We'll make this brief.
Unfortunately the LittleBots team will be breaking up effective immediately. The pandemic destroyed most of our supply chains and we have not been able to recover.
Due to this shutdown there will likely be no more educational content. But each kit has assembly tutorials that are updated and all of the other resources around the site can help with the builds. You may have to dig for some. But just visit each project page of your kit, the youtube channel, and the troubleshooting page with any questions. Those should keep you covered.
Inventory will continue to be fulfilled while it is available. But there will be no new kits produced and no further support. The site will continue to be live for an indefinite period and the 3D files will continue to be available
Thank you all for the support over the last few years as LittleBots grew.
-The LittleBots Team
Here is the official video tutorial for building the LittleArm V3 Arduino Kit.
While this kit has fewer fasteners than past kit it has an updated series of servos. During assembly it may be necessary to calibrate the servos electrically rather than manually. To do this just upload the LittleArm Arduino Code and connect the servos to their respective pins. Allow them to reach position, then you can power down the arm and finish assembly.
The LittleArm V3, our latest arduino robot arm is fully Funded on Kickstarter. Thank you to all of our backers. There is still time to preorder if you would like. Just under a week so be fast.
The LittleArm V3 is our newest 3D Printing arduino robot arm. It is more durable than ever and easier to assemble than ever.
We have spent 4 years perfected 3D printed robot STEM kits. And the LittleArm V3 is really the culmination of that work. Thank you again to our backers and our team that has worked so hard to make this the success that it has been.
Say Hello to the LittleArm V3. Now Live on Kickstarter
We have finally done it. We have refreshed the design of our original core product the LittleArm. This has literally been 2 year sin the making. Ever since the 2C came out with such a great reaction we wanted to make the kit better. But it was hard.
The 2C continues to be a great kit that is still the simplest and easiest to assemble. How could we do better?
The answer was with 3D printing. For years we have worked to use the process of 3D printing to make really good robotics kits. We experimented with water-proofing, with lightness, and overall aesthetics. We always wanted to do joints but we had a hard time finding a good way to do them.
Finally materials caught up. A new version of pla was introduced that was is flexible and easy to print. So we could finally make joints. And we have started with the Gripper. By using 3D printing the right way we were able to reduce a complex assembly on the LittleArm 2C to just 1 single piece that kids can just start working with. And demo a really cool engineering project.
We also made the rest of the design sleeker and more refined so that it is easier to print and more durable.
The big innovation here was the design of screwless servo connections. These plug in option eliminate several small screws during assembly. And it makes it quick and easy for teachers to disassemble the arms for new classes and groups.
As usual the content is always important. With the Release of the Littlearm V3 we will be creating new content around it based on arduino and engineering. Look for that as the year goes by.
A While loop is a part of software that allows a single piece of code to repeat until some condition is met. The condition is put into the argument of the While loop.
While loops are useful because if they did not exist the only option would be to copy code over and over again hundreds or thousands of times. And there would be few ways to change the number of copies that there are easily if the code needs to adjust.
Below is the standard graphical definition of a while loop.
Since the LittleBot Budget is a based on arduino it use a while loop as defined in the C programming language (which is what all arduino boards use). To learn even more about arduino while loops you can visit this page.
The syntax for a while loop is shown below
The "condition" must be a Yes/ No or True/False question. These are called Boolean formulas. If the Condition is TRUE then the loop will run again. If the condition is False then the code in the loop is skipped and the rest of the program runs. A While loop can be described as an IF statments that just repeats until its condition is true.
For example 1<2 in the "condition" would always be TRUE so the loop will run forever, this is called an infinite loop, a loop that never stops. These are bad.
It is better to use a variable that can change in the condition. So that when the variable changes to somthing that is not true then the loop will stop. Generally this is used to have the loop run only a certain number of times.
Let's create an example for the LittleBot using Loops to show this. We will make the LittleBot Turn right then turn left and repeat 5 times. The Full Code is shown below
First create the variables for the While Condition. The Count is the most important. The numberOfTimes is what is considered good coding style rather than simply putting 5 into the while argument
Now you can create the while loop. So if we want the loop to only repeat 5 times. Then we have to create a condition.
