It’s been almost three weeks since the last update so I thought I’d better send you a quick one whilst it is still February. From the sounds of it it most of you have now received your Smartibots. It’s been really wonderful to see photos and videos of you building and having fun with them, and of the things you have been building with the parts. Please do keep these coming, you can keep sharing on social media with the #Smartibot hashtag, tagging @CraftyRobot on Twitter or @thecraftyrobot on Facebook and Instagram, or just emailing them to hello [at] thecraftyrobot [dot] net but now, if you want to share and discuss them with other Smartibot users, you can also post on the new Subreddit! I’ll be checking this regularly and answering questions but hopefully other Smartibot users may be able to help too (as some of you already have been in the comments section here on Kickstarter).
I’ve been really sorry to hear that we’ve had some issues with the battery boxes. If you’ve got a defective battery box and you’ve not let me know please message me and I’ll send you another. It seems there have been a few other less common issues so if there is something else wrong with your kit again let me know and I’ll get you any extra bits you need. Finally if you have filled out the survey and haven't received your kit let me know and I'll send you the tracking info so hopefully we can track it down.
It feels like we’ve made a lot of progress on the software front since the last update but it’s not been quite in the order I was expecting.
On the Android app we are still working on the A.I. We’ve experienced an enormous variation in performance between different devices, but we are obviously limited in how many we can test on, so we’re planning a private beta next week so we can understand this a bit more. If you would like to participate in this, and will be able to give feedback about how the A.I. performs on your device, please send me a DM with your email address. Apologies that we haven’t made swifter progress on this, it seems we are pushing the limits of what is possible on Android much more than we had expected to be.
An area were we have made much faster progress than I had expected is in integrating more comprehensively with Espruino (the programming platform). We have started working with Gordon Williams, Espruino’s creator, which has been a much, much more rewarding experience than being ghosted by Microsoft for months, and has made me wish I’d listened to my mum, and given up on getting MakeCode to work much earlier. Gordon has integrated almost all of the Smartibot functions into the Espruino core and will make sure they stay supported as Espruino develops. The only downside of all of this is that he's ended up making some changes to the Smartibot firmware, so you need to do a firmware update to access this new world of coding wonder. There are directions how to do this and links to the new IDE and code examples here. I'm going to leave up the custom version of the IDE I did for a little while but I would like to take it down by the end of March as the core Espruino IDE now supports more Smartibot functions.
Genius Kit backers, the functions on the LED and Distance/Gesture board are all now enabled!
There are some code examples on the Smartibot Espruino page that will get you started off and I’ll be posting some tutorials next week. As mentioned above you need to update the firmware to use these. Thanks for your patience and apologies that you’ve had those boards for a few weeks without being able to use them.
Right now if you update the firmware you lose the A.I. functions in the iOS app, but we are about to ship a version that fixes this (1.0.8). In the last update (1.0.7) we added support for the servo connections. I’ve made a video about how to use these:
Apologies that some of these software features are only just becoming available, and not in as straightforward a manner as if they had all been done before we started manufacturing, but it's the best we could do after having to switch platforms and re-write everything in November. That said, I am really happy with the features that we have added since the last update and I'm excited about what we will all be able to do with them. I feel like, whilst right now some of it is still work in progress, this is turning into quite a powerful platform for making cool (and maybe even useful?) things. I also feel we are getting close to having everything working as we want it to (and documented).
Obviously I appreciate that if you are waiting for A.I. mode on Android this isn't much of consolation and I can only apologise for our underestimate of the gulf between Android and iOS in this area, and thank you for your continued patience.
I promised you a video about 3D printing in the last update but I've been focusing on unblocking Akram and Gordon so it's still not done. Now that lots more functions are working though the project pipeline is looking good so there should be a few nice videos popping up over the next two or three weeks, subscribe to the Youtube Channel if you want to make sure you don't miss them.
Many thanks and apologies,
P.S. See you in the Subreddit!