Welcome to the Robot page

The page is created to share with the CAS Swindon Secondary Community a brief review of the BitBot XL

 
The main focus will be: examples of how it could be used in class / examples of code

Also included are links to useful BitBot XL sites

Notes:

Firstly this is a Micro:Bit powered robot. As such it requires a Micro:Bit (available here for under £15) and supports both block based programming and text level coding through Python or Java

In school this robot could be used to demonstrate inputs such as light, motion, ultrasonic; or outputs such as motors, buzzer or multiple sets of LEDs.

Given the cost (£42) it is probably more realistic to have a small number of these in school for teacher-led demonstrations, rather than class sets (unless your budget is abundant!)

This robot is suitable for all key stages from KS1 to KS5 for that reason: it provides learners with a tangible, physical example of coding in action.

 
Using Microsoft MakeCode is the most straightforward method of adding code. It first needs to have the BitBot Extension added, as shown below:
 

 

 

It is also possible to install MakeCode on a Windows PC so that it may be run offline.

This link will take you to the {pre-release} MakeCode offline version

A few alternatives exist for coding the Bit:Bot

 

A summary of how to transfer .hex files to the Micro:Bit is here

If you enjoy using the Mu editor it supports Micro:Bit as well as Circuit Playground Express. It is best for saving Python code. Mu can be downloaded from here

I recommend updating your Micro:Bit firmware. It only takes a moment – full details of how to achieve this are located here

The current firmware is: 0253

If you have an original Micro:Bit then the firmware will be from 2006 (14 year old code usually benefits from an update!)

Direct downloading to the Micro:Bit is one example of an improvement

Scratch 3 supports writing code to Micro:Bit, again with an extension, however it requires Windows 10 for Scratch Link to work. Scratch Link is the Bluetooth transfer protocol that Scratch 3 uses to save the .hex to the Micro:Bit

We will proceed with MakeCode, having added the BitBot extension. This first example is for following a black line. It needs tweaking and a thicker line, but hopefully you can see how the BitBot blocks fit seamlessly into the code:

Here are the main code block options for the BitBot extension. I have added the optional Ultrasonic sensor which is available here for under £5

It is worth noting that all of the other Micro:Bit functionality still works so a wide range of connectivity and sensing options can be combined within the code.

Alternatively multiple Micro:Bits can be prepared with different instructions at the ready – as they are easily plugged in or out.

The three AA batteries provide ample power and the unit feels robust.

All inputs and outputs are labelled (including each individual neopixel LED) and having a power switch on the back is convenient.

In short this is a quick method of extending the features of the diminutive Micro:Bit and providing a great demonstration vehicle to inspire practical coding. I would recommend this for teachers and students alike. It is available here. Any feedback or questions please email:

bitbotreview@flickernet.net

Links:

 

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