Spy v. sPi Robot Coding Missions: Code. Capture. Defend.
Learn to code like a spy with robots! Capture-the-flag engineering adventure teaches coding skills using robots and the Raspberry Pi.
Spy v. sPi is a capture-the-flag style engineering adventure that puts real purpose to basic design and programming skills. You'll learn to program a robot kit while running your own spy operations!
Spy v. sPi can be played individually or in teams, at home, in a classroom, or a workshop. In it, each “spy” is assigned a series of missions, each requiring them to write code to control an assortment of sensors that will allow them to protect their “jewel” in different ways, or capture the “jewel” of a competing spy.
Spy v. sPi is based on the GrovePi, an easy-to-build robot kit that includes a rich collection of programmable, plug-and-play components — from sensors for things like distance, sound, light, and infrared; to buttons, buzzers and more.
Thanks to the GrovePi’s combination of hardware and software, Spy v. sPi makes it easy to connect to a robot, start writing code, and get rewarding results right away. The GrovePi is built around the Raspberry Pi, a small computer developed by a foundation in the UK. This is why we call it Spy vs. sPi.
We’ve developed Spy v. sPi’s missions with a full range of skills and experience levels in mind, so no prior programming or electronics experience is required.
Each spy will learn how to program the different sensors and components with step-by-step instructions, all while completing a mission. There are also missions for more advanced spies, and there’s no limit to how complex your solutions can get. Best of all, the entire program is designed by actual spies, so players will face real-life engineering challenges they’ll solve just like spies do.
Spy v. sPi is designed for everyone — so we have two different programming languages you can use. Scratch is for beginners, and is a drag-and-drop programming language developed by MIT. Python is available for more advanced spies, and is an open source text-based programming language. The Missions are step-by-step instructions that first teach you the basics of Scratch and then help you move on to more advanced programming in Python.
We wanted to make the Spy v. sPi project as accessible and engaging as possible for all skill levels, so we developed the missions for the Spy v. sPi in both Scratch and Python.
Scratch is an easy drag and drop language developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for teaching new programmers how to code. Rather than typical lines of code, you’ll use simple shapes and graphics to program your robot.
Are you a more advanced spy? We’ve also developed the mission in a more advanced programming language, Python. While still accessible and usable for new programmers, Python uses traditional “lines” of code and has more power and flexibility than Scratch.
Spy v. sPi Missions are activities in the form of a mission. Each spy will learn how to program the GrovePi and an assortment of sensors to accomplish different objectives, all within a story created by real spies!
See a sample Mission here.
The Missions will come in a beautifully designed and illustrated full color printed booklet. It includes space to work on ideas and plan your solution to the challenge, as well as all the information you need to help you be a successful spy.
The missions include bonus content available on our website that includes videos and helpful resources spies will find valuable along the way. Everyone that receives the printed missions will also have access to our online portal, including electronic versions of the missions. The electronic versions follow an online learning style format and are non-printable.
A Cyber Mission is an online-only version of the Missions that will be accessed through an all-new portal, Dexter Studio! These Cyber Missions are complete step-by-step instructions with pictures, diagrams, extra resources, and videos. It is not a PDF that you can download and print, but rather will be viewed in a web browser. For this option, it is best for you to have two computers available when working on this project — one for programming your GrovePi robot to protect your “jewel”, and another one to have the online instructions up and accessible for guiding you through the mission.
We believe the best way to learn is while doing something fun and interesting. Some learners thrive in a competitive environment, and for them, GrovePi is perfect: you can play in teams or against an opponent. For solo learners or those that want a family game to play at home — some spies might want to equip their room with a spy device or alert them when another sibling enters! Spy v. sPi Missions support both styles of learning!
At Dexter, we believe that at its core, engineering is all about solving problems — and we’ve found that students stay more engaged, more excited, and retain more of what they learn when they solve those problems themselves. Spy v. sPi challenges students to grow by giving them realistic obstacles they can only overcome by thinking, learning, and ultimately doing — all while running their own spy operation. Spies will learn simultaneously how to program and how to solve problems!
The Spy v. sPi kit is not just a bunch of parts, it’s a whole learning system! You’re not just playing with a computer, you’re actually learning programming concepts without it ever feeling like a computer science class. The missions and real-life interactions make the whole coding and programming experience tangible and real.
Our Favorite Reward - Spy v. sPi - Full Spy Kit: Hardware + Missions Booklet
This is the full package! You get the full hardware kit, delivered before the holidays. Along with the hardware, you get a beautifully printed book of missions. The missions are in a story form with step-by-step instructions that take you through the whole experience. You’ll have full access to our video library and support forums. You’ll get a series of exciting missions and all the hardware you need to run them and kickoff your spy career!
