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 quick search around online was not initially that helpful it looked like this was not an obvious way forward.
Now for the good news on the LittleBit site there is a relatively easy solution to this see https://littlebits.cc/littlebits-droid-inventor-kit-swift-playgrounds on an iPad. Swift Playgrounds can be used to program it, you need to download the separate playground after the Swift Playgrounds App (if you haven't already got it) is installed, After that it is follow the tutorials.
Below is an example part of the code, I tried to make the Droid dance and makes some noises.
Below the video of the code in action.
The combination of Swift Playgrounds and Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit works well, perhaps you can't go wrong with R2D2. I would suggest the text from the website about linking to Swift Playgrounds should be included with the box and it would be nice to see some more commands. Apart from these very minor criticisms the kit and Swift Playgrounds is a nice combination (and the kit even comes with battery included), well worth a look and extending it to a wider age range.
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