Skip to main content

Airblock - programmable drone.

I recently received my Airblock drone from Makeblock funded through a kickstarter. If you want to see an Airblock in action this very funny video showing it being un-boxed from the Channel 5's Gadget Shown is worth a look. 



Of course I had to play with it in Air mode, it is a drone I want to see it fly. But there options for creating hovercraft and your own designs.



It is controllable via an app either by directly controlling or through Makeblock's own block based programming language Makeblock both are in the same app which is a feature I particularly liked. It can be annoying have to multiple apps for the same product.

Selecting Air Mode (as below) means you can control it directly or chose New Project to program it.



In a new project, in design mode you can set up the interface dragging buttons into the project and then write code to go behind them. I found I needed to add a power switch in the interface.



Click on the button and you can drag blocks to program the drone. Take it out of design mode and it the appropriately name play mode and your are ready to go.


Great fun, but I struggle to control it (that is probably just me I do with most drones). When it hits anything the propeller units (prop, motor in polystyrene case, with a magnetic connector)  do come away, as they are designed to do, for safety. A mistake I kept making was getting the propeller unit upside, but you quickly notice it - it goes all over the place. You will be playing 'hunt the prop' quite often when it crashes (and it will) they do seem to fly off.

Great fun to play with; now are available to order/pre-order (at the time of writing) at https://makeblockshop.eu/products/makeblock-airblock .


Related links:

 

 



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

Popular posts from this blog

Micro:bit, Servo control with Micropython or blocks

You can control servos (small ones) from a Micro:Bit directly. Following a link from the David Whale (Twitter ) , thank you, took me to a Kitronik blog post, https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/using-bbc-microbit-control-servo/, which has the answer.

The code uses Microsoft Blocks taken from the post, runs the servos 180 degrees and back again, when button A is pressed. It does exactly what it should. I am also using the Tower Pro SG90 servo.
Can it be replicated in Micropython? This is a new mini project, there seems to be little out there yet on how do this but the best so far is this video by PHILG2864:



The closest I have is the following, it is essentially there.
from microbit import *
pin0.set_analog_period(20)
while True:
    pin0.write_analog(180)
    sleep(1000)
    pin0.write_analog(1)
    sleep(1000)

Setting the time period to 20ms  pin0.set_analog_period(20)seems by experiment (and used in the video above) to be best value so far. The reason for pin0.write_analog(1)  set to 1 i…

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…

my robot BETT2017

I will start with a confession, I only had about 2 1/2 hours at BETT 2017 due to external time pressures so to say I didn't yet a chance for a good (or even a bad) look around is an understatement; so I am not reviewing the show just a few notes on what I did manage to see.


STEAM Village
First and mostly, it was great to talk to so many people, only few I had met face to face previously, about robots, micro:bits, Raspberry Pis and coding. Most of this happen in the relatively small (compared to the event space) STEAM village and nearby stalls. It was great to see the strong presence of both Raspberry Pi and Micro:Bit Foundation, along the variety of different activities and example usage of both, with Code Club (I know it is part of Raspberry Pi Foundation) there was well. This was all alongside some other companies

Four of these stuck in my mind.

1. DFRobot (https://www.dfrobot.com/) with their range of Arduino-based robots and non-programmable kits. The two kits that caught my eye w…