PhysicalComputingRobotKit

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The Yourduino Physical Computing Kit

With this kit you will learn about Physical Computing, Sensors, Actuators, Motors and Arduino. You will use what you learn to build an intelligent Robot.

What Is PHYSICAL COMPUTING?

MarsRoverE.png
SelfDrivingCar1.jpg

PHYSICAL COMPUTING is quite different than using personal computers where the only physical inputs are the Mouse and Keyboard. It creates the world of Mars Rovers, Self-Driving Cars, Home Automation and the Internet Of THINGS. It is a challenge to introduce the concepts of Physical Computing (WikiPedia) to people who have no previous experience with electronic devices, sensors, actuators and programming. The Yourduino Physical Computing Kit and teaching materials will make that a reachable goal.

The YourDuino Physical Computing Kit

The YourDuino Physical Computing Kit and accompanying Educational Materials are specifically aimed at people with littlw experience with Arduino and Electronics. Learning begins with several "Experiments" in which you will explore various sensors and actuators. The Yourduino RoboRED controller is compatible with the Arduino UNO, but instead of tiny pins it has 3-pin connectors that make it easy to connect to different devices.



UNSURE ABOUT THIS

The Control Board comes pre-programmed   with 8 to 10 experiments as individually-selectable Software Sketches which are selected with an IR Remote. The kit can run on a student's desk without an external computer, powered by a 9V 1 amp power supply or a battery case (supplied) with 6 AA batteries. Later the Arduino software system can be used to program the Control Board just like an UNO.



ARDUINO is a highly popular open source physical computing platform. With Arduino you can connect and control literally hundreds of different devices, and write software that creates new Intelligent Systems, such as Robots and Home/Industrial Automation Systems. There are hundreds of example projects and tutorial materials online. The YourDuino RoboRED is an Arduino UNO Compatible system that is easy to use.

MAKING Things With The Physical Computing Kit

A goal of Arduino and (Next-GenStandards etc..) is to encourage young people to DESIGN  things. They need to become familiar with the Engineering Design Process  and making things with PARTS that are combined together, often with SOFTWARE to create new SYSTEMS. After exploring the world of SENSORS and ACTUATORS and DECISION MAKING that makes up PHYSICAL COMPUTING, you can design and build new inventions from the parts and concepts you have learned about.



How PHYSICAL COMPUTING Works

Sensors.jpg

Physical Computing uses electronic SENSORS to "Feel The Real World". Like These: (NEED TO UPDATE)

  • A pushbutton  that you can press
  • A Touch Sensor  that senses a light touch by your body
  • A Tilt Sensor  that can tell when it's angle is changed
  • A Rotation Sensor  that can tell where you turned it's knob
  • A Photocell Sensor  that can measure how bright light is
  • A Motion Sensor  that can detect when humans or animals move near it
  • A Temperature and Humidity  Sensor that can measure the air environment
  • An UltraSonic Sensor  that can detect objects and measure their distance away
  • A JoyStick sensor  that measures how you position it's stick and handle
  • An Infrared Receiver  that receives button commands from a handheld remote

All these Sensors are included in the YourDuino Physical Computing kit.


Actuators.jpg

AND, Physical Computing can take ACTIONS that happen out in the Real World. Like these: (NEED TO UPDATE)

  • LEDs  (Light Emitting Diodes) that can be turned ON and OFF with different colors and be made brighter or dimmer
  • A Buzzer  that can make sounds
  • A ServoMotor  whose motion and position can be controlled
  • A DC MOTOR WITH WHEEL AND TIRE Whose speed and direction can be controlled. You will use two of these to build a robot.
  • An LCD Display  which can display words and numbers to communicate to people
  • A HandHeld Remote  which can send commands when its buttons are pressed

All these Actuators  (Action devices) are included in the YourDuino Physical Computing Kit



AND, Decisions can be Made based on information from sensors, to take Actions. Examples: (NEED TO UPDATE)

  • When the Motion Sensor  detects a person, LEDs can be blinked or sounds can be made
  • When the Light Sensor  detects low light, LED Lights can be turned on
  • The LCD Display  can show the current temperature and humidity. The Touch Switch can change the display between Fahrenheit and Centigrade
  • The Ultrasonic Sensor  can detect objects and make different sounds as the object comes closer or goes farther away

All these and many more examples are Pre-Loaded  into the YourDuino EasyConnect Control Board  when you receive it. (NEED TO UPDATE)

THE KIT (NEED TO UPDATE)

A KIT of all the sensors and actuators shown above (WILL BE) pictured HERE:


WHAT's All This "DIGITAL" and "ANALOG" stuff?

