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Dad’s Robot Lab!

Taken from a blog written at Irchester Primary School http://lab13network.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/dads-robot-lab/ about a robot activity. For more details about Lab_13 go to: http://lab13network.wordpress.com/
 

Dad’s Robot Lab!

Hi! This is Morgan and Emily. Our Dads come to Dads Club in Lab_13.
Last week, we had some visitors! They demonstrated how all of the robots worked. There were some amazing remote controlled robots and a Lego robot. The name of the person who worked with all of the extraordinary robots was Scott Turner. We were amazed by the robots. Thank you for coming.
 The Lego robot could be controlled by the computer. The other robot could do handstands, roly-polys and cartwheels. Some were doing gymnastics, walking, bowing and dancing. The Lego robot just went all over the place!


Emily’s stepdad, Robin, said “It was fantastic – I want a robot for Christmas.”Unfortunately they are £800! And Kris, Kieran’s dad said “Thanks for organising the robot lab … a nice little event, an amazing robot!” 





If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact scott.turner@northampton.ac.uk




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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…