1. GrovePi Base Kit
The GrovePi Base kit is the ultimate toolkit for building your spy device -- but you'll also need a Raspberry Pi. The main part of the robot is the GrovePi board which connects to the Raspberry Pi. The kit also comes with the following 12 modules/sensors:
- Ultrasonic Distance Sensor - Measure the distance from the sensor to an object.
- Dial Sensor - Measure how far something turns.
- Button - A button sensor detects when the button is pressed or something is moved.
- Red, Green and Blue LEDs - Alert the Spy to something in their program.
- Light Sensor - Reads the brightness of light.
- Buzzer Alert - Send an audio alert!
- Sound Sensor - Hear an intruder or detect noise in a room.
- Power Relay - Turn a device on and off.
- Temperature and Humidity Sensor - Detect the temperature in the room.
- LCD Screen - Give valuable feedback or instructions to spies!
2. GrovePi Starter Kit
This reward includes the GrovePi Base Kit and all of the accessories you need to get started on your spy missions: A Raspberry Pi 3, wifi dongle, an SD Card with the custom Dexter Industries Software (Raspbian for Robots), an ethernet cable, and a power wall supply.
3. Printed Missions
The printed Spy v. sPi missions are detailed instructions that lead you through your challenge, and also give hints about how to code the solutions. Any Backer Reward level that has the printed Missions also includes access to the online version of the Cyber missions on Dexter Studio.
4. Cyber Missions
Cyber Missions will be available through our online project portal, Dexter Studio. These online-only versions of the missions include all the step-by-step instructions, with pictures, resource links and videos.
5. Acrylic Sensor Mounts (set of 4)
Sensor mounts help you secure GrovePi modules in place for the missions. Four different sizes allow you a few options for securing your sensors in the right place for your operation. These mounts make setting up modules in the real world fast and easy.
The Raspberry Pi Camera -- classic spy tool. Catch your opponent in the act of espionage with a small camera custom built for the Raspberry Pi.
7. Infrared Sensor & Remote
Control your spy device from afar. This is a remote control for your spy gadgets that works just like a television remote. Spring a trap, start a security device, or disarm your security from a distance.
Get our mascot, “Dex”, 3D printed. The perfect decoration for your Raspberry Pi, GoPiGo, or GrovePi!
A high quality t-shirt with a Spy v. sPi design. Wrap yourself in nerd-chic elegance!
Cyber Missions (online only)
You already have the GrovePi+ Base Kit and all the hardware modules, you just need the missions. You will be given full access to the cyber-based missions through our website. Instructions will be sent to you via electrons!
Spy Missions Booklet
The paper missions. Get the beautifully crafted printed spy missions. This reward tier assumes you already have the GrovePi+ Base Kit and the necessary hardware to get started, you just need the missions. They will be shipped to you on glossy paper!
Cyber Spy Essentials
This backer level includes the GrovePi Base Kit, Cyber Missions, and Acrylic Sensor Mounts. You already have a Raspberry Pi, SD Card, and power supply.
Cyber Spy Essentials
This backer level includes the GrovePi Starter Kit, Cyber Missions, and the Acrylic Sensor Mounts.
Full Spy Kit
GrovePi Starter Kit + Missions + Acrylic Sensor Mounts
Spy Kit Advanced
GrovePi Starter Kit + Missions + Acrylic Sensor Mounts + Camera + IR sensor & remote
Classroom Spy Kit
5 Full Spy Kits
Club Kit + Facilitated Workshop by real SPY!
10 Full Spy Kits PLUS a 2-hr workshop from Brad, one of the content creators!
Where we’ve been - When the Raspberry Pi first came out, we realized the power of this little $35 computer -- not only in getting people interested in technology, but learning about robotics!
Since getting started we launched a few robots, and a few projects based on the Raspberry Pi.
With our latest hardware addition, the GrovePi, we wanted to develop exciting learning material that helped turn the kit, largely used now by scientists and engineers, into something that anyone with any background could use to learn to code. We’re doing that through an engaging series of missions!
For the past few months, we’ve been developing, testing and iterating on the Missions with individuals as well as teams. We’ve combined this knowledge with feedback from our previous projects like the GoBox, and developed a powerful, easy to use set of missions that are a lot of fun!
