The GiggleBot is an easy-to-use platform that's really great for going straight into robotics without requiring prior knowledge about programming, robotics, mechanics and so on. It is paired with the BBC micro:bit to provide an environment where you can learn coding and grow your knowledge. The micro:bit offers a drag-and-drop coding environment called Makecode. This allows you to program the GiggleBot rover in a Lego-like fashion, which is very entertaining and fun.
One of the key attractions of the micro:bit is that it provides an easy method to exchange information from one micro:bit to another. So if you have two of them, you can pass messages back and forth. The GiggleBot takes advantage of this and provides beginner friendly blocks to create your own remote control car!
Step 1: Material
You will need:
For the rover:
- a GiggleBot
- a micro:bit
- 3 AA batteries
- the USB cable that comes with the micro:bit
For the controller:
- a microbit
- its battery pack with batteries
Step 2: Program the Remote Controller
The remote controller is the micro:bit you hold in your hands. It will continuously sends commands to the rover, as you wave it around.
The code for the Remote Controller is simple and consists of only one block in a forever loop.
The block external remote control, group 1 is used to send signals from the remote control micro:bit back to the GiggleBot.
The signals are based on the remote control position in space:
- hold it horizontal to stop the GiggleBot from moving
- tilt it left or right to turn
- tilt it down to go forward
- tilt it up to go backwards
The more tilt you give it the faster the rover will move.
The group 1 part of the bloc is setting the radio group on which the micro:bits will communicate. The two micro:bits have to be in the same group. If you have other GiggleBots in the room, each set has to be in its own group.
Download the code onto the remote controller micro:bit.
Step 3: GiggleBot Code
The GiggleBot has to react each time it receives a command from the remote controller.
There's a dedicated event block just for this: on received remote control, group 1 . Inside this block drop the do remote control action block.
This sequence will be triggered each time a radio message is received from the remote controller, and the required action will be executed by the GiggleBot.
Download this code and install it on the GiggleBot's micro:bit.
Step 4: Start Driving Your GiggleBot!
Power both robots up, and start controlling your GiggleBot!
Build yourself a challenging course and see how fast you can get through it. Have fun!