The SENSORS in the kit (List above) are of two different types and we need to understand them.

DIGITAL Sensors

DIGITAL sensors are either ON or OFF

  • The pushbutton  that you can press. It's OFF until you press it, then it's ON
  • The Touch Sensor  Is OFF until it senses a light touch by your body, then it's ON
  • The Tilt Sensor  that is ON at some angles and OFF at other angles
  • The Motion Sensor  Is OFF until it detects humans or animals moving near it, then it's ON

ANALOG Sensors

ANALOG sensors are not just ON or OFF, but give us VALUES of what they sense.

  • The Rotation Sensor  gives us a VALUE for the POSITION of it's Knob
  • The Photocell Sensor  gives us a VALUE for how bright light is
  • The Temperature and Humidity Sensor  gives us VALUES for the air environment TEMPERATURE and HUMIDITY
  • The UltraSonic Sensor  gives us a VALUE for the DISTANCE to a detected object
  • The JoyStick sensor  gives us VALUES for the X and Y POSITIONS of it's handle

Making DECISIONS

Our Microcomputer (The YourDuino RoboRED) can make COMPARISIONS  between VALUES  which gives us a powerful capability to DECIDE  that:

  • It's TOO HOT !
  • It's TOO DARK !
  • It's TOO CLOSE !

So we can MAKE DECISIONS to TAKE ACTIONS

HOW TO THINK ABOUT THIS:

OK, let's start to understand how all this stuff works!

All automatic systems, from a simple thermostat to the Mars Rover have these same 3 parts:

-------------[Sensor Inputs     |    Software Behavior     |     Action Outputs]-------------

The diagram below shows all the many things we have to work with in the EasyConnect Kit.

ArduinoArch3.jpg
It works like this: Do THIS over and over and over again:

  • READ SENSORS
  • MAKE DECISIONS
  • TAKE ACTIONS

That's what a Weather Station, or a Robot or a Mars Rover does. And thousands of other devices with Microcomputers inside.

You are learning how to combine a Microcomputer, Sensors and Actuators to make new automatic THINGS.


LEARNING TO CODE AND MAKE THINGS WORK

Making things with Electronics and MicroComputers is different than Woodworking or Metalworking.

There are a couple of little problems:

ElectInv.gif


AND ... CODE IS INVISIBLE! (Just look at your phone? See any CODE? )

Not to worry! We will show you the ways to make these powerful tools VISIBLE so you can use them.

Code logo.png Hour-of-code-logo.png Scratch logo.png

Mixly-icon.png

Maybe you have done the "HOUR OF CODE" at your school, or gone to some workshops with CODE.ORG ,or programmed in SCRATCH. Then you have a clue about Coding. You can use the same ideas here. We will use a similar thing called MIXLY

WHAT IF you just want to plug in one Red LED module and make it blink on and off? We will show you two ways to do that. To start we can use the LED built into the EasyConnect board. The you can connect more LEDs and stuff. What you will see with MIXLY is visual programming like this: EC BlinkExample Visual.jpg
Look closely. There are 4 blocks that are stuck together. Later we'll show how MIXLY works, and how you can drag and drop and set up many different blocks.

BELOW is a more complex example, proving that this is not just a toy! This example connects to a DHT11 module that measures temperature and humidity, and an LCD Display. It reads the humidity and temperature in C, then converts C to F. It displays the values on the LCD display. THere is an optional pushbutton. If connected, it changes the displayed temperature from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.
Temp-Humidity.jpg
AND just click on the right and the just-compiled Arduino CODE appears. (See below) Cut and paste it into the Arduino IDE and you can program there..

Blink-ArduinoCode.jpg



INSTALLING MIXLY for WINDOWS and MAC

Here is the page with all the MIXLY files and How-To Installation information:

[MIXLY INSTALLATION]




UNDER CONSTRUCTION

MAKING Things WITH ARDUINO

You're probably here because you're interested in MAKING things with Arduino. The first questions:


What Can You Do with Arduino?? See this link (To be Updated!)

To get started, we think you need 3 things:

  1. Clear Information
  2. Practical, Low-Cost hardware to learn with
  3. Detailed How-To DO IT.

Making things with Electronics and MicroComputers is different than Woodworking or Metalworking.

There are a couple of little problems: Uh Oh!

  • Electricity is INVISIBLE !
  • AND, Software is INVISIBLE !

Not to worry! We will show you the ways to make these powerful tools Visible so you can use them.



We'd also like to hear your suggestions. Happy Building!

Please email comments, critiques, suggestions and questions to:

terry@yourduino.com