One of the things we are most proud of at Dexter Industries goes way beyond our team -- it’s our open, supportive community. We’ve gained so much inspiration, feedback, and a wellspring of ideas from the Dexter Industries community.
By backing our project, you become part of that community, and with it, get access to a wide breadth of knowledge and support that is shared on our forums, newsletters, Facebook, and Github.
Our community works hard to answer every question and help every user get set up and coding.
We’re devoted to robotics education. Our company has been around for five years, and we are passionate about designing and making robots that people enjoy using.
John - All around nice guy. When not answering questions on our forum or inventing new robots, John is helping Karan keep our code fresh. John is the founder of Dexter Industries.
Taryn - Customer experience wizard. Taryn has many hats at Dexter Industries, but the most important one is keeping customers happy and making sure we’re all learning.
Karan - Code and Hardware Ninja. Karan is always either writing new code or helping others write their own. He’s constantly answering questions, improving the code for our projects, and making things better, easier, faster.
Amanda - Key Account Queen. Amanda makes sure we deliver on our promises by making sure every product makes it to the customer. She's managed our Kickstarter rewards before, so we got this.
Amber - Customer Success Angel. Amber is on the front lines listening to customers and helping them find what they need. She's a positive force of nature that gets us all organized and operating smoothly.
Elizabeth - Educator Advocate. Elizabeth works closely with our community of educators to ensure we understand how to build better products for the classroom!
Tracy - Quality Control & Manufacturing Specialist. Tracy is on the front lines working directly with our manufacturer to ensure the very best quality.
Nicole - Engineer & Educator. Nicole is our resident education expert on the Tech Team. She’s a great advocate for our education customers to ensure we develop the right kind of solution that is easy to deploy in a classroom and workshop.
Matt - Self-Taught Engineer. Matt’s done some truly incredible robotics projects, and joined us a few months ago to help us take our hardware and firmware to the next level!
Shoban - Support Engineer. You can catch Shoban in our Forums -- where he will be happy to help you through technical issues and hear your new cool ideas.
Building Momentum - Brad & Conor have been working hard to build the Spy Missions, using their experience as real, former spies.
How we’re using backer contributions:
Missions - Spy v. sPi is a sequence of spy missions with an exciting narrative, designed to take you step-by-step through the journey of learning to program. The main expense for Spy v. sPi is to fully develop the curriculum in a way that will make it accessible to spies of all ages and levels of expertise. This not only includes a written narrative, detailed explanations and videos, but also more software that takes you through the whole experience. This takes a team of hardware and software engineers, illustrators, writers, and professional educators to develop. The result? An engaging and rich experience that’s educational and fun!
Missions will come in a Spy v. sPi booklet, with beautiful illustrations, charts, and space for planning your device. But the other huge component is a new online portal for digital content, called Dexter Studio! This is an all new way to view the Mission content, resource links, videos and more. It even comes equipped with instructor management settings, for folks using it in the classroom or workshops!
Software - To really make Spy v. sPi an easy and fun to use project, we spent hundreds of hours designing and coding unique software. Our software, including a custom operating system for the Raspberry Pi, makes it easy for beginners to start programming and still challenges more experienced users. Our software lets you program your missions and the hardware in Scratch and Python. It’s easy to use, intuitive, and eye-catching! We've embedded some secret commands that will make Spy v. sPi really exciting and engaging.
Hardware - Most of the reward tiers also involve a lot of hardware. Some of the hardware is designed and manufactured by us, and some is purchased and bundled as a kit. We have worked hard to lower the price of the different reward tiers to make it affordable for most spies!
Deliver by the Holidays! We’re committed to getting the Spy v. sPi shipped to you before the start of this holiday season. We anticipate the latest delivery being December 20th.
Where we’re at right now… All of the hardware and the software are fully designed and ready to go. The Missions are in the final stages, as we are iterating based on our feedback from workshops over the last few months. We have a manufacturing plan in place as well as agreements set up with our suppliers. We are ready to pull the trigger and start production of the hardware and get the missions out into the world as soon as we successfully fund this project!
Risks and challenges
As with all hardware projects, the risk of delays is possible. We’ve spent the past five years building and shipping hardware. We have built manufacturing partnerships to help plan for and manage these risks.
That’s not to say there are things we haven’t seen! We’ve worked to secure our supply chain, run design-for-manufacturing tests, and set everything up to run smoothly. However, each time we start a new project, new challenges arise. We will handle these challenges with the same enthusiasm, honest communication, and diligence that we’ve handled challenges in the last three projects.
We’re abiding by the golden rule of hardware manufacturing: estimate conservatively!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)