Sunday, January 13, 2019

Roger Wagner's MakerBit and Robo:Bunny

Roger Wagner's MakerBit is an impressive board for micro:bit projects with tons of very well thought through connectivity options, all of which are plug and play, leaving my soldering iron looking sad and neglected on its shelf!

You can buy MakerBit in several forms. As a standalone product, there are two variants. I used the MakerBit R which has additional features for robotics projects compared to the standard MakerBit. You can also get MakerBit in various kits with a wealth of additional components included for you to use in your maker projects.

You can of course invent your own projects, but MakerBit comes with several activity ideas to get you started. They're really well documented and I opted to follow the one for making a "smart car".

Interestingly, there's no chassis provided for the smart car project. Instead, you're encouraged to improvise and reuse a handy cardboard box, perhaps the one your MakerBit came in! I really like this idea. Anything which encourages kids to consider reuse and recycling is good in my book.

I built a "robot bunny" with interchangeable stick on face and programmed the micro:bit so I could control it from either the D-Pad UI or the touchpad UI of Bitty Controller.

My micro:bit code is available for you to use or adapt for your own Bitty Controller projects, as you see fit. See

MakerBit is highly recommended. I expect I'll be using it for other projects in the future, not just bunny related ones!

Here's a video to close this post with. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Bitty Controller 2.2.0

A new version of Bitty Controller was released today. A great start to 2019!

The new version offers a 5th user interface variant which is designed to let you drive a machine of some sort *and* control ancillary features of the machine like LEDs and servos. From the options screen you can enable up to 12 buttons and give each a short text label. These buttons will then appear either side of the main touchpad control.

Pressing a button sends a Bluetooth event with ID=9016 and a value equal to the button number in the range 1 - 12 inclusive.

I transformed a GiggleBot into my very own robot dog and used the new UI to take it for a spin. At times... literally. As you'll see, it's very evident from the enthusiastically wagging tail that robodog is a happy dog :-)

Full source code for a MakeCode project is available from the Bitty Software web site as well as a ready made hex file.

Go on! Have a giggle with Bitty Controller and GiggleBot!