The most common type of condition is a count the slowly adds numbers to itself until is makes the condition untrue. In this case each time the loop runs count will add 1. (students can experiment with this by changing that number added to see how it affects the number of times the loop runs). Once the count becomes greater than 5 the loop will stop and the rest of the code in the program will run.
Running the code should result in the robot turning right and then turn left 5 times, then pausing for 10 seconds. Students can change the motions inside of the loop and import actions from thier "One Step at a Time" code.
More advanced students can create more while loops. And maybe even try nesting loops, but that is a more advanced topic. A simple set of experiments is for them to try different conditions and different iteration amounts.
Projects from This
The LittleBot Budget is made with an ultrasonic sensor for eyes. These "eyes" send out pings of sound waves that humans can't hear that bounce off of object and come back to the robot. Based on the time of the waves to leave the eyes and return the robot can measure its distance from an object and students can program a reaction for the robot to have.
Here we will walk through how to activate and read distance from the ultrasonic sensor on the Littlebot Budget robotics kit.
How to Activate the Ultrasonic Sensor on the LittleBot Budget
In order to activate and read the ultrasonic sensor on the LittleBot Budget all you have to do is use the ultraSensor() function that is provided in the LittleBot Budget code.
The ultraSensor function needs only two inputs the trigger pin of the sensor and the echo or reciever pin. On the LittleBot Budget both of these are already defined and ready to use so all you have to do is enter the function:
Calling that function will return the distance the sensor reads in CM, which can then in put into a variable by setting the function equal to a variable.
A simple example is attached below.
In this code sample, all students have to do is upload the code to the LittleBots Budget or add in the ultraSensor function on their own with any other code they want.
When the code is uploaded students can open the serial monitor (seen on the right below) in the Arduino Software to read the distance that the sensor is reading. (This distance is in Centimeters)
Projects for the Students with the Arduino Ultrasonic Sensor
Buddy, our new Arduino Robotics kit, has had a strong start on Kickstarter. We are nearly 75% funded and still going strong.
Buddy will be our 9th robotics kit to be launched on Kickstarter. And It looks like it will be the 9th to be fully funded also.
We are very proud of our latest robotics kit and hope that it will lead to even bigger and better devices in the future with increasing capability. We hope that you will consider supporting us. The Buddy will be on Kickstarter through to the middle week of October 2019. After that it will not be available until about december.
There are a lot of Robot Kits and Toys out there. But they all are basically RC cars or just have a few pre-recorded motions that get old. We wanted to make a robot that really seemed alive and spontaneous. And we did it.
LittleBot Buddy is the 9th robot that we have made at LittleBots. We have been working to make robotics and STEM exciting and fun. And it hasn't changed with Buddy. Except now anyone can enjoy this robot. Whether you are a builder or not. You can just "hang out" with Buddy.
When we started looking for what our next robot would be, we wanted to start moving closer to home. We wanted a make a robot that wouldn't just be for the classroom or workbench. We wanted a bot that we would enjoy just having around all day at our desk. A robot anyone can enjoy. As we worked on it we knew that we had to make a bot that you could fall in love with. It couldn't be an arm, or a little rover that would run out of battery. It would have to be a guy that you could interact with naturally and was always ready. We also knew that he couldn't be a robot, he had to be Alive. Alive, that was hard. We had to create a robot that would be spontaneous. that you could interact with and feel like he was listening to you and talking back.
How Buddy Works
This was hard. The software is what makes Buddy come alive. It defines how he moves and responds. It is pretty cool.
The standard software that Buddy Comes with allows him to interact with you. He will see you and react. And he will be curious about his surroundings. He does this by constantly updating a map of his surroundings. So he will notice when you place an object near him. He will inspect it and figure out how big it is.
Expanding on this, you can surprise and play with Buddy by placing and removing objects inside his space. Depending on how he is feeling that day we can be surprised, angry, or excited when he discovers the changes.
