Sunday, April 20, 2014

miniBloq + RedBot + OpenCV + Free tutorials!

As many of you already know, we started a collaboration between SparkFun and miniBloq at SparkFun's Hacker-in-Residense Program during last February. There, we integrated some of the SparkFun's sensors and boards with miniBloq. Among the new supported hardware are the RedBoard and the RedBot's board. Finally, I wrote a new tutorial (thanks Linz Craig for the edition!), which you can download from SparkFun Education's website. Also, here are the direct links for both the PDF and the ODT (LibreOffice) documents:


Among other things, there is an activity to take advantage of the Python interpreter now shipped with the v0.82 miniBloq version, to use OpenCV to track a color object, and thus control the robot remotely (using XBee, or Bluetooth) as a virtual joystick:
As always, all the code for the examples is packaged inside the _examples folder in miniBloq's official distribution.
Feedback is welcomed!

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!