databot™ and Robotics - Some Background
For those of you new to databot™ you may not know about our Arduino based roots which makes databot™ slam-dunk simple to integrate with a multitude of moving, shaking, rock and rolling, and even flying robotic systems. If you’re not familiar with Arduino, check out our blog post on the topic. We also have a free introductory course on what Arduino is all about that’s fast, easy, and suitable for students grades 5 and up. Help yourself!
In a nutshell, the Arduino roots for databot™ means there are millions of users around the world working on very cool tools that are available for use with databot™. For example, there are many, many sensors that are Arduino compatible, that can be plugged into databot™ using the expansion ports. It also means programming tools like Python, XOD, Blockly, Scratch and others are easily integrated with databot™. Read on to check out a few examples of databot™ integrations and applications!
Physical Connections Made Easy
Where we’ve made databot™ super simple to access electronically with Arduino, we’ve also added in the physical connections to make it simple to attach to major building systems like LEGO and fischertechnik. In the image above you can see LEGO connector pins attaching legs to databot™. To the right, you can see the bottom of databot™ and how it has built in grooves for fischertechnik, and the pin holes for LEGO.
There is also a removable Velcro plate provided with each kit that facilitates easy mounting on drones, frisbees, and other systems. You can even Velcro attach it to your Radio Control car and run remote data collection missions. Checking out those CO2 levels underneath your bed might be an interesting experiment – watch out for Dust Bunnies!
Here’s an awesome example of using the Velcro to integrate with Sphero’s hot shot RVR rover. You can also easily use the RVR 5v USB port to provide lots of back up power for databot™ if you’re running extra long mission times.
If you are a supergeek power-user type of person, integration of databot™‘s onboard sensors with RVR’s controller is possible using I2C or serial data exchange. For simple setup for running mobile data gathering missions or advanced information, see the databot™ RVR setup instructions for details on how to get started!
Data Connections and Expansion Ports
We’ve had a lot of robotics enthusiasts ask about using databot™ with Vex Robotics, and it can be accomplished through using the existing expansion ports on databot™. VEX IQ uses I2C as the communication bus when talking to external devices. This means you can attach databot™ to any one of the 12 ports using databot™‘s I2C port, which is the 3.5″ stereo jack on databot™’s I/O board.
See “Deep Geek” in the databot™ getting started section for comprehensive I2C details including sensor addresses.
Bottom Line for Robot Lovers
Check out this short video of databot™ hitching a ride on Sphero’s RVR seeking the source of dangerous fumes – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)! We recently did some VOC treasure hunting with students and it turns out RVR is a fantastic platform for conducting remote data investigations. Shown here, databot is hunting for high values on the VOC sensor. Awesome job keeping our air clean!
Here’s a quick recap of top tips for robot lovers using databot™!
- databot™ has built in physical connections for LEGO and fischertechnik building systems. This makes it a snap to add databot™ sensors to these systems.
- The databot™ kit includes a Velcro plate, easily attached and detached, that can be used for mounting on a drone, R/C car, or other system.
- databot™ is built on an Arduino foundation, which means its Open Hardware and Software platform is in use by millions, all over the world. This makes programming resources and inexpensive sensors readily available for your projects!
- databot™ includes expansion ports for communicating with a number of other devices using a serial protocol or I2C. This makes it very versatile and adaptable to a number of uses.
If you have questions about integrating databot™, or have some great ideas for awesome robotics projects with databot™ please contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
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About the Author
Robert Grover is a proponent of STEAM education and educational technology that helps engage and develop the students of today into the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.