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Start HERE! Your first programmed robot.

Introduction:

Let’s jump right into programming. This intro tutorial will show you the basics of Cubelets Blockly using a program that has already been completed. Use the step by step instructions as you work your way through the Cubelets Blockly Tutorials!

Instructions:

  1. Follow the visual instructions below to complete the tutorial robot.
  2. Power on your robot and observe how it behaves.
  3. What is causing this robot to behave the way it does?
  4. When you’re ready to proceed, download the “starter-tutorial.cubelet” file.

  5. If you haven’t opened Cubelets Blockly already, please do so. Then connect to your Bluetooth Cubelet by following the onscreen instructions.
  6. Next you’ll need to position your robot nearby but in a safe place. Make sure that once it starts moving it won’t fall off a table or down some stairs!
  7. After you’ve successfully paired your robot, you’ll be automatically directed to the main programming screen. Watch the video below for a quick overview on programming with Cubelets Blockly.
  8. First you will need to load the “starter-tutorial.cubelet” file you just downloaded. Click the load icon in the tool bar and use the system dialogue to find the correct file.
  9. Once your “starter-tutorial.cubelet” file has loaded, select the Distance Cubelet from the Block Map.
  10. Click “Program Selected Cubelet” button to change the program that controls the Distance Cubelet.
  11. Woah! Big change right? Suddenly everything is behaving just a bit different. That’s the power of programming. That’s the power of changing one small rule inside a complex system!
  12. There are actually three different behaviors that this robot will exhibit. Hold your hand in near the Distance Cubelet’s face for a few seconds to see what behaviors occur. You will see a rotating cycle of three different behaviors.
  13. When you’re done playing with your robot, select the Distance Cubelet from the Block Map and click “Restore Default Program.”
  14. If you need to quickly see if you have any custom programmed Cubelets. Look at the number of blinks each Cubelet displays when you first power on your robot. Default Cubelets will blink three times. Custom programmed Cubelets will blink four times. You may need to cycle the power on your robot several times to observe all the Cubelet LEDs.
  15. After this program has finished updating your Cubelet, power off your Battery Cubelet, and move to the next section to continue your training.

The big idea behind programming tiny robots!

Almost everything we know of shares something in common… It’s made of parts.

Big things, little things, living things and robot things… they are all made of parts. The neat thing is that by learning how parts work together, we can learn a lot about how things behave and how the world around us works.

If we want to know what something is and why it acts the way it does, then we start by looking at what parts it is made of. Each and every part has rules that determine what it can and can’t do.

A group of parts and their rules forms a system. The way the system acts is called behavior.

Cubelets are robot blocks which is just another way of saying Cubelets are robot parts. A group of Cubelets is called a robot and what that robot does is called behavior.

Every Cubelet has its own function and purpose… this is a result of the parts each Cubelet is made of and the rules that determine what those parts can do. The result is something like a Drive Cubelet, which can spin its wheels based on the magnitude of the data values it receives.

But a Drive Cubelet is also a part… because it can be part of a bigger system by becoming part of a robot. If we were to add a Distance and Battery Cubelet, we have enough parts with rules to create a robot that will respond to objects that are nearby.

If we want to change the way this robot behaves we can change what parts it is made of. Add a second Drive and we might get a different kind of motion. Use the Brightness Cubelet instead of the Distance and we have a robot that respond to light or dark.

We can also change the way our robots behave by changing the rules for each Cubelet. We can change rules by learning to program our Cubelets. Programming is like speaking another language. When we learn another language it helps us speak to other people. Learn to speak Spanish and you can speak with people all over Central and South America, and of course, Spain.

Programming is like learning to speak to machines. When you can speak their language you can change the way the behave. So by learning to speak to Cubelets we can change the rules for our Cubelets, which means we can change how our robots behave.

Let’s get started with some simple programming to explore how you can change your Cubelets with programming!