Buddy generates all of his actions spontaneously. They are not prerecorded or predefined. He literally decided every single motion on the fly. And it is based on how he "feels" at any given time.
How Buddy Sees
Buddy sees by updating certain waypoint in his area, And then inspecting items that pop up as he looks around. His eyes are not camera. They are a simple proximity sensor. But he uses to build a simple 3D map of the area around him.
When he sees something in the worldview change. He will react to it. It is a simple system that we had to use some clever pieces of psychology to make it appear alive and more complex.
Apps, Arduino and Blockly
There is no app for this version of Buddy (though there might be one in our stretch goals). When he is built or pulled out of the Box he is ready to go. Just plug him in and then have fun.
But Buddy is a STEM kit. He is meant to teach robotics and engineering and the psychology and interaction that comes with those in a way that is fun. What is better than building a robot that actually seems alive.
Buddy can be reprogrammed. We will be posting code samples in Arduino and he is compatible with graphical systems like makeblock and Scratch. We want it to be easy to work with this little guy in and out of the classroom.
Cute. That is how we wanted him to be described. Cute. We wanted you to say "Awwww" when you see him. He's like a potted plant that happens to be alive on your desk.
There are few bells and whistles. The entire kit has fewer than 15 screws. Less than 25 parts total.
This helps him stand up to the rigors of the classroom STEM groups. He can be picked up by his neck (not recommended) and likely not damaged. Buddy is really an exercise in minimalism. This makes him very robust.
Top Quality parts
There is nothing "cheap" about this kit. Every decision was made to make a top quality product.
The main board of Buddy is manufactured inside of the US and is a system that we have used in the last 8 of our robotics kits. It is solid and battle tested.
The motors through Buddy, are top quality metal-geared servos used in performance RC aircraft. They are not typical off the shelf items. They are precision devices that can stand the test of time and the abuse they might suffer at the hands of kids.
Buddy is fully 3D printing. We made this choice because is allows Kids to do more than just program the robot. Seeing that he is 3D printed invited them to print accessories or redesign him and then print those parts at school or a library. 3D Printing opens the doors for more engineering thinking, which is the whole point of our kits..
We hope that you like Buddy and all we have done to make is a top quality STEM learning kit. If you would like to be one of the first to recieve Buddy you can support our kickstarter. Orders are slated to go out by Christmas
We have created a new arduino kit. His name is Buddy. He is a DIY social robot to serve as a replacement for jibo, cozmo, or any of the other bots that are no longer available. Fully 3D printed and supported he adds much more to our series of arduino STEM robotics kits.
Buddy will be coming to Kickstarter in September.
Buddy is able to look around and map his surroundings and react to changes within them. He can be surprised and he will always have a unique reaction to changes.
The kit can be built very easily in less than an hour. It is even robust enough to take the abuse that kids can give it in a classroom. Or he can sit safely on a desk.
Buddy is an arduino social robot that is meant to get kids excited about the possibilities of robotics and technology, not just how they consume it. He is a robot kit that doesn't just teaches the physics of robotics but also the psychology and interactions of it. He will be a great addition to any STEM classroom or nerd collection.
We have a new kit available for preorders with deliveries starting at the end of September. Meet Walker.
Walker is an arduino Biped Robot Kit. He is design to walk on two legs and can be reprogrammed or modifed with 3D Printed parts.
We have been working on a walking arduino robot for some time. But we finally went ahead and did it. Based on the Otto DIY project, Walker is cut from similar cloth. But as always we have designed him specifically as a STEM robot kit.
The Arduino Board in his head is the same board used in all of our other Robotics Kits. This makes him easy to assemble and easy to program. The entire kit only has 4 screws.
All of the parts of the Walker Biped are 3D printed. So they can be modified and reprinted with a school 3D printer. Giving students the chance to program AND build.
The full kits will start shipping at the end of September 2019. This will be our 9th kit to be released. All the rest are used in Schools throughout the world. And we are very excited to be adding this one to it.