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...junkbots continues

The funding may have unfortunately stopped but the activities continue. On 30th March the Junkbots activities return to Brooke Weston School.


The students had to build a 'junkbot' from initially a motor and propeller and any 'junk' that was around. There were three tasks.
1. The junkbot had to get a can across a line.
2. Similar to the previous activity but this time as well as the can there was other junk (bottle tops and some small steel bits) away from the can. These also had to be transferred across the line.
3. To make the junkbots steerable.


It was never the intention that all the tasks were achieved in the time, but the student's tried out their own groups ideas with little input from the tutors.


Some very innovative results were produced.


Thank you to Mr Nigel Barratt for inviting me back and supporting the activities.


Teacher Mr Barrett said: ‘The students just got on with it and devised the models themselves. They experimented all the way through. It was three and a half lessons of having a go, coming across problems and then solving them themselves. If they got stuck we gave them a little push in the right direction. They have all learned a great deal and they were all fully engaged with the project, giving it their maximum effort.’ (Freeman, 2011)


For more details and comments made from the school follow this link.


Details can be found at the project site including some example exercises.

For further details please contact: Scott.turner@northampton.ac.uk or +44 1604 893028



Freeman C (2011) "Junkbots Project 2011" [online] URL: http://www.brookeweston.org/News/NewsItem.aspx?Id=809 accessed on: 7th April 2011.

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Controlling a junkbot with a Micro:bit

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 junk…

Do it yourself: 'Radio' Controlled Micro:Bit Junkbot

I
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 https://www.microbit.co.uk/ 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

radio.on()

while True:
   if button_a.is_pressed():
       radio.send('spinl')
   if button_b.is_pressed():

       radio.send('spinr')

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