Formula AllCode is a robotics course which includes a high specification, Bluetooth enabled robot.
The project consists of:
- The Formula AllCode robot itself
- A FREE PDF course in robotics
- Accessories used to learn including graphical mat and maze walls
The robot can be used with hosts including Windows, MAC, Raspberry Pi, Android and iPhone and a number of examples can be seen in our headline video and on our website at www.matrixtsl.com/formula-allcode
A low cost robot buggy, the AllCode is great for makers to test their skills and capabilities using an interesting and diverse platform or for introducing younger school children to programming and robotics in a fun and motivating way with huge scope for further work and competitions.
The video below explains more about the vision for Formula AllCode and provides some examples of what the robot itself can achieve when used with Raspberry Pi, Android, Flowcode etc.
The major benefit of Formula AllCode is that you learn about robotics with a software and hardware platform of your choice.
Not only is this a superb learning tool with free robotics PDF course, but also a robot that is compatible with hardware from Raspberry Pi to Android to iPhone, Windows PC's, MAC and more.
What's more, you can program the AllCode via just about anything including Flowcode, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Python and AppBuilder.
The accompanying, free PDF course details how to use and program the robot in a range of exercises (see 'How you learn' section below).
So how does one robot buggy work with so many languages and hardware platforms?
The Formula AllCode includes a powerful 16 bit processor and a Bluetooth module. The processor is pre-programmed with a full API (Application Programming Interface) that allows you to control the robot buggy using Bluetooth.
So to use the Formula AllCode, simply send and receive information via Bluetooth inside your program. As long as your host device or computer is Bluetooth-enabled and your programming environment supports Bluetooth RFCOMM commands then you can easily control the robot.
Example programs for common platforms are provided: Windows PC with C# and Labview, Python with Raspberry Pi, Android with Appbuilder, and PC with Flowcode
If you are a Flowcode user, you can simulate and program the AllCode using Flowcode 6 for dsPIC via USB or Bluetooth. Flowcode can be supplied by Matrix TSL.
Using Flowcode also allows the firmware of the AllCode to be reprogrammed so it can solve mazes (etc.) autonomously without a permanent Bluetooth link to a host. This autonomous behaviour can also be achieved by writing embedded C code.
If you are using the Raspberry Pi you will need a Bluetooth ‘dongle’ (sourced separately).
The video below features Ben Rowland, of Matrix TSL talking about the technical specifications of the Formula AllCode robot buggy.
The image and specification table below detail the over technical specification of the Formula AllCode robot buggy.
An accompanying robotics PDF course is provided free of charge and allows learners to complete a range of tasks with increasing levels of difficulty, building their understanding of robotics and programming as they progress up to full maze solving.
1. RoboIO: Use on-board switches and LEDs to understand inputs, outputs and binary operation.
2. Robopop: Use the on-board loudspeaker to generate tones and music themes. Use the motors to make the robot dance to the music.
3. Motor drive: Program the robot to drive the motors with a specific speed and direction so that predetermined figures such as a triangle, a square, a circle or a spiral are made.
4. Follow my line: Use the on-board line sensors to follow a black line on a white background. Extend the exercise with various markings on the line following mat.
5. See the light: Use the on-board light sensor to drive the buggy towards a light source.
6. Lefty: Use the left hand wall-following technique to solve a simple maze.
7. Measure my drive: Understand how wheel encoders are used to give feedback on exact distance travelled by each wheel and calibrate driving for each wheel.
8. Drag race: Travel as fast as possible over a straight course, following a white line, then brake and stand still before hitting the end wall.
9. Daytona race: Do three laps around the maze as fast as possible, the fastest mouse wins. One second will be added for every time you hit a wall or make a ‘touch'.
10. Navigation: Use the internal compass sensor to guide the robot along a path to buried treasure.
11. Tilt and turn: Develop apps in iPhone or Android that control the robot using the tilt sensor in your mobile phone/tablet.
12. Stat panel: Develop an iPhone or Android app that shows robot sensor status as it drives along a maze.
13. Full maze: Solve an unknown maze by mapping it first and then driving the fastest courses as fast as possible.
14. G forces: Measure acceleration and wheel slip to optimise speed along a maze.
15. Pimp my ride: Develop a circuit board that attaches to the Formula Allcode robot using the servo outputs.
The funds raised from this Kickstarter project will allow us to take the current prototype development to the next level with a technical specification to beat any other like-for-like robot buggy and subsequently action manufacture of units to be launched Worldwide in January 2016.
By getting behind our Kickstarter you are backing a project which allows users to develop their robotics understanding on a platform of their choice. Matrix TSL are all about learning. Whether you are starting out with your first robotics project or you are a fully-fledged robotics developer, the Formula AllCode will work for you.
Risks and challenges
At Matrix TSL, we’ve been developing educational based solutions for over two decades and have had previous success with our Formula Flowcode robot, selling thousands to educators, students and hobbyists all over the World. With support from the Kickstarter community, we want to develop Formula AllCode into our best robot ever!
With a prototype already received and tested and prototype number 2 on its way, we expect to have everything in place within the next 3 months, allowing us to place an order for manufacture of Formula AllCode robots around October/November.
It is now the job of our developers to fine tune the hardware and run test routines, alongside full development of the PDF course before we get to a manufacturing point in 3 months' time. At this stage, the schedule risk is minimal and being an experienced team of developers, we are confident of overcoming any technical hurdles we face.
We will make every effort to finish on schedule, but if unforeseen issues arise we will keep all of our backers fully informed and up to date with the latest progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)