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junkbots goes to Roade

Friday 16th March 2012, the junkbots project moved to year 6 at Roade Primary School. 


The aim was to Look in to how to use electric motors to make junk move, along with the effect of weight, surface contact effects and positioning of the weights. The task was to make something that could move along a table as quickly as possible.




Good example is the 'sleigh' shown above, a mixture of straws, yoghurt pots, pens, plastics and electric motors. What was especially good about this one was - it went in a straight line, shaking its way along and even carried its batteries. This was especially good as usually these junkbots have a tendency to spin around. The group that developed this one investigated repositioning the batteries, thereby adjusting the weight to get it to travel in a straight line.


Thank you to the year 6 at Roade Primary School for inviting me, lots of budding engineers there.


If you want to know more about Junkbots please contact: scott.turner@northampton.ac.uk






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Controlling a junkbot with a Micro:bit

A new direction has been developed for the junkbot project (http://junkbots.blogspot.co.uk/); previously Raspberry Pis have been used to control the junkbot’s movement (http://robotsandphysicalcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/python-junkbot.html) – but what about the recently released Micro:Bits; can it be used to control a junkbot?
Matthew Hole, a student from Wrenn Academy, Northamptonshire ; has been investigating this idea whilst on a Nuffield Research Placement (http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/nuffield-research-placements) working with Dr Scott Turner, University of Northampton. The project was to look into developing junkbots controlled using a Micro:bit and also to produce some materials for schools to use with or without outside assistance.





What is a Junkbot?For this project, it is a moving ‘bot’ made from waste materials, combined with an electric motor and a programmable device (in this case a Micro:Bit) to control (or try) it. An example is shown above. More details on junk…

Do it yourself: 'Radio' Controlled Micro:Bit Junkbot

I
In an earlier post, I showed how you could build a Micro:Bit controlled Junkbot. In this post I want to show a modification to it, to use one Micro:Bit to control the junkbot controlled by another Micro:Bit. A nice feature of the Micro:Bit using micropython, is it can send and receive simple messages via radio - so here is my take on it.

The first problem is the Python editor available on https://www.microbit.co.uk/ does not seem to work with the radio API. One solution to this is to change to the mu editor.


Two pieces of code are needed.

Sending Code for the 'remote' control:
Essentially it is set up to send two messages, via the built-in radio module, spinl or spinr depending on which button is pressed.

import radio
from microbit import button_a, button_b

radio.on()

while True:
   if button_a.is_pressed():
       radio.send('spinl')
   if button_b.is_pressed():

       radio.send('spinr')

Junkbot Code
This takes an adapted form of the previous Junkbot code to work by; on r…