One of the most difficult part of robotics is getting started. In fact most people don’t have a robot to play around with, or have a toy robot which can’t be accessed programatically. That’s one of the reasons we create the BiBli platform. It’s a real robot!
We use a variety of languages as part of the BiBli Operating System however most of the controls can be done via a Python library.
We’re trying to make it really easy to program a robot to do anything. From autonomous driving to speech there shouldn’t be any barriers.
Below is a sample program. It’s a basic Python program which you can load on to your BiBli and have it automatically move, speak and sense. We like to use light, sound and motion to create robot emotions, but you are free to code to your heart’s delight.
In case this is your first coding project – no problem – you’ll want to first copy this into a text editor. We use Brackets but notepad, or most website editors will work just fine.
You’ll be saving it yourfilename.py which is the file BiBli reads to run it’s demo.
Need help or want to see it run on a live BiBli? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People often ask how old you need to be to get started with robotics. The truth is we’ve seen students as young as 6 years old assembling and controlling our BiBli robots and the ages seem to just get younger and younger.
My friend Alex recently sent me a video of his daughter who had won some acclaim at her school in Brooklyn as part of her attempt to determine if robots can do everyday tasks.
I love how excited she is but also how she asks an important questions.
How will robots integrate into our lives?
What limitations are there and how can they be overcome with solid engineering?
These are just some of the questions this next generations of makers, coders and robotics gurus have to answer.
Creating an ‘image’ or a copy of an operating system can take quite a bit of time. And if you are using the command line to set-up your SD card it can be difficult to tell how much time you have left on the copy.
To view the status of the ‘dd’ command simply open a new window and type: sudo kill -INFO $(pgrep ^dd)
The should display the time and bytes transferred in your original dd window without stopping the process.
Whether you are installing Linux, Raspbian or BiBli operating systems to your Raspberry Pi’s SD card the process is always the same. It does involve opening up the command line but it’s actually a great way to learn the basics of Linux.
1. The image, or compiled source code is going to be called filename.img. I like to put the image right in my root directory but it typically would be in /Downloads if you found it online.
2. You will first need to make sure the SD card is formatted. We’re not going to get into partitioning however for advanced users you may want to pre-format your SD card into different sizes. For most people simply insert the SD card into your computer using an SD card reader.
Important: This is for advanced users only. Using ‘sudo’ will allow you to completely erase a drive with no warning.
3. You can find the name of your SD card by typing:
sudo diskutil list
4. Your computer should detect it, however you may need to first unmount the disk as it becomes ‘busy’ when you plug it into the reader. This command simply involves typing:
sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
5. Start copying. This is going to take a while and you won’t see any log or response until it’s done. We use ‘dd’ which is a command and it’s pretty easy to rember. The ‘if’ stands for input file and the ‘of’ stands for output file. Your directory, file and disk names may very.
sudo dd if=biblios2.0.img of=/dev/disk2
6. Check the status by opening a new window and running this command.
Robots are so much fun. Over the past 4 years we’ve worked to create a hardware and software combination that was open and easy yet powerful. Qi Liu is a PhD candidate at CU’s College of Electrical Engineering. She’s also one of the original architects of the BiBli hardware and operating system. Recently she’s been working to create a self-balancing 2WD robot called MiraBot. It’s part of a project funded in part by CU Boulder.
Where to see MiraBot
Come see MiraBot and some BiBli robots and learn talk first-hand with real robotics engineers and get a chance to control these innovative new robots.
Bring the kids and join us as we celebrate National Engineering Week. This open-house event will feature hands-on engineering design stations, including but not limited to:
BB8 Robot Challenge
Star Wars Green Screen Activity
Keva Planks Station
BiBli Robot Swarm
MiraBot Robot Prototype
Maker Space Demonstrations
3D Printing Station…and much more!
How does MiraBot work?
Qi has developed software that works in conjunction with the 2WD motor control and a gyroscope. The software detects the state of the motors and adjusts them to keep the robot upright. Existing BiBli robots use a 3rd wheel – a caster. Qi likes to say that MiraBot never gives up – which is true just watch the above video.
This is great innovation and progression – the question is…what will YOUR robot do?
Following are the instructions for set-up and operation of a BiBli Developer Kit:
1. Place all parts on a clear desk. You should have a motor kit, a BiBli OS, BiBli wiring and a Raspberry Pi and battery.
2. Insert SD card into Raspberry Pi, plug in and power up.
3. BiBli connects to any wi-fi called bibli with pw 12345678. Any router, whether connected to the Internet or not will work just fine. If you don’t have a router or can’t reconfigure it just set up a hotspot via your phone.
4. Use a network tool to find the IP address of your BiBli. While connected to the same bibli wi-fi you’ll be able to control your BiBli by typing http:/ip.address.here.
5. Now that you understand how to operate your “Brain” let’s assemble the drivetrain and wires.
6. Motors will need to be soldered. You can however test them by simply connecting the wires provided. Assembled your base and plan out where the rest of the components will go. Don’t mount them yet.
7. Use the wiring diagram to wire up the board. Place the chip and led first. Then the short wires. Then the long wires. Be sure your batteries are in correctly as they can result in short otherwise. Take your time here. Good engineering is a product of careful organization.
8. Place your breadboard, battery packs, and any other design you’d like – Googley eyes included!
9. Go to http://ip.address in any connected browser.
10. Upload songs and sound effects. Add and control multiple BiBlis in your swarm. Connect sound to any bluetooth speaker or headset.
11. Have fun! We’re here to help: email@example.com