Tag Archives: stem

CrowPi- A Raspberry Pi Kit to Learn Computer Science, Programming, and Electronics

CrowPi Kit for learning programming

Ever since the first Raspberry Pi was released back in 2012, millions of them have been sold worldwide and have revolutionized the learning industry especially in STEM Education. The Raspberry Pi has not only been used in the classroom but deployed into commercial applications as well.It has seen countless applications, and several projects have been built around it. The Raspberry is a single board computer but can be used for more than your general computer stuff. Just like the popular open-source hardware Arduino, the Raspberry Pi can be used for hardware prototyping. For that reason, the team at Elecrow is launching a new raspberry kit called CrowPi that will help learners, makers, enthusiast learn and apply the Raspberry in an entirely new way.

CrowPi is the brainchild of Elecrow Engineers, a company devoted to the open source hardware industry with the hope of making something that can help instantly solve computer science, programming, and electronics challenges more easily.

CrowPi Development Board

CrowPi is a development kit for learning basic computer science, practice computer programming and complete numerous electronic projects. CrowPi is designed for people that don’t want to do just basic things with the Raspberry Pi but do more. It is intended for people that are interested in electronics, the ones passionate about STEM education, or the ones that one to explore the dark web of the electronics world.

Unlike most development kit out there, the CrowPi is equipped with a 7-segment display which will give you the ability to keep learning, hacking, be building, and experiment anywhere you are. The CrowPi is an all in one kit that embeds everything you will need for doing most Raspberry Pi projects. It is convenient to carry the CrowPi around because of the nice case and compact layout.

The CrowPi is specially designed to help users develop their python programming skills. The kit provides printed user manual and step by step digital tutorial as shown below:

CrowPi Manual Snippet

The kit is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2/3 and Raspberry Pi Zero, and includes LED indicators to show status of GPIOs and even comes with add-on camera (only available in the Advanced Kit version).

CrowPi comes in 4 kit variations; The CrowPi Basic Kit which comes without a Raspberry Pi and is available for $149, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with a RPI Zero and is available for $179, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $209, and lastly the CrowPi Advanced Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $249. These kits are currently available for pre-order on their kickstart campaign at discounted prices and shipping is expected by July 2018.

STEMTera, Arduino Compatible Built-In Breadboard

Sydney backyard inventor, JP Liew, who invented MicroView that had successfully raised USD 573,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter two years ago has just launched STEMTera Breadboard on Kickstarter, an open source invention that solves many electronic prototyping problems and aids in teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The initial funding goal of USD 35,000 was reached in less than 64 hours!

STEMTera is the first breadboard with an Arduino compatible built-in that works with thousands of shields. With ATmega16U2/32U2 exposed, and native USB projects can be easily developed using the LUFA framework. It is specifically designed to solve common issues using Arduino with a breadboard especially in the lab or classroom. It came to reduce the headache of managing students’ messy wires flying around microcontroller board and breadboard during class, to enhance the current design (Arduino UNO) for native USB development without changing or adding extra components, and to Improve adaptability, mountability and protection, enabling more projects to be built in the lab or classroom. STEMTera is 111.8 x 79.8 x 16.1 mm sized and weighs 132 grams.

Thanks to exposing ATmega16U2/32U2, users can now develop native USB projects with an extra 21 IO pins. These extra IO pins can work directly with the LUFA framework without having a middleman to translate messages like the original Arduino UNO.

“STEMTera Breadboard was designed to help Australian schools teach STEM education and help students make and invent things. My demonstration video showed how easy students can build Hydroponics Systems, game controllers and musical instruments using the STEMTera Breadboard.” – JP Liew, founder of STEMTera.

