Saturday, September 16, 2017

droid inventors

Miran got the boys a littleBits Droid Inventor kit. The littleBits system is a collection of magnetically connectable electronics modules. The Droid Inventor kit is a collection of projects using the littleBits system to create an R2D2-like droid that can do some cool things.

There is an app (we loaded it onto Soren's tablet) that guides you through "missions" to make the kit do things. First, we completed several missions to get the droid up and running (and decorated). It's a bit tricky to control the droid the first time you try.

After the first few basic missions, you can try more advanced ones. In one of those, you add a proximity sensor to the front of the droid, which allows it to move around without bumping into things (well, mostly). The droid has a little program that has it move forward until the proximity sensor identifies an obstruction up front. The droid then backs up while turning a bit, and goes forward again until there is another obstruction, and so on. The next mission we tried was "The Force." Soren quickly figured out that we'd be using the proximity sensor again, this time on the back of the droid. As you can see Anders demonstrate below, in this configuration, the droid is programmed to move forward if something approaches from behind.

The droid also has an attachment that lets you rig a marker to the droid, letting it draw. The goal is to keep the drawings on a paper surface. That worked... mostly.

There's another mission that lets you control the rotation of the droid's head. I'm assuming this works by repurposing the servo that usually lets the droid turn, but neither Anders nor Soren has taken me up on the offer of trying this mission yet. (I'll bet one could get the head control and the turning simultaneously by buying another servo bit from littleBits.) I might have to try that mission solo if I can't get one of the boys to partner up with me.

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