Wednesday, April 16, 2014

miniBloq's derivative from Harvard wins design challenge in Africa

AERobot, one of the participants in the The Ultra Affordable Educational Robot Project 2013/2014 Design Challenge won the first prize in the software category, with a miniBloq's derivative software. The challenge is sponsored by the African Robotics Network (AFRON) and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. AERobot is a team of the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group from the Harvard University. Here are some pics and videos:
And please don't forget to take a look to their awesome curriculum (which won the Second Prize in the Curriculum category)! Of course, there are other really interesting projects in the challenge's page. miniBloq is widely used in some countries with low costs robotics systems. I personally like these ultra low cost robotics platforms. I'm convinced that this kind of stuff can make a real difference. Here is a last video on how to program the AERobot with miniBloq:
Thanks Michael for the links!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

miniBloq + Pi-Bot!

I'm excited to announce the collaboration between miniBloq and the new Pi-Bot. The goal of this collaboration is to include the Pi-Bot, which is a low cost, yet very capable robot, in the upcoming miniBloq.v0.82 version. The Pi-Bot has been designed at the STEM USA Center, and it can be pre-ordered from its Kickstarter page:

You can read more about miniBloq + Pi-Bot here.

By the way, the upcoming v0.82 version will arrive with a lot of new features. Among them I can mention the capability of adding text based functions to a program, the new XML backend which provides an easy way to add new hardware and blocks, and a small 2D robot simulator called miniSim (more on this soon!). So stay tunned!

Monday, February 10, 2014

miniBloq + SparkFun + upcoming v0.82 version!

I haven't been posting for a few months. But that's for a good reason: a lot of work, specially with the upcoming miniBloq version. Yes, the v0.82 is near. Some of you may remember an old post where I talked about the project's roadmap. Well, I'm happy to say that most of the promised features in that post are now a reality for the next version. But you may also wonder: when will the v0.82 be published? It's already there! But you will not find it in the downloads page, since it's not ready yet. But part of the hard work I've been doing also implied moving everything to a GitHub repository. So, if you are impatient (but tolerant, since this is an ongoing work), just take a look:

https://github.com/miniBloq/v0.82

You can just download it using the "Download ZIP" button there and, after decompressing it, please find the executable miniBloq.exe file in this relative path (on your miniBloq folder):

mbq\v0.82

I know: no Linux version yet? I'm sorry about that, but as most miniBloq's Linux users know, we port it after the official release of the Windows version. And when will this happen? Most probably after I have finished my work at SparkFun's Hackers In Residence Program, where we are integrating SparkFun's hardware (sensors, robots, etc.) into minBloq! Thanks SparkFun!
 SparkFun HIR 2014
I have some more really exciting news (mmm, like a 2D small robot simulator), but I will be posting about them on the next days. So stay tunned!
Thanks!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Multiplo's Repository and the new Parts Library

As many of you already know, Minibloq and Multiplo are brother projects. We have been working a lot on Multiplo in the last months, and there is a new website, where we have released a lot of open source mechanical parts 2 weeks ago. These parts has been designed with one important goal: to be fablab compatible. This means that every Multiplo mechanical part can be manufactured using common tools found in the growing community of fablabs and hackerspaces, such as laser cutters, 3D printers and small CNC machines. So we designed them carefully, making them tolerant to differences in the materials, such as variations in the thickness, weight, etc.. There are more parts designed, and we will try to publish them soon.

The Parts Library

Although we still have to improve it a lot, we released what we have called the Parts Library. If you dig into it, you will find nearly 300 parts, with their 3D and 2D drawings, and even with an interactive 3D viewer (thanks to GitHub!).  Here are some screen shots, but you can actually go and see it by yourself:


And here is the embedded GitHub's 3D viewer for each part:

We still need to improve the whole website a lot, and we have plans to enhance the Parts Library as well as the Store and the online documentation soon, but if you want to download all the parts together, in a single zip file, you can always visit our GitHub repository: https://github.com/multiplo (the drawings for the parts are in the mechanics repo).

Finally, I want to share here a video of one of the new N8 robots in action, assembled as a netbook carrier:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Minibloq + LegoDuino

Some time ago, Jeroen Benschop published his LegoDuino project, which was also featured at Hack A Day. Jeroen decided to use Minibloq as the programming environment for his platform, and also contributed with an experimental version with an improved backend (we talked about that version in this post).  You can download the modified version of Minibloq for LegoDuino from here, as well as get complete information about the project from Jeroen's blog.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Minibloq + Multiplo @ Tecnópolis 2013, Argentina

For the third consecutive year, Multiplo robots are present in RobotGroup's space in Tecnópolis, Argentina. Tecnópolis is Argentina's biggest expo of science and technology (50 hectares), and will be open for about 4 months:

You can find more information about RobotGroup's robotics exhibition here: http://tecnopolis.ar/2013/atracciones/ciencia-para-todos-robotica