This course will introduce you to the mBot, the world’s friendliest educational robotics platform. The mBot is an Arduino-based, two-wheel robot that comes with build-in sensors and actuators, and that you can program using Scratch, a graphical programming language.

The mBot is also extensible, with a lot of components available that you can use to build your own robotic creations.

In this course, I will show you how to assemble the mBot, discuss the additional hardware options, and demonstrate how to program it on your tablet and your Windows or Mac OS computer.

The main project of the course involves programming the mBot to follow an arbitrary black line on the floor. In this project we must combine our robot’s sensors and actuators efficiently to enable it to stay on the line while it travels on it as quickly as possible.

At first glance, you may think that getting a robot to follow a line is easy. That’s not true for a robot.

As the programmer, you must “teach the robot” to do something that to a human is intuitive. You need to extract the intuitive understanding of how to follow a line and convert it into code.

The required hardware is the mBot itself, and a computer (Windows or Mac OS). You can purchase an mBot direct from its manufacturer, Makeblock, or from your local reseller. You can download the software from free from the Makeblock website.

About this course
What is this course about?
Hardware and software that you will need
Study guide

Meet the mBot
Parts in the box
Assembly: Chassis, motors, wheels, sensors
Assembly: mCore tour, Bluetooth module
Assembly: Wiring, batteries, controller
Assembly: testing
Additional hardware
Software options
End of section quiz

Programming the mBot using a tablet
Demonstration of MakeBlock
Demonstration of mBlockly
Demonstration of mBlock
End of section quiz

Programming the mBot on the PC using mBlock
Install mBlock on your computer
A quick look at Scratch, the graphical programming language
Create and upload your first program
Motor control
Moving left, right, backwards
End of section quiz

Getting more out of the mBot: programming structures, more sensors
The Loop
The distance/proximity sensor
More experimentation with the distance sensor
The “If” and “If…else” control structure
Introducing the buzzer
End of section quiz

Create the line follower program
Introducing the line sensor
Adding the motors to the line follower program
Stopping at the end of the line with the proximity sensor
Implement a U-turn at the end of the line
Using a button to start and stop
Creating custom block (functions)
End of section quiz

Other things you should know
Restoring the firmware (so that you can control the mbot from the iPad)
Restoring the default program (so that you can control the mbot with the remote
End of section quiz

Mini project
Do not cross the line!
Assignment solution

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Arduino Robotics with the mBot

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