Mbot Robot

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I started visualizing my robot with a single servo motor just making a cardboard box go back and front. But I wanted the robot to be able to move, to go forwards and backwards. After speaking to technical help I realized that we don’t really have all the facilities at the university to go into robotics. So I ordered a Robot making kit online. My plan is to build the robot and combine its possible functions, with other functions using arduino and simple motors (like servo and vibrating motor).

The robot arrived I built it and began learning how to program it in a visual programming language used to teach kids in schools how to program called scratch. This robot uses a programming language which is based on scratch called mblock developed especially for the mblot robot. mBlock was quite easy to use and I quite quickly got the hang of it, I  did use some support from online tutorials although there were really only very few available.

My experience with mblot / scratch was good overall it took some time and every time I would set commands for the robot I would get glitches which I’m still just not sure why things with motors going in opposite directions (well motors going in opposite directions was because  they were attached wrong) but there were glitches that had to be corrected by mysefl just going back and forth, trying different commands. What was incredibly difficult about the robot was that its a relatively new software and doesn’t have that much support online, sometimes device drivers dont work on newer versions of mac os and sometimes they dont work on older versions, it took me two days to get the right driver on the school computers so that I could connect the robot to the machine through usb. I eventually found github instructions which told me to over write default mac settings in terminal through the computer auto recovery mode! Would not have been possible without our sessions with Gareth where we learned what terminal is. I ended up setting commands for the robot for a video that I would shoot to explain my idea. The robot was connected to my computer through blue tooth and different if key (button) pressed statements controlled the robot.

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I started experimenting with a few commands and the code for the end result became more complex (I hope)

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I wanted to use a vibration motor attached to the head of the robot to show laughter, the robot can laugh with the crystal children, the vibrating motor was a little tricky to solder but I managed to get it working using arduino and a button pin. But once the motor was attached to the head it wasn’t powerful enough to make the head shake. I tried getting a similar effect using a servo motor but it was just looking clumsy, so I programmed a quick back and front motion with the robots commands to make it look like the robot is laughing in the final video.

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