PETER BALCH

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Language

 

The Brainibot programming language has the usual instructions for forwards, reverse-left, spin-right, make beeps and chirps from the sounder, etc. You can have If...Then...Else and While...Do which test sensor values and Begin..End blocks. The sensor values are antenna-touch and getting brighter (or Not of those). There are no variables but you can have For...End which repeats a (fixed) number of times.

 

The programming language editor can be downloaded.

 

[brainibot.zip 393kB]

 

 

Brainibot is a small mobile robot with a light sensor, two touch sensors, two motors, a sounder and an 8-bit computer running at 4MHz. It heads towards light while avoiding obstacles in its path. It is supplied as a kit. 

 

Behaviour

 

The robot moves forward while turning to the left and right. When it has turned left, it measures the light level. When it has turned right, it measures the light level again. If there is a difference between the light levels, it chirps and turns away from the darker direction. The overall light level should be increasing. So if the robot has not seen an increase for several seconds, it reverses then spins on its axis. As it spins, it measures the light level and chooses the brightest.

If one of the antennae touches something, the robot backs away then spins away from the object. 

 



Programmable Version

Three Brainibot models are now available:

 

Standard

The built in program is very good at finding light, avoiding obstacles and finding its way out of corners. Suitable for children who want something that works straight away and who don't want to write programs

Programmable

Can be programmed via its antennae or from a PC. The initial built-in program is not particularly good (because I wanted to give them something they'd want to improve on). The instructions and programmer are included on CD.


You can download a copy of the programming system.

Simple Programmable

Can be programmed only via its antennae (there's a built-in editor). The instructions are photocopied. Suitable for someone who doesn't have a PC.



Prices

 

 Kits

 

 

Standard

£10.75 Plus £5 p&p for any size of order plus VAT.

Programmable

£14.75 Plus £5 p&p for any size of order plus VAT.

Simple Programmable

£12.75 Plus £5 p&p for any size of order plus VAT.

Class Packs Standard

£8 Plus £15 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.

Programmable £12 Plus £15 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.
Simple Programmable £10 Plus £15 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.
pcb + PIC Standard

£2.50 Plus £10 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.

Programmable £3.80 Plus £10 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.
Simple Programmable £3.80 Plus £10 handling/p&p for any size of order +VAT.

 

Class Packs

 

"Class packs" are kits of unsorted components. Those who have had experience with classes building the kits say that the "class pack" is far better than the pre-sorted kits. The biggest mistake that the children make is to put the transistors in the wrong way round or in the wrong place. So you give them, say, just the PNP transistors; they solder them in and bring the pcb back to show you; if they're in the right places, then you give them the NPN transistors, etc.

 

The prices are lower for large orders of course.

 

The Brainibot is also available from

www.Magenta2000.co.uk

www.rapidelectronics.co.uk see:

www.rapideducation.co.uk/products_brainibot.htm

www.iiRobotics.com


It is also available from many other suppliers. Please Google for it.

As published in Everyday Practical Electronics Magazine (Feb 2003 issue).

CE approved. Not suitable for children under 36 months. Contains small components that could represent a choking hazard. Contains components with sharp points. Recommended age 10+. Assembly should be carried out under adult supervision. Batteries not included; requires 4 AA/UM3/LR6 batteries. Requires soldering. Soldering iron and solder not included. Designed and assembled in Scotland. Component contents foreign.



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Questions or comments ? E-mail me at
peterbalch@btinternet.com

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