Most robotics tools on the market today require the user to download specific software onto their hard drive. The beauty of the Hummingbird Robotic Controller is that it can be run using a web-based computer, such as a chromebook. It has also been built to be usable for children as young as 8 - with support.
This is a step-by-step introduction to using the Hummingbird Controller - specifically, how to run a component, such as a motor or an LED Light, triggered by a sensor. This tutorial is appropriate for ages 8-18 (+).
Step 1: Download the Hummingbird App
Downloading the Hummingbird app is free, simple and quick. Simply visit the Chromebook webstore to install the Hummingbird Connection App.
Step 2: Watch Video on How to Hook Up Electronics to the Hummingbird Controller
This is a short video that shows you how to hook up the different sensors, lights or motors to your Hummingbird Controller. In your kit is a small orange screwdriver (that looks like a fan blade) that works best for doing this!
Step 3: Connect Your Hummingbird Controller to Your Chromebook
The next step is to plug your Hummingbird Controller into your Chromebook using the USB cable supplied. This port is labelled USB.
Step 4: Click to Open the Hummingbird Controller App on Your Chromebook
The next step is to click on your Hummingbird Controller App. When it opens, it will look like the image above. Make sure that it says "CONNECTED." You can also check to see that your Hummingbird is connected by looking for a steady green "status" light on your Hummingbird controller board. If the light is pulsing, you are NOT connected. Close out the app and try again.
Step 5: Open SNAP
SNAP! is a free, blocks- and browser-based educational graphical programming language.
Snap! is entirely browser-based with no software that needs to be installed on the local device. In the Hummingbird App connection, there are pre-loaded Hummingbird blocks all ready for you to use.
Step 6: Hummingbird Controllers LED Lights
There are two types of lights that come with your Hummingbird Controller Kit:
1. There are four different single colored LED's - red, yellow, green and orange.
2. There are also tri-colored LED's that blink in three different colors.
Step 7: LED Lights Are Controlled by Blocks in the Looks Category
Blocks that control LEDs are in the Looks category. Click on this category and scroll down to find the HB Blocks that control lights.
Step 8: LED Lights Have Their Own Designated Ports
LED's need to be plugged in to their own special port. Single color LED's have two wires attached to them. One is black and needs to be plugged into the - terminal. The other is the color of the light, and is plugged into the + port. They will not work light if plugged in the opposite way.
Tricolor LED's are plugged in with the color of the wire matching the letter of the port.
Step 9: Three Different Motors
There are three different motors that come in the Hummingbird Controller Kits.
1. Servo Motors - which can rotate up to 180 degrees are good for arms and levers.
2. 360 Motors turn continuously, and are good for wheels or gears
3. Vibration motors are good for buzzers or vibration alarms.
Step 10: Motion Blocks Control the Motors
In the upper left hand corner of the screen, you can find the different programming blocks that run the Hummingbird. Blocks that move servos, motors, and vibration motors are located in the Motion category. Click on this category and scroll down to find the HB Blocks that control the motors.
Step 11: Motors Have Their Own Designated Port
Motors have two yellow wires attached to them. They need to be plugged in to their own special port. It doesn't matter which yellow wire is plugged into the + port, or which is plugged into the - port. They will run in one direction if plugged in one way: they will run the opposite direction if plugged in the opposite way.
Step 12: Four Different Kind of Sensors
There are four different kind of sensors in your Hummingbird Controller Kit:
1. There is a sound sensor that can be triggered by sound
2. There is a light sensor that can be triggered by light or dark
3. There is a distance sensor that can determine if something is near or far
4. There is a temperature sensor, that can determine hot or cold.
Step 13: Sensors Are Run by the Blue Sensing Programming Blocks
Blocks that read sensor data are in the Sensing category. All Hummingbird blocks are located at the end of the list of blocks in a given category, and they all start with “HB”.
Step 14: Write Your First Program
Here is an example program that will run a vibration motor triggered by a light sensor.