Scratch@MIT Conference, August 7, 2014 (2PM Room 244)
This blog post is an extension of the Boy Scout/ Girl Scout Badge/Patchathon last December 2013.
How this extension is different.
Previous Activities utilizing BirdBrain Technologies, LLC Finch Robots. Tom Lauwers, Owner of BirdBrain Technologies LLC supported our pilot by providing 50-100 Finch Robots from the Finch Loan Program BEFORE the Computer Science Education Week December 9-15 scheduled launch of the Hour of Code.
The Hour of Code program is a “one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify ‘code’ and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator.”
Robotic Finches cost $99.00 each and can be ordered from the Finch Robot site.
You can also open or upload a program with uploaded blocks:
Why is program will be awesome in a few weeks…
You will be able to plug and play your robotic finches in your current chrome environment with the addition of a free Google Chrome App to recognize the finches when plugged in. So there is no loading software to desktop and all robotic programming will be cloud-based.
Why the current program requires some work right now…
The version of Chrome needs to be at least version 37, which can only be attained by downloading a developer’s version by going to the Chromium page.
Regular versions of Chrome roll into updates every few weeks, so when the Badge/Patchathon was held Chrome was version 34, and online scratch 2.0 did not have the capability of seeing robotics blocks from both finches and the LEGO WeDo series.
(Note to self: Ask Google or Scratch what happened to being able to shift-file and get the “import experimental extension” to appear.)
Why Finch Robots?
The finch robot is a fully integrated robot which does not require assembly and (very soon) no need to download software.A pilot Robotics and Programming Camp for Elementary School Pilot was launched early July 2014.
Here is the video from the camp:
I created a set of Snap! Finch Cards for Scouts of the youngest ages to be able to program:
00_BirdBrainRobotServer This gives the directions on uploading the software to have your computer recognize the finch robot.
01_ActivateFinchRobot Once the BirdBrainRobotServer software is loaded, this gives directions on how the physically tether your finch robot and launch the Snap! robot programming window. Snap is a programming environment very similar to MIT Scratch.
02_StartingStopping The motion commands operate the two wheels (left and right) below the robot finch from a range of 0 to 100 percent power forward. Backwards would range -1 to -100 values.
04_BeepSpeak There is a sound command block to have the computer (not the finch itself) speak your text in a synthesized voice. You can also have the finch robot itself beep in Hertz (Hz) from a range of 20 to 20000 frequency for a designated amount of time in seconds. Note: Discomfort is generated past the 5000 Hz range.
05_Temperature The temperature sensor returns the current temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
The sensor is located centrally above the beak.
06_LightSensor The light sensors return the intensity of light for both sensors from a range of complete darkness (0) to total light saturation (100).
The light sensors are located above what looks like the eyes (obstacle detection systems) for the finch robot.
07_Orientation Orientation I believe is determined through something called an accelerometer (which measures tilt and position information on the finch).
The accelerometer is located in the internal center of the finch robot.
The photo gallery of the event were given permission to photograph (link).