying "calling UFO" 
      send the code "dimm" via bluetooth.
scroll a message saying "I can't see"
If it recieves "ufo" via bluetooth :
      display "Hello, UFO called me"

Micropython code
import radio
from microbi…

UFO talks to Robot - part one

In previous posts (UFO has Landed and DIMM the OOD),  I started playing with the CBiSEducation's UFO consumable robots. Still using the Micro:Bit, in this two part post series, I am going to be playing with using Micropython to send messages between the two kits.

Stage 1 Wiring and Set up-UFO
Pins 0 and 1 are outputs to the LEDs
The black leads on the UFO go to GND.

Micropython, using the Micro:Bit's built in radio module (Bluetooth), is used to communication between the two kits.

Stage 2 Code -UFO
The code is set to flash the UFO's LEDs and then scroll a message "DIMM Calling" when it receives a message "dimm" via Bluetooth. 

Basic overview is
- Turn on the radio module - radio.on()
- If the message is received then turn the LEDs on and off and scrolls "DIMM calling" across the LED array.
- send a message via bluetooth "ufo" to whoever is listening (in the end the robot DIMM hopefully). The code is shown below. 

import radio
from microbit impor…

Crumblebot - explorer bot?

In an earlier post I played with 4Tronix's CrumbleBot to make an edge follower robot ( I wanted to play a little more, so I looked at making it 'explore' a room a bit and recently 4Tronix's have released an add-on panning ultrasonic sensor for the CrumbleBot - how can I resist?

What is a CrumbleBot
The CrumbleBot ( is based around the Redfern Electronic's Crumble Controller ( and Crumble software (; providing an intuitive graphical interface (similar to Scratch) to control two motors and four inputs/outputs. The CrumbleBot comes with a number sensors including  line-detecting sensors and Light-Dependent Resistors for light detection and you use crocodile clips to connect the sensors to the inputs/outputs. In essence,…

Python Junkbot - PyCon UK 2016

Poster presented at PyCon UK 2016, 17th September 2016.

Pyconuk16 junkbotsfrom Scott Turner

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28682.67520

For more details on the three builds:

Raspberry Pi based: Micro:Bit build: Control Micro:Bit Junkbot:

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. Twitter @scottturneruon

Do it yourself: Remote Controlled Micro:Bit Junkbot

In an earlier post, I showed how you could build a Micro:Bit controlled Junkbot. In this post I want to show a modification to it, to use one Micro:Bit to control the junkbot controlled by another Micro:Bit. A nice feature of the Micro:Bit using micropython, is it can send and receive simple messages via radio - so here is my take on it.

The first problem is the Python editor available on does not seem to work with the radio API. One solution to this is to change to the mu editor.

Two pieces of code are needed.

Sending Code for the 'remote' control:
Essentially it is set up to send two messages, via the built-in radio module, spinl or spinr depending on which button is pressed.

import radio
from microbit import button_a, button_b


while True:
   if button_a.is_pressed():
   if button_b.is_pressed():


Junkbot Code
This takes an adapted form of the previous Junkbot code to work by; on re…

How to do it yourself: Microbit Junkbot

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 below. More details on junkbots can be found at

Stage 1 - The start of a Junkbot This stage is relatively simple. Tape some pens or straws to a drinks can.

Stage 2 - Physical arrangement of Microbit and motor control board

The control part is this via a Micro:bit ( Kitronik produce a motor driver board, and provide quite a bit of support for it, for the Micro:Bit (the latest version of the board can be found at ). A 6v battery pack is connected (see on the left of the image) and wires going to a motor are attached to the first block on the front left (marked as motor A).

The overall arran…

DIMM 'the OOD' Cardboard Robot

CBiS Education generously sent me two of their new range of robotics development kits - BinaryBots  (, 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.In an earlier post,  I played with the UFO one (, now I have had a chance to play the DIMM the robot.

With the wires hanging out of the mouth and its humanoid shape it reminds we a bit of the OOD from Doctor Who ( but a lot more unthreatening.

How to build it video from @cbiseducation is shown below.

So I built a Light detection system with the light sensor that came with the kit and added a microbit. The idea was
- to play one sound when the light level is low …

Matthew takes control of robot research project

Taken from:

A sixth-form student has spent the summer at the University of Northampton investigating the possibility of controlling DIY robots with a computer half the size of a credit card. Matthew Hole, who attends Wrenn Academy in Wellingborough, has been awarded a Nuffield Research Placement – a scheme which offers sixth formers the chance to work on university research projects during the summer. During his time at the University, Matthew used a BBC micro:bit computer  to control a junkbot – a robot made from junk, such as a drinks can, powered by a kit. Junkbots have previously been controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer, but the University’s Associate Professor in Computing and Immersive Technologies, Dr Scott Turner, saw the potential to harness the micro:bit. “The micro:bit has been given away free to every Year 7 pupil in the UK, so it made sense to investigate how well it could control a junkbot. “M…