STEMTera Features

  • Dual Microcontroller – ATmega328P & ATmega16U2: With a total of 41 IO pins of which 9 provide PWM. Pin-to-pin compatible with Arduino UNO R3 shield .
  • LEGO® Compatible Bottom Cover
  • USB Native Development – thanks to the exposed ATmega32U2
  • 4 LEDs (Power, TX, RX and L)
  • Strong ABS Enclosure
  • IDE Support
    • Atmel® Studio
    • Arduino IDE
    • AVR-GCC
    • AVR-GCC with LUFA
    • Scratch

Check this review by Sparkfun:

The STEMTera is available for pre-order and it will be shipped soon. You can pre-order it now for $45 on Sparkfun, on of the project’s distributors, and choose the color you prefer out of white, black or pink! More colors will be produced later.

More details about STEMTera can be found on the official website and the campaign page. Also check out JP Liew homepage to know more about his previous projects.

Program a mBot With Scratch And Arduino

Makeblock was founded in 2012 in Shenzhen as the world’s first open-source robot and programing platform. With more than 400 mechanical components, electronic modules, and software tools, the company is determined to bring meaningful STEM education opportunities and the maker mindset to the mass consumer market to make a real difference in society’s future with robotics.

pic_1

Makerblock has a variety of products and one great product is mBot, a robot better fit education and home use. It is simple to use and affordable, you can get mBot for $24 or with bluetooth for $99.

The mBot is designed especially for mBlock Scratch-based language to help teachers and kids to have hands-on experience about robots and explore STEM education.

 

World’s very first Scratch 2.0 branch that can upload a program into Arduino based boards
World’s very first Scratch 2.0 branch that can upload a program into Arduino based boards
mBot overview

Makeblock keeps delivering tutorials about its products and the recent one was a line follower mBot on Insructables.

To do this project you need the following tools

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Mechanical part list
  • 1*Metal Base Plate
  • 2*TT Gear Motor
  • 2*Wheel
  • 2*Tyre
  • 1*Plastic Universal Wheel
  • 1*Magic Tape 20*30mm
  • 6*Brass Stud M4*25
  • 14*Socket Cap Screw M4*8
  • 6*Nut M4
  • 4*Nut M3
  • 4*Philip’s Head Screw M3*25
  • 2*Tapping Screw M2.2*9.5

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Electronic Modules List

You only have to put each element in the right place and to tighten some screws. The image below shows how to assemble the pieces together.

mbot

The mBlock is a customized version of scratch. It is easy to use mBlock to interact with electronic modules. To make the project works, you should first program the Control Board (Compatible with Arduino) using this code of mBlock.

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You can also program it using Arduino IDE since it makes it easy to write code, upload it to the I/O board, and interact with mBot. Line following is one simple code for controlling the mBot by Infrared Controller.

#include "mBot.h"
#include "MePort.h"
#include "MeIR.h"
#include "MeDCMotor.h"

MeBoard myBoard(mBot);
double angle_rad = PI/180.0;
double angle_deg = 180.0/PI;
MeIR ir;
MeDCMotor motor_9((MEPORT)9);
MeDCMotor motor_10((MEPORT)10);

void setup() {
 ir.begin();
}

void loop() {
 if(ir.keyPressed(64)){
  motor_9.run(255);
  motor_10.run(255);
 } else {
  if(ir.keyPressed(25)){
   motor_9.run(-255);
   motor_10.run(-255);
  } else {
   if(ir.keyPressed(7)){
    motor_9.run(255);
    motor_10.run(-255);
   } else {
    if(ir.keyPressed(25)){
     motor_9.run(-255);
     motor_10.run(255);
    } else {
     motor_9.run(0);
     motor_10.run(0);
    }
   }
  }
 }
 ir.loop();
}

You can learn more about using Arduino for mBot here.

This is what should mBot do!

You can build your own adventure, play some games or make some functions completed autonomously using mBot, such as playing football, ultrasonic obstacle-avoiding and following line. Makeblock is opening wide doors for innovation by making STEM and hands-on experience available for kids.

A new product from MakerBlock is now live on Kickstarter. AirBlock, the first modular drone that can be turned into a hovercraft, car, and more. You can order this drone from the project’s page for $99.

More details and updates can be reached at the official website. Also you can access codes and